IoT solution to increase autonomy and quality of life of older adults, supporting and extending independent living in own homes.

Technology: Machine learning,Digital Twins,Sensors and/or Cameras, Open Source software and/or hardware, // Domain: Health & Care // Location: Spain

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MYSPHERA is an SME specialised in transforming healthcare systems through process digitalisation. Founded in 2012, the Valencia-based company has matured its activities to cover hardware and software development, product design, custom engineering, installation, marketing and sales. The diverse team of almost 50 people is composed of scientific, administrative and technical profiles with expertise in computer science, telecommunication, electronics and biomedical engineering.

The foundation for the endeavours of MYSPHERA is a vision to empower actors in the health and care ecosystem with actionable information. By leveraging IoT, the company generates on-demand insights to offer solutions that modernise and streamline processes in the domain with the aim to facilitate increased quality and efficiency of care services and care outcomes.

MYSPHERA first and foremost provides solutions to healthcare organisations but is currently progressing its market coverage to additional care-providing administrations, covering the needs of clients across Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

Case_mysphera_project-affiliationMYSPHERA aims to support and extend the independent living of elderly people in their own homes. This is both in order to increase autonomy and quality of life for the elderly population and to raise the sustainability of health and social care systems.

The ‘active and healthy ageing’ solution offered by MYSPHERA leverages IoT technology to transform the homes of the elderly into a controlled environment that facilitates independent and autonomous living and to digitalise information flows to formal or informal care providers. Through location tracking and identification of situations that may represent a risk, the solution provides amplified consciousness about presence and activity status, serving the needs of both the elderly, their relatives and connected care professionals.

Case_mysphera_elderlyIllustration 1: A majority of elderly state a preference to age in their own homes, but their accelerating loss of autonomy, physical ability and mental capacity poses a risk to health and safety and increases the need for care.

The incentive of MYSPHERA to develop an IoT solution that supports prolonged in-home living for the elderly population derives from a socioeconomic ambition of transforming the ecosystem of elderly care into a more intelligent and resilient form that promotes interdependency and safety while generating better care experiences for the elderly, their relatives and the care professionals.

“Many are grateful because they are able to fulfil the desire to remain at home until the end.”
Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA

Our current institutional and social arrangements are unsuited for the rapidly ageing populations, and it generates a worldwide demand for solutions that can support people in active and healthy ageing. One grand challenge of the demographic development is the saturation of assisted senior living facilities and the lack of beds in nursing homes. Although a majority of elderly state a preference to age in their own homes, their natural loss of autonomy, physical ability and mental capacity complicates the situation due to steadily increasing health and safety risks that accordingly increase the complexity of the care needed. By 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older is expected to double, and the number of persons aged 80 years or older is expected to triple [1]. A situation that has highlighted the importance of effectively supporting the ability of the elderly population to live in their own homes for as long as possible and for as long as they wish.

Case_mysphera_mobileIllustration 2: The LOCS solution use sensor-driven monitoring to ensure a controlled environment that promotes autonomous and independent living to enable elderly to continue living at home.

From their many years of experience in healthcare, MYSPHERA knows that it is vital for care professionals to be able to quickly and effectively locate patients and access information about their health status and history at all times. Similar needs occur in processes for elderly care, and MYSPHERA reckoned an opportunity to reuse their experience and solution concept to embrace the challenges faced by the elderly population and care ecosystem. IoT technology had already demonstrated its potential to transform healthcare processes, and combined with the internal expertise on location tracking and information flow digitalisation, the company set out to build a solution to accelerate a transformation of the processes of elderly care as well. Such a solution would facilitate constant consciousness on the presence and activity status of the elderly, not only providing the elderly and relatives with safety but also improving the quality of care and supporting the important work of providing care.

MYSPHERA initiated the development of a platform for the solution, based on the premise that it should be available to everyone, and therefore accordingly offered at an affordable price. They put effort into exploring the devices and technological architecture needed to detect the location and status of the elderly in and outside the home and studied what minimum amount of sensors would be needed to achieve meaningful information at a very contained price. However, it was not until 2017, when the company learned of ACTIVAGE – a project that was doing large-scale pilots in the ‘active and healthy ageing’ domain – that the full potential of the platform unfolded. The scope of the project allowed MYSPHERA to further develop both the software and the hardware, rapidly prototype it and refine it through many iterations.

“Working with both elderly and the service providers has helped us to streamline the product.”
Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA

The present solution, called LOCS, took shape with the ambition to increase the autonomy of the elderly and prolong their independent lives at home. In order to offer elderly the most valuable asset: safety, MYSPHERA concluded that the solution should include also care providers and relatives of the elderly. It would thereby serve also as a tool to automate and simplify flows of information to facilitate increased consciousness about the presence and status of care clients and families’ loved ones.

