Tormod Bekken visited our group on February 14 to talk about Visma Unique’s activities in the areas of welfare technologies and AAL. Tormod is marketing manager for welfare technologies at Visma Unique. Tormod has long experience in the field of welfare, e-health and AAL (ambient assisted living) and has been working with marketing of EPR and other health-related products at Visma and other companies.
The Norwegian company Visma is one of the major vendors of solutions within financial and public administration in Norway, and has also established itself in the European market. Visma Unique, a subsidiary of Visma, provides EPR and other solutions to health care players in Norway. Visma Unique has a growing AAL offering and cooperates with Telenor Objects (another Norwegian company delivering M2M solutions) to provide integrated AAL solutions.
This was an exciting talk that engaged the audience and resulted in follow-up a number of discussions on the topic. Tormod pointed out that municipalities in Norway are going through big structural changes as a consequence of the collaboration reform (“Samhandlingsreformen“). Due to this reform, many municipalities are having difficulties handling the growing number of “early discharge patients”. These patients used to stay in the hospitals for a longer period, but are increasingly becoming the responsibility of the municipalities. Homecare is still regarded by many as a low status profession, making it difficult to recruit young people. This, with the added fact that the number of elderly in need of care is growing, raises a lot of grand challenges. Visma’s vision is that ICT solutions have a major role to play in this picture.
There are however a number of challenges connected with AAL technologies and solutions. According to Tormod AAL solutions have become very technology-driven. Supporting human welfare is often fragmented into separate technological solutions offered by different vendors. This is often done without a proper understanding of what the holistic human being looks like, both physically and psychologically. In addition, many municipalities are too small to maintain enough competencies in the area. The result is often that investments are done on wrong, outdated or unusable technologies. Norway is a country with many small municipalities, with each having its own individual characteristics.
Tormod also talked about some of the specific projects he is involved in. A pilot is set up in the “Værnesregionen” together with the municipalities in the area and with Telenor Objects as partners . The pilot demonstrates how sensors and devices from various vendors can be connected to the cloud (using Telenor Object’s Shepherd® platform) and further integrated with EPR solutions from Visma Unique. This is the first pilot demonstrating a link from welfare technologies to EPR systems.