Smart power sockets with a people-centred development approach – PEOPLE case-study in the United Kingdom


In PEOPLE project’s first Learning Cycle in UK, six taught postgraduate students will address research questions relating to the design and operation of telecare products and services, mentored jointly by Durham Energy Institute (Durham University) and industry partner Kemuri.

 

The Kemuri sockets look like standard UK double power sockets. They function as a normal power socket, but are fitted with multiple sensors to measure motion, temperature, power usage, humidity and power supply. They are installed in the homes of elderly residents living independently in properties owned and managed by two housing associations. Sensor data is analysed by artificial intelligence algorithms that learn patterns of daily activity and alert families or carers if they detect significant changes in residents’ daily routines.

Our UK project partners already conducted a pilot case-study earlier this year, shadowing the design of PEOPLE’s Learning Cycles. Four students, taking the MSc Energy and Society Field Study module, were then looking at how different partners – housing associations – became engaged in trialling Kemuri products.

As the first PEOPLE Learning Cycle has recently been launched in all four project partner countries (we’ve already presented our other case-studies here: Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Slovenia), our UK students will now continue with a study on how housing managers with a duty of care for their residents need and use the telecare service, provided by Kemuri. Students are also invited to the factory where the units are manufactured, as manufacturers are also stakeholders in the design, assembly and distribution of products.

 

PEOPLE Learning Cycles bring together students, university educators, and business professionals to foster a balanced exchange of knowledge, skills, and experience. Applying different people-centred development approaches, local development teams of students, academic mentors, and business professionals will be cooperating in the development and testing of new industry solutions in the field of sustainable living and energy, tailored to the needs of communities – developed and designed with them, not for them.