Due to the project pilots, MYSPHERA were able to install the solution in 525 homes and connect with almost 1000 relatives within a short period of time. Although the project has come to an end, MYSPHERA continues to serve many of the users and care professionals that were involved as partners in the pilot. Based on this proof of concept, the LOCS solution is in the initial process of commercialization at present.

Case_mysphera_sensorIllustration 3: MYSPHERA leverage IoT technology to digitalise information flows in the ecosystem of elderly care. Although the core is a platform, the solution is simple and requires no technological engagement of the elderly user.
[Photo courtesy of Georg Arthur Pfluger] 

The LOCS solution offered by MYSPHERA covers remote monitoring of the elderly, a connected platform that shares the location and complementary services to care providers and relatives of the elderly.

Sensors are installed in each room of the elderly’s house. The sensors detect motion, temperature and humidity to monitor any movement made in the house and to provide information on the indoor environment and energy consumption. An additional sensor, in terms of a magnetic switch, is furthermore installed on the outside doors of the house to detect entrances and exits. Each of the installed sensors does around 20,000 sensorial readings per month. All the sensors work on Bluetooth and have no networking capability. Therefore, a gateway serves as a concentrator to gather the data from the sensors and as a connecter to the 3G network. On the gateway, local edge processing reduces the data and computes machine learning algorithms to facilitate location tracking. Anonymized information about the position of the elderly is transmitted to the cloud where additional computation takes place via MYSPHERA’s platform.

Hence, at the core of the solution is MYSPHERA’s RTLS [2] platform that relies on the standard FIWARE Context Broker. FIWARE brings a curated framework for open source software platforms and a list of standard components for different IoT protocols, which can be assembled together and with other third-party components. The use of FIWARE thereby enables MYSPHERA to manage context information in a highly decentralised and large-scale manner and to speed up the integration of underlying network technologies.

On average, the platform receives 20 events each minute that are detected by the network of sensors. Once these events are transmitted to the platform in the cloud, the FIWARE provides a harmonised interface that enables applications to exploit data and provide context more effectively; for example, by generating a heat map of the elderly and the rooms of the house – a so-called digital twin that offers a visual representation of the location and activity of the elderly in any room at any time.

Case_MySphera_enabling-technologiesIllustration 4: Enabling technologies for MYSPHERA’s LOCS solution.

A dedicated mobile application and website portal provide an intuitive and user-friendly interface that is explicitly designed for the user. For care providers and relatives of the elderly, it provides access to real-time data on the location of the elderly 24/7, which is supported by information and a range of metrics on activity status; for example, a historic indicator that enables monitoring of weekly and monthly patterns of activity for the user to identify potential events or behavioural irregularities that need attention or intervention. For the elderly, the mobile application extends location tracking also outside the home, as the application uses GPS to report the location of the smartphone when it is brought outside.

A variety of personalised alarms and warning notifications can be set via the application to assess situations of potential risk: For relatives and care providers, for example in case no activity is detected in the home, or if the elderly person has not returned home within the usual time frame, and for the elderly, for example in case of wandering beyond a geographical area marked as safe in terms of distance and orientation. The ability of the sensors to monitor indoor climate further enables also detection of polluted air and energy poverty situations. When detected, optimisation solutions are generated and provided to the user(s), helping them to address unhealthy indoor climate and tackle excessive energy consumption at the house of the elderly. This feature enables the solution to tap into the sustainability agenda as well.

The solution offered by MYSPHERA is a simple interlocutor to increase flows of information in the ecosystem of elderly care and provide real-time information availability. It does not require any action from any of the users as it is a complete one-way IoT platform (hence it relies only on the sensors with edge processing and no actuators).

“So essentially, elderly do not interact with the technology. It is just something that is there at the home infrastructure, but they do not have to do anything.”
Alvaro Martinez, Innovation Engineer at MYSPHERA

Elderly care is a moving environment, and MYSPHERA’s solution ensures continuous and automated collection of real-time location data, ensuring that relevant information is accessible and available to everyone where and when it is needed.

The development of MYSPHERA’s solution is tapping directly into the socioeconomic challenge of globally accelerating ageing populations. It caters for the appeal of society and individuals to sustain the autonomous living of elderly people and to facilitate the individual care journey. By offering real-time visibility and increasing information flows, the solution provides a relative safety guarantee, optimises the care service and offers a pathway for transforming the ecosystem of elderly care into a more intelligent and resilient form.

“Simplicity and complete transparency to the user. They do not need to change anything in their routine and they do not need to pay attention to devices. That was the one key thing because it is a very old population with low digital capability.”
Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA

Digitalisation is not an outcome of direct value to the users; however, the derived outcomes are, as these are the enablers for prolonging the ability of elderly to live at home by effectuating:

  • A controlled environment that facilitates autonomous and independent living through location detection both indoors and outdoors.
  • Real-time data sharing that informs relatives and care providers about the activity status of the elderly, eliminating potential concerns and facilitating direct communication in events of emergency or risk to the health or safety of the elderly.

