Journal of Reliable Intelligent Environments

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 195–207 | Cite as

Bridging the gap between technology and older adults: insights from a collaborative workshop on R&D methodologies for ambient assisted living solutions

  • Soraia TelesEmail author
  • Rita Tavares de Sousa
  • Diogo Abrantes
  • Diotima Bertel
  • Ana Ferreira
  • Constança Paúl
Original Article


In spite of promising contributions of ambient assisted living (AAL) solutions for independent ageing, a gap between technologies and their uptake by users has been reported. A suboptimal user-centred approach and limited user integration in the innovation process were advanced as influencing factors. This paper presents the results from a collaborative workshop conducted at the AAL Forum 2017 with multiple stakeholders (n = 24). Data were collected on current practices, methods, challenges and solutions regarding user integration in AAL projects, and a content analysis was carried out. A moderate degree of user integration emerged as the most common practice and users are mostly included in the research and development process providing requirements and testing the solutions, holding minor participation in other innovation phases. Challenges for user integration were associated with users’ health/autonomy status and attitudes towards technology, as well as with obstacles in matching solutions with users’ requirements. The results suggest that a higher degree of user integration may still be some way distant in AAL projects. Researchers/developers face considerable challenges in user integration, while possessing a limited portfolio of solutions to address them. Insights from this paper can be exploited to design guidelines for user integration in AAL projects.


Ambient assisted living (AAL) Information and communication technology (ICT) for ageing well User-centred design (UCD) Participative approaches User integration 



The authors would like to acknowledge the co-financing by the European Commission AAL Joint Programme and the related national agencies in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, in the scope of the ActiveAdvice project—Decision Support Solutions for Independent Living using an Intelligent AAL Product and Service Cloud (AAL-2015-2-058, FCT Ref. AAL/0007/2015). The author Soraia Teles is also individually supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT; D/BD/135496/2018; PhD Program in Clinical and Health Services Research (PDICSS). This article was also supported by FCT through the Project TagUBig—Taming Your Big Data (IF/00693/2015) from Researcher FCT Program funded by National Funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. The funding sources had no involvement in the research conduction or preparation of the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesInstitute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto (ICBAS-UP)PortoPortugal
  2. 2.Center for Health Technology and Services Research (CINTESIS)PortoPortugal
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Porto (FMUP)PortoPortugal
  4. 4.SYNYO GmbHViennaAustria

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