Finalist category: Digital Volunteer Award
Digital Volunteer Award, Finalist, 2020
Thomas Laurenson is founder of TL Tech Smart Home Solutions. Thomas is an expert problem solver, taking a hands-on approach to tasks and looking for creative ways to improve the lives of elderly and disabled people with readily available consumer electronic technology.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Thomas set about creating resources that would help the most vulnerable in our society to adopt smart home technology for themselves to maintain social contact and their wellbeing.
The online support service that Thomas has set up helps to address not only the immediate issue of isolation and shielding, but also provides an opportunity for the future of social care by deploying voice assistants more widely which can empower people to maintain their independence. There is huge potential to augment the Amazon Alexa device with new features, including conversations that can help identify issues such as loneliness. TL Tech have begun work on a bespoke Alexa Skill that will perform a daily wellbeing check-in and can help signpost people to support based on their responses. Thomas’ innovative solution could replace the basic call button/pagers that are currently used in telecare systems, which give only binary responses and little context around the situation.
Thomas’ long-term vision is to create a home that cares for you as you age by building a software platform that allows people to bring their own devices rather than buying new hardware. Similar to how a Fitbit prompts us to stay active, the smart home can provide insight into wellbeing, promote self-care and allow data to be securely shared with others.
Thomas and TL Tech want to help educate people about the benefits of voice assistants and smart homes to grow their Smart Meets Kind® movement and make this technology accessible to all regardless of age, ability or finances.