BenignEye technology developed to help vulnerable older people living alone

Wrexham Glyndwr University has reported that an inventor who designed a computer monitoring system to support vulnerable elderly people living alone has collaborated with them to take the product to market.

Tim Jones worked alongside North Wales School of Business and the School of Creative Arts at Wrexham Glyndwr University to develop BenignEye technology.

The inspiration came from his mum, Beris, who lived independently in Chester until she died from a recurrence of cancer in early 2016. He began to explore ways of recording and observing how she moved around the house and used appliances, for peace of mind, before later deciding to pursue the idea as a possible business.

He said “The BenignEye System has a unique self-learning capability and spends the first 30 days observing how your loved one moves around the house and what they do – things like how many times they put the kettle on, how long they normally sit in their favourite chair, and whether there is a pattern to this. Having determined what normality looks like for any one individual, BenignEye will then alert you by text or email if something isn’t quite right. Perhaps he or she got up later today and didn’t make themselves a cup of tea at the usual time, or they were just less mobile than usual. Once you know, you can give them a call and check everything is ok. BenignEye can also protect the monitored individual by automatically turning off appliances if they’ve been left on, or warn you that the temperature of the house is too low in the winter. There is a large choice of sensors – up to 232 – including those covering motion, smart-plug monitoring and door-switches that will give peace of mind.”

The system can be fitted with a battery back up system in case of a power cut, and can notify the operator when friends, family or carers visit the home.

Tim said his own mum played a major role in helping to develop the equipment, acting as a “test case” so that he could further analyse the system, before she sadly passed away last year. He said “I had started to detect that her health was deteriorating, and though she was very independent. Mum was my test case and wanted to help me as she was a massive fan of the project was happy to help other people in her position, so we were able to get data from around the house. I know there are many people out there like her, who live alone despite their late age and fight for the right do so. They deserve that right, but you can obviously understand the concerns of people around them – I experienced that myself – so this is a way that can help.”

A former IT project manager with the emergency services, Tim enlisted the help of Wrexham Glyndwr University in getting the business of the ground, particularly Photography and Film Students. Under the guidance of lecturer Joe Edwards, they helped him to produce a short video and collaborated with other departments at the University on marketing and competitive analysis.

Tim also attended a Strategic Business module with North Wales Business Academy. He said “I really loved being part of the Academy, it was of huge benefit to me and extremely useful. There were a lot of different strands that have helped me in building my own company and preparing to launch the product. It was also really useful in making me think about things I hadn’t considered, such as marketing, as well as ironing out some teething problems before I go live this autumn.”

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