Suffolk County Council

Outcome of Expression of Interest: Invited to apply

Suffolk, like many others, has challenges around reducing loneliness and social isolation, enabling people to live longer in their own home and prolong their independence and reducing levels of demand on adult social care.  A potential solution is robotics and artificial intelligence.  Suffolk CC, collaborating with Norfolk CC, has been exploring this with a robotics development SME.  Their unique, cutting-edge robotic AI interface, in early, pre-pilot development, represents an opportunity to test whether such a device could help address these challenges. 

Once set-up the device can learn about the person and meet their needs proactively.  It can remind them to take their medication, check on their wellbeing or engage in reminiscence sessions. The device is connected to a live support service centre, which allows the user to engage someone if they need to through inbuilt video, providing another layer of interaction, connectivity and support.

The roadmap of development and integration with other software, apps and devices such as IoT sensors, including biometric and environmental monitoring, would expand functionality and provide better support.

This project would pilot a number of these devices in Suffolk and Norfolk to better understand viability and potential and help inform and prioritise the future development roadmap.

Discovery evidence

Suffolk and Norfolk have higher than average demographics of older people, and significant amounts of high need and high cost care packages. Meeting demand is made more difficult by the rurality of both counties, we are therefore exploring how technology and connectivity can meet our challenges and provide better outcomes for people.

As the idea of a “smart home” emerges as the next big thing in consumer technology, it presents opportunities for LAs to support people’s care and health needs in more creative and innovative ways.  Artificial intelligence linked to the growing numbers of IoT devices presents the ability to support people with statutory needs as well as using data and intelligence to support prevention of needs presenting or deteriorating.  We’ve already seen evidence of innovative use of Amazon devices with Alexa AI providing support to those with care needs.  This project will attempt to further prove the potential of robotics and AI to meet a wider range of care and support needs in an effective way.

This area is relatively unproven and this project will help other LAs benefit from the learning and also the robotic device that will be continually developed and iterated through to market readiness.

  • Digital leadership training (for council leaders, service managers or senior executives)
  • Digital and agile awareness
  • Introduction to user research
  • Introduction to service design
  • Introduction to delivery management
  • Introduction to product management
  • Introduction to digital business analysis
  • Agile for teams