Smart floors make life safer for the elderly

Smart FloorsFinnish intelligent flooring has already gained a strong foothold in the global markets. Safety solutions directed at senior citizens are experiencing growing demand as the population ages. The sector, which remains unswayed by economic cycles, has a bright future ahead of it.

9Solutions, an Oulu-based company offering safety and productivity solutions for the healthcare sector, was established in 2009 by the company’s CEO due to personal reasons.

— I came up with the idea in 2008 when I became concerned about how my aging father, an independent farmer, was doing. Having a technical background, I started to think about how we could improve elderly people’s safety, says Sami Herrala.

Herrala drew up a business plan, found himself some business partners and early-stage financiers and was already out presenting the system at a trade fair in Stockholm in September 2010.

Strong growth in demand

9Solutions’ system is based on the positioning platform developed by the company, which uses Bluetooth and cloud technologies and which helps to track both people and devices, indoors and out. The solution rolls real-time situational awareness, personal safety solutions and the optimisation of work flow all into one.

— Our comprehensive system offers new opportunities for countries like Finland and Germany, where healthcare costs need to be cut in the near future by up to 20 per cent in order to maintain the present level of service, says Herrala.

Some 70 per cent of the company’s turnover consists of exports. In addition to Finland, its key market areas are Sweden, Germany, the UK, Saudi-Arabia and Australia. This year’s growth figures equal some 500—700 per cent. The company’s goal, according to Herrala, is to maintain the same momentum next year also.

The smart floor is an invisible helper

Elsi Technologies’ smart floor solution has been installed in around 2000 flats in Finland and overseas. The majority of the locations are care facilities but the floor can also be installed in private homes. As the population ages, exports are growing strongly in the Nordic countries.

— The smart floor uses sensor technology to identify the location and movements of people along the floor. The user interface has been developed in co-operation with customers, which means that it is as user-friendly as possible, explains Sales and Customer Care Specialist Ailukka Hovi.

The smart floor sends data concerning the movements of residents directly to the nurse’s mobile.

— The strong points of the system are automatic alarms and customisation, such as the possibility to adjust the sensitivity of the man-down alarm. The system also provides precise information concerning changes in the daily routines of the resident and assists in diagnosing illnesses. Elsi’s technology encompasses the entire flat and does not limit its interior design. The smart floor is an invisible helper that doesn’t put a label on the user, says Hovi.


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