East London entrepreneurs helping the elderly to connect

The speakset team: (from left) Ewan Marshall, Adi Kasliwal and Matt Simmonds

The speakset team: (from left) Ewan Marshall, Adi Kasliwal and Matt Simmonds - Credit: Archant

Three young entrepreneurs have been transforming the way that older people interact with technology.

East End boys Adi Kasliwal, Matt Simmonds and Ewan Marshall have developed a video calling gadget to help people keep in touch with their loved ones.

Adi said the idea came from seeing the difficulties grandparents face trying to connect with family and friends.

He said: “Ewan lives with his grandparents and he saw problems every day. We knew that we could build technology to help them.”

The SpeakSet, unlike other video calling technology, has been designed specifically with older people in mind.

It plugs into the television and is operated by a simple remote control.

“All contacts come loaded onto the device so it is ready to use.

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“The boys did extensive research by talking to older people, care homes, charities and doctors.

Adi said: “We went out and spoke to hundreds of old people and their support networks. It is really clear that isolation is a massive problem and has so many implications on health as well.”

Through running workshops all over the country they realised that many people found Skype hard to use. Operating SpeakSet through a television meant it was universally accessible.

Now the boys sell to organisations that encounter the problem with isolation every day.

Adi said: “We sell to care providers. The issue of isolation makes it hard for them to deliver care. This means they are incentivised to have a SpeakSet.

“For older people receiving care from the comfort of their own home it also reduces the time spent in hospital.”

Adi, Matt and Ewan are grant funded by the Nominet Trust which sponsor tech projects that have a social impact.

They are also supported by a strong advisory board, including former director general at Age Concern, Baroness Sally Greengross.

To find out more visit www.speakset.com.