Waiting for my new phone contract to print out, I noticed three men coming into the store, obviously from the same family – they looked so alike. They were two sons and their father, and they’d come to set Dad up with a Smartphone or tablet with ‘Hangup’, a video-link type programme. He wanted to have face-to-face conversations with relatives overseas; seems he had a brother in Spain and other relatives in India. They told a salesman that they wanted something not too complicated for Dad to use. Dad was as enthusiastic as they were. I’m sure that with sons like these the older man would never be lonely, but to think that he could ‘Hangout’ with sisters and brothers in different parts of the world was amazing.
I wondered if this technology could help the 2.5 million older people suffering from chronic loneliness, keeping them in touch with scattered family and friends. But it is usually designed for younger people and is too fast for ‘seniors’.
Now an Israeli company has done its research and come up with a new programme for a Smartphone especially for them, called E2C ( Easy to Connect).
It’s so sensible! One of its features is that ‘touch’ has been replaced by long clicks, meaning users have to keep their finger on the screen for a few seconds in order to get a response, which research showed is much more comfortable for seniors.
In addition, keyboards and dial pads require a long click, and when the letter or number is entered there is a vibration, telling them to go on to the next letter or number.
It has an easy and large display showing the options, including making a call, reading messages, viewing photos and so on. It lets anyone, young or old, interact with devices to see photos, get messages, surf the Internet, read news, and anything else
‘If a smartphone makes it easier for young people to keep in touch – to see photos and get instant messages – it can do the same for the elderly, and our adaptation of smartphone technology opens those doors for them,’ said Amir Alon, CEO of E2C.
There’s a lot more, including Voice, and an emergency call service as an add-on, a red button attached to the headphone port, which when pressed will call a pre-determined number.
For more adept users, there are interfaces for the Internet, a camera function, a flashlight, a news reader, and even the possibility of adding apps, like Waze, with access using the same easy interface.
It’s being rolled out in Israel and the States now, so watch out for it here in the UK. Perhaps it would make a good Christmas present!