Sutton Council pilot of ‘in-home sensor’ helping to raise the alarm for vulnerable people living alone


A local authority pilot of a new ‘in-home sensor’ that monitors vulnerable people living independently has proven that it can minimise the risk of serious injury and even save lives.

Leading provider of Internet of Things [IoT] technologies and services, IoT Solutions Group, has, to date, deployed 100 of its sensors in Sutton Housing Partnership properties, in collaboration with Sutton Council.

The sensor discreetly monitors day to day activity in a home and, upon detecting a decrease in typical behaviour, an automated alert is sent to an Independent Living Officer [ILO].

This allows the ILOs to make a proactive, urgent visit or phone call instead of relying on a scheduled appointment or residents making contact themselves.

In one case, within five days of the sensor being installed in the home of a lady in her 90s, ILOs were alerted of a dramatic decrease in activity and a phone call was made to the resident, which went unanswered.

A family member was contacted, who visited and found their relative lying on the sofa, unwell and unable to move, and then provided appropriate care.

Despite having a pendant alarm – a device worn on a lanyard around the neck that allows the wearer to call for emergency help at the press of a button – the resident had not used it – a sadly typical scenario.

In another case, within a week of the solution being installed in the home of another elderly lady, the ILOs – who were not due to complete another check-in for another six days – received an alert of a drop in activity, prompting an emergency visit to the property.

Upon arrival, the resident was found lying on the floor and unable to move, having fallen and broken her hip. In this case she did not have her alarm within reach and so was unable to call for help.

The resident was taken to hospital for treatment and made a recovery, though medical staff stated that if she had not been found so promptly, she would have passed away within hours. They indicated that the early alert system had played a crucial role in saving her life.

Developed over three years, the solution was created with the aim of affording families of vulnerable people greater peace of mind while promoting increased independent living and delivering significant efficiencies for care providers.

With a simple installation that requires no technical expertise, mains power or internet connectivity, the sensor does not make any visual or audio recordings of residents’ homes, and no personal data is collected through its real-time reporting process.

Emma Mahy, Chief Executive of IoT Solutions Group, said: “We are delighted that our solution raised an alarm in both of these cases, and we know it has the potential to save the lives of countless other vulnerable people living alone.

“Not only is the pilot with Sutton Council demonstrating the effectiveness of using this solution to safeguard those in our communities who can benefit most from it, but it also highlights the shortfalls of some devices that are already used commonly within the care sector – such as pendant alarms – which rely heavily on human interaction.

“These results are only the beginning and we hope they will encourage other local authorities to proceed with their own trials of our sensor.”

In addition to the Sutton Council pilot, the solution is soon to be deployed in Richmond, Merton, Suffolk and Bournemouth with other roll outs also planned in the near future.

With offices in both Bournemouth and Watford, IoT Solutions Group is committed to helping organisations working in the public sector, waste management, and the facilities, leisure and hospitality industries to deliver improvements to the services they provide through the use of IoT technologies, bringing positive change while keeping operational costs low.