User needs and home automation infrastructures in industrialized and developing countries

M. Brink, J.E.M.H. Bronswijk, van

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Purpose Home automation systems are meant to improve the performance of a dwelling. Middleware, the ICT infrastructure of a home automation system, connects the different applications (lighting, heating, smoke sensing, etc) by providing the network and defining the technologies used for communication and configuration between components (Figure 1). Home automation systems provide support for aging-in-place, or provide care in the form of telemedicine1,2; all with the aid of applications in the domains of assistive technology, fun technology and comfort technology. However, the demands to be met vary by individual, as well as by region, and increases with the age of the person. This study provides an overview of the main differences in needs regarding home automation in industrialized and developing countries and discuses the consequences of these differences for the ICT infrastructure Method To get an overview of the economic and geographical variation in needs, we take Costa Rica and the Netherlands as examples to list briefly the most important differences and variations. Subsequently, the consequences for the ICT infrastructure are discussed. Results & discussion Both countries are aging, resulting in a larger demand for care and a smaller, more aged workforce to provide both this care and other services needed for a sustainable society. Because the Netherlands started to age earlier than Costa Rica, the housing situation of the two countries differ, with more one-person households in the 65+years category in the Netherlands, and still a comparatively large percentage of 3-generation households in Costa Rica. The potential need for telemedicine will be higher in Costa Rica, since it is less densely populated with larger distances to medical facilities. Currently, in the Netherlands, applications related to comfort and entertainment are most in demand due to economic reasons. In today Costa Rica more essential applications, such as telemedicine, are wanted. Since the need for home automation in Costa Rica will first be focussed on telemedicine, the used ICT infrastructure can be simple at first (focused telemedicine), but must be flexible (easy to install and uninstall). Furthermore, it should support different types of internet connectivity (telephone, broadband or by the cell phone network), since broadband internet is not yet commonly available. For the Netherlands, a more universal ICT infrastructure in the form of a universal platform, providing support for a wide range of applications is needed to support successful aging-in-place3.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMemoria de congreso CIC 2010
Place of PublicationSan José, Costa Rica
PublisherColegio de Ingenieros Civiles de Costa Rica
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Eventconference; Congreso de Ingeniería Civil CIC 2010; 2010-10-07; 2010-10-09 -
Duration: 7 Oct 20109 Oct 2010


Conferenceconference; Congreso de Ingeniería Civil CIC 2010; 2010-10-07; 2010-10-09
OtherCongreso de Ingeniería Civil CIC 2010


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