Assembling mass-market technology for the sake of wellbeing: a case study on the adoption of ambient intelligent systems by older adults living at home

  • Francisco J. GutierrezEmail author
  • Diego Muñoz
  • Sergio F. Ochoa
  • José M. Tapia
Original Research


Everyday more and more ubiquitous applications are developed to support aging in place and ambient assisted living. Although these technologies typically adhere to the functional requirements defined by their developers, many of these solutions evidence limitations for being adopted by end-users, i.e., older adults. This paper reports the authors’ experience in the design and deployment of several iterations of the SocialConnector system—a computer-supported family communication mediator—as a case study that helps identify key factors that ease the adoption of ambient intelligent systems encouraging intergenerational family communication at home. The particularity of the followed approach is to assemble widely available mass-market technology—such as commercial Tablet PCs and TV displays—glued together with innovative software, as a way to drive system adoption through economically affordable hardware running over empirically-driven considerations for designing effective software in this study domain. The case study results help researchers and practitioners to conceive technology that has a better chance of being embraced by older adults and their supporting family networks; particularly, when such a technology is going to be deployed in their homes. Therefore, the key design factors identified in this paper can be used to inform the conception and modeling of ambient intelligent systems that help older adults address several aspects of their aging in place process, like health monitoring, personal security, social engagement, support to daily activities, and ultimately, fostering wellbeing.


Technology adoption Older adults Home instrumentation Off-the-shelf technology Aging in place Ambient assisted living 



This work has been partially supported by the Fondecyt Project (Chile), grant: 1150252. The work of Francisco J. Gutierrez has been supported by the Ph.D. Scholarship Program of Conicyt Chile (CONICYT-PCHA/Doctorado Nacional/2013-21130075).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of ChileSantiagoChile

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