The City of Seoul, the Community Chest of Seoul, Korea Telecom (KT), MacroEye and Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), through its Wireless ReachTM initiative, today announced the expansion of a project that provides mobile devices, services and applications through the “Seoul Family Helper” program. This project supplies mobile handsets and devices to caregivers and senior citizens in order to provide healthcare related support. The pilot project received positive evaluations from participants and is now being adopted by the City of Seoul as one of its budgeted welfare services in 2010. The project is being expanded from the original pilot of 40 caregivers and 400 elderly participants to 500 caregivers and 5,000 participants.
The Seoul Family Helper program offers services to senior citizens through a team of caregivers referred to as “helpers.” These helpers visit participants in their homes and facilitate any health related support that is needed.
Funded by Qualcomm through its Wireless Reach initiative and managed by the Community Chest of Seoul, this project and service are supplemented by the City of Seoul, KT and MacroEye. The MacroEye SHOWCare device enabled by KT's 3G network allows helpers to aid seniors more effectively. Services and applications include:
· Automatic Reception: A service which provides direct access to a helper by allowing senior citizens to be heard and seen by the caregiver even when they are unable to reach the device.
· Direct Access: Devices are programmed for direct dialing to the Seoul Family Helper helpline. By pushing one button, the participant is automatically connected to the center's helpline.
· Remote Functionality: Services that enable helpers to establish personalized communications with senior citizens using video, photos and other applications. This functionality allows helpers to check on the health and well-being of participants without having to wait for a scheduled visit.
The KT SHOWCare Monitoring System uses Qualcomm's mirasol® display which is uniquely suited to benefit the elderly participants within the Seoul Family Helper program. Based on reflective technology, mirasol displays use significantly less energy than traditional displays which enables low power consumption and extended battery life for the SHOWCare device. In addition, the bistable nature of the mirasol display allows for near-zero power usage in situations where the display image is unchanged. This allows caregivers to aid participants in placing the device in a stationary setting and leaving it for extended periods of time without having to worry about charging the battery. The display's nature-inspired design also provides viewing in nearly all broad spectrum lighting environments, including bright outdoor sunlight, meaning that images can be seen in a wide range of participant environments. Furthermore, mirasol display technology's rapid refresh rate makes it suitable for video and multimedia, allowing communications with senior citizens using video and photos.
“South Korean society has preserved a strong tradition of family bonds and responsibility,” said Young Koo Cha, senior vice president and president of Qualcomm Korea. “Qualcomm is pleased to enable key services and applications for senior citizens and their caregivers using mobile broadband technology.”
“Demand for elderly social welfare programs is increasing as the Korean population ages and grows in number,” said Byoung-ho Kang, director of Senior Citizen's Welfare Division of the City of Seoul Family Helper Program. “This collaboration with Qualcomm allows caregivers to stay connected in between home visits and monitor the well-being of their patients when they need it most.”
“Through the expansion of this program, low income and/or disabled senior citizens in South Korea are better able to lead healthy, independent lives,” said Dong-soo Kim, president of the Community Chest of Seoul. “These devices provide an important service by allowing consistent contact with helpers, which addresses feelings of loneliness and social exclusion.”
Qualcomm believes access to advanced wireless voice and data services improves people's lives. Qualcomm's Wireless Reach initiative supports programs and solutions that bring the benefits of connectivity to underserved communities globally. By working with partners, Wireless Reach projects create new ways for people to communicate, learn, access health care, sustain the environment and reach global markets. For more information, please visit www.qualcomm.com/wirelessreach.
Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM) is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on CDMA and other advanced technologies. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Qualcomm is included in the S&P 100 Index, the S&P 500 Index and is a 2009 FORTUNE 500® company. For more information, please visit www.qualcomm.com.