How award-winning design is helping older adults live safely and with dignity at home

At Doro we are dedicated to help older adults live safely and with dignity at home, a mission that has been especially critical as COVID-19 accelerates the need for remote care options. In 2008, Doro launched Care IP®, the world’s first digital social alarm (a device that calls for help in urgent situations). When Doro began thinking about an update to the device, which had remained essentially unchanged for over a decade, they sought the help of McKinsey Design.

“People are living longer than ever before, so the time is ripe for innovation in technologies that aid the elderly,” says Ulrika Vejbrink, a McKinsey associate design director. In fact, our research shows that retired and elderly populations are expected to grow by thirty percent in the next decade.

Ulrika adds that this, along with a desire of people to age in place, means systems like Eliza are more needed than ever.

Eliza’s core feature is a single alarm button. When it’s pressed, the device calls a receiving center and connects with a full range of telecare sensors, like smoke detectors, that help ensure the right services are deployed to help the person in distress.

“We sought a clean and minimalist design,” says Jan Puranen, a McKinsey associate design director, of Eliza’s design. “Too much clutter and technology can make it hard to use or understand.”

Meanwhile, on the aesthetic front, Jan explains that many seniors attach a certain stigma to having such an alarm in their home. To address this challenge, the team took inspiration from something more familiar to these users: an analog radio. “We needed something that expresses reliability and quality,” Jan explains. A vertical structure with a stable base was chosen so the alarm could be placed in a discreet spot, like a narrow table or windowsill.

How the alarm is used varies by person and market, depending on the types of users. “We had to think about adaptability and ensuring ease of use for varying dexterity levels,” says Ulrika.

Acclaimed for its cutting-edge aesthetic, which earned it a 2020 iF Design Award, the Eliza “truly raises the bar in the industry,” says Jan. “Using 4G and IP digital networks ensure the highest level of reliability, security and flexibility for users—for today and the future.”