Internet- based home monitoring should be a key component of government support for welfare reform

Internet-based home monitoring services could be a key component in helping deliver potential Government targets outlined in the Freud report: "Reducing Dependency, Increasing Opportunity: Options for the future of welfare to work," says Intamac CEO Kevin Meagher.

The review of the state welfare system announced on the 5th March is designed to help thousands back into work and highlights that, with an aging population, more people of working age need to be able to contribute to the economy rather than existing on benefits as is currently the case. One of the key recommendations of the report is that benefit entitlement for single parents should cease when the youngest child reaches the age of 12 and not 16 as is currently the case.

According to Meagher, "We believe technology has a key role to play in the support Government offers to those it is trying to encourage back into the workforce. Many of these people will need the re-assurance that what they can continue to monitor and care for those they are responsible for, as well as holding down a job.

Returning to an office-based job away from their children will be a major upheaval for parents, and we believe Intamac's technology can be a key component in giving them the confidence to make a fundamental change to their lives.

Government should be investing in home monitoring, messaging, and control technology systems as part of their support package."

Using an inexpensive internet-based monitoring Home Monitoring service designed to provide timely information about any unexpected entry or event people can remotely manage and monitor routine events in real-time that occur within the home every day. For example, they can customise their home monitoring service to include IP cameras which enable them to remotely view into their home, from any internet connected device via phone, e-mail or text message, allowing them to monitor and act on the

following:

* Whether children are home safely from school: Home Monitoring enables parents to get an alert at work when their child arrives home from school and turns the house alarm system off using their personalized PIN code.

* When an authorised visitor - for instance a tradesperson or carer is in the home: Home Monitoring enables a temporary PIN to be activated in order grant access for authorised individuals. The system allows the user to monitor at what time, on what date and for how long the event occurred. The system alerts instantly should an unauthorised individual enter the home.

* Potential hazards and costly damage: Home Monitoring links water and smoke detectors allowing homeowners to respond quickly to flooding or fire when away from the home.

* Support of independent living: With the Safe @ Home feature, individuals can monitor normal movement of an elderly family member within the home or set alert notification if daily routines do not occur by a specified time each day.

"It is a reality that we have an aging population and many of the people who will now be required to seek employment will also be responsible for children and/or elderly relatives. Home monitoring services, such as those we provide, can bring peace of mind to them whilst at work, and provide timely alert messages to them if actions needs to be taken," emphasises Meagher.

"The Intamac platform also provides for the future remote management and control of the home: We can monitor domestic heating and electrical systems and the devices attached to them. This will be of great benefit for a group of people who will be required to pack more into every

waking hour."