Several studies conducted during the pilots in regards to the acceptance of MYSPHERA’s solution demonstrate an increased sense of safety among the elderly and their relatives. The value of the solution was ranked 8.5 out of 10, and more than 65% of the pilot participants were willing to pay for the solution after pilot termination.

Case_mysphera_elderly2Illustration 5: In the event of emergency and situations of risk to the safety or health of the elderly, the platform triggers immediate alarms, eliminating potential concerns that family and care providers may have.
[Photo courtesy of Danie Franco] 

The above-specified outcomes of MYSPHERA’s solution give rise to a variety of valuable propositions for the different users and customers. The core user is the elderly population, explicitly those that wish to age while remaining in their own homes. Additional users include relatives of the elderly, wishing for an increased flow of information to gain consciousness and guarantee on the safety of their elderly relatives and, finally, care providers wishing to provide more customised service in a more convenient and efficient manner. It is rarely the elderly themselves that are the customers of the solution, but most often the relatives or the care professionals at a strategic level, in terms of public or private care administrators, that seek process visibility to increase efficiency and optimise logistics and resources of the care service to save time and costs. Care administrators often integrate MYSPHERA’s solution into a complete care package and add on top of the solution personal and face-to-face care services to the elderly. The specific value propositions for the users and customers of the solution are outlined in the following.


  • Interdependency: Well-kept sense of autonomy that enables the elderly to live alone and stay at home.
  • Safety guarantee: Calmness knowing that relatives and/or care providers are knowledgeable about the whereabouts of the elderly and can quickly and effectively locate them at all times.
  • Risk identification and notification: Peace of mind knowing that care providers and relatives are notified in situations of potential risks to health and/or safety of the elderly, and knowing that customised alarms are triggered if entering safety vulnerable locations.
  • Convenient (automated) information sharing: Ease of knowing that relatives and care providers can access information on the daily life of the elderly without having to directly communicate it. In particular a treasured feature in cases where the elderly suffers from Alzheimer’s, senile dementia, memory loss etc.
  • Energy consumption optimisation: Due to the ability of the sensors to detect temperature and humidity, potential optimisations can be introduced and savings in costs and environmental impact can be achieved.
  • Social connection: Due to the increased flow of information, relatives have knowledge of changes in the status of the elderly. The insight increases interaction as enabled to take contact to check on status changes, giving the elderly the feeling that their families are more attentive and involved in their care.
  • Internet connectivity: The integrated gateway provides connectivity within the cost of the solution subscription, which is a valuable asset for many elderly as they do not have a Wi-Fi connection. This feature eases installation for MYSPHERA as well.
  • No effort value creation: the value of the solution is generated automatically, and the simple technology does not require any interaction, effort or thought from the elderly.

“They do not have to interact, and in some cases, they even forget that they have the solution installed.”
Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA


  • Constant consciousness: Access to real-time information about the location and activity of the elderly 24/7 brings peace of mind to relatives knowing that their elderly is safe and well.
  • Immediate intervention ability: The alerting mechanism in case any risk is detected enables relatives to instantly contact the elderly to check on their well-being. Customisation settings further enable relatives to receive notifications on irregularities in activity status that may be a worry for the individual.
  • Insight: Increased and automated flows of information between the people close to the elderly provide relatives better insight into the daily life of the elderly, their routines, care schedules and general activities. This offers a more complete picture rather than the immediate snapshot from a visit or telephone call.
  • Altruistic appreciation: being able to fulfil the desire of their loved one to remain at home brings relatives gratitude and mental calmness.

Care provider

  • Customised care services: Individualisation is enabled based on increased knowledge about the individual due to detailed information on activity patterns and routines of the elderly contrasted with historical documentation.
  • Real-time care: Constant consciousness about the status of the elderly enables the care provider to better identify urgent care needs and provide their service when and where it is needed rather than according to a predefined schedule.
  • Collective patient overview: The ability to monitor the location and status of the elderly offers the care provider a collective overview of the patients for whom they are responsible and thereby a basis to better plan logistics and timing of the care service. The ability to locate the elderly, and whether they are home or not, frees the care provider from wasting unnecessary time, enabling them to spend time on the core care tasks.
  • Emergency redemption: The alerting mechanism provides knowledge on the occurrence of situations that poses a safety risk in real-time, which enables the care provider to intervene immediately and potentially prevent a situation from developing into a case of emergency.

