Our everyday life is naturally shaped by digital media. Find the way with the smartphone while traveling, read the newspaper on the couch with the tablet or watch missed TV programs in the media library of a station with the smart TV. These possibilities of using digital media used to look very futuristic, but it’s our reality now. The networking of technology is a part of the digitization of our lives. New developments are increasingly taking over the household, what helps us a lot. You can already control the smart heating using a small application on your smartphone, a so-called app. Windows can also be opened and closed remotely. In the future, households of people in need of care will increasingly be equipped with smart technical assistance systems. The aim here is to enable sick people to live independently in their own four walls for as long as possible with the help of modern technologies

More security through a networked home The digitization of various devices also forms the basis for networking the household, known as the smart home. In addition to the described control options for heating, windows and shutters, the intelligent home also includes the option of monitoring the apartment using motion sensors and webcams. If a sensor registers movement even though the owner should not be at home, a warning SMS is sent. You can then use your smartphone to check what is happening at home while you are out. You may even check how much electricity is currently being used in the household over the smartphone. So you can quickly see whether you have forgotten to turn off the stove.

The digitization scenario just described can be easily understood using the example of today’s living rooms. Just a few decades ago, the television, radio, record player or slide projector were individual, independently functioning devices. On the basis of advancing digitization, we are now experiencing a convergence of these technologies. Pictures taken with the digital camera can long ago be viewed on the smart TV in the living room. You can also watch missed TV programs via online media libraries on your laptop or via an Internet connection on the television, if you want to. Even large record collections or well-stocked CD racks are now often only of importance to nostalgic people. Because music is increasingly played directly over the Internet via mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones with the help of so-called streaming services and transmitted to the home system, because the music collection is now digital and therefore usually at any time and wherever there is an Internet connection there, available. If you summarize this development, you can see that various devices and media have learned through digitization to “talk” to each other and to exchange ideas.

Technical assistance systems help with independent living It is often difficult for older people to live at home alone. Possible reasons for this are, for example, the risk of falls, the timely intake of medication and the inability of doctors to react in emergencies. This is where modern technical assistance solutions come in. In doing so, they pursue the goal of enabling an independent life at home for longer through technical solutions. Intelligent home emergency call systems can, for example, use movement sensors to detect that an emergency is pending and inform the family accordingly or the emergency services directly. Smart medication aids remind you to take medicine, and vital signs can also be monitored with the help of intelligent technology such as heart rate monitors and communicated directly to the doctor in the event of problems.

One question remains: How does this technology change people? If you look at the advancing digitization, it is noticeable that technical changes always change people. On the one hand, this is logical because, from a purely systemic point of view, lifeworlds are subject to an adjustment process as soon as they come into contact with technology. Among other things, you have to learn how to use new technology and understand the consequences of using technology. On the other hand, technical changes also pose social questions to people. This becomes particularly clear when using technical assistance systems in the field of care, because what role do technical systems play? The help of devices can not be described in words, and the main focus of a digitized and networked future should always be people with their needs and individual living conditions.