Care administrator

  • Agile and automated care flow: The need for care is changeable due to shifts in activities, location, health condition and other events of the elderly, but the automation of information flows notify on these shifts and facilitates traceability of the elderly to minimize idle time and facilitate coordination.
  • Process optimisation: The solution offers a tool to extract data from the logistics of the care services, providing insight to make existing processes more efficient and intelligent. This further increases flexibility and agility in unscheduled or urgent situations.
  • Coordination: The solution facilitates better and faster coordination between care provider teams and efficient management of resources.
  • Working environment: Easy access to information simplify documentation processes in the care organisation and facilitates greater information sharing internally between care provider teams and care administrators.
  • External information: The solution offers a digital tool for care administrators to inform relatives of the elderly about the care service provided, thereby making the business more transparent.

Some propositions of the solution are mutually valuable for the manifold players of the ecosystem, such as the customisation of care, ensuring the best service possible and interdependency of the elderly, resulting in socio-economic sustainability.

“The main benefit is that the very simple solution can enable elderly people to live longer at home
and can provide the relatives with a sense of calm.”

Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA

Case_mysphera_data-LOCSIllustration 6: The dedicated application and web portal provide 24/7 access to real-time information on the location and activity of the elderly in and outside the home.

MYSPHERA has adopted a revenue model based on B2B2C, striving to position their solution as complementary to the traditional care service. Therefore, the company partners up with care professionals that are already established in the domain, using two potential profit mechanisms: a) receive a one-time payment for the hardware plus a monthly subscription fee for the platform service, or b) receive a monthly subscription fee for the platform service plus rental of the hardware. The development of the solution has allowed MYSPHERA to penetrate a new domain and initiate a new line of business, which offers an attractive foundation for future growth.

“Having this platform allows us to deploy new services and to offer a more personalised approach to customers.”
Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA

Since MYSPHERA introduced the first version of a sensor-driven platform solution to increase autonomy and quality of life for older adults, many iterations have transpired in the process toward the final solution. The company has gained many learnings along the way, and among them, some with transmissible value for other innovators that are manoeuvring in the IoT ecosystem.

Offering the LOCS solution to a domain that to a large extent is administered by public authorities has caused some resistance to the adoption of the solution. As it is technology-based, the investment costs are higher than the short-term costs of care personnel. Therefore, public budgets, which are pre-planned for years ahead, often form the basis for digitalisation reluctance, even though MYSPHERA is able to demonstrate studies that validate the ability of the solution to prolong the time an elderly person can live at home.

“So we really need to make an effort to demonstrate the cost savings of this technology.”
Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA

Overcoming the challenge was, and still is, costly in terms of time and resources and has taught MYSPHERA the significance of patience and persistence when operating in a regulated domain and offering a solution that disrupts the traditional processes of that domain.

As of early 2022, MYSPHERA’s LOCS solution is fully commercially available to the market, and prospects for its adoption are optimistic. MYSPHERA considers a number of points to be vital for the current and future success of their IoT solution. Taking departure in the journey of development, pilot testing and market feedback, these points are compiled into a list of recommendations below.

1. Use available and mature technology

“My advice would be: Do not reinvent the wheel. Simply check what is out there.”
Alvaro Martinez, Innovation Engineer at MYSPHERA

The first prototypes of the solution that MYSPHERA developed were technologically built from scratch, and the software platform they hosted themselves – all with the intention to be one step ahead of the mature market. However, the approach turned out to counteract the intention. Development in itself was a massive effort for the company, and the lack of compatibility with third-party devices, systems and services became a grand challenge. Hence, MYSPHERA recommends IoT innovators to leverage available services (FIWARE, Amazon, Azure, Google etc.) that helps to standardise and ensure interoperability of one’s IoT solution.

2. Do not let technology drive development

“Keep it to the minimum. Try to provide value and not be carried away by the technology and the possibilities.”
Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA

From an innovation and research perspective, IoT developers are keen to try and test everything, to deploy more sensors, to add more features, to integrate new technology etc. MYSPHERA emphasises that when commercialisation is an aim, it is critical not to let the technology of the solution get too complicated. There is always something more that could be added or something new that could be tried out. However, less is more, and IoT innovators must remember to focus.

3. Be problem solvers

Define the customers and the users you want to address, and do not overlook the distinction between those segments. Identify the needs of the customer and the problems encountered by the users. IoT innovators must carefully consider what provides value and then tailor a value proposition that does indeed cover the needs and solve the problems. According to MYSPHERA, this offers the foundation for a business to grow.

“In the end, you need to solve real problems and cover needs to add value to the customer.”
Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA

Case_mysphera_DMATIllustration 7: Digital Maturity Radar Chart: Assessment of MYSPHERA by Pilar Sala, Innovation Manager at MYSPHERA.

MYSPHERA assumes a high level of digital maturity with an overall score of 4.13. The score indicates that the digital capabilities of the company are vastly mature, and that they perform above average for the sector.

The Digital Maturity Assessment Tool is copyrighted by Associate Professor and PhD Annabeth Aagaard, Director at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Digital Business Development, Aarhus University. To get the digital maturity of your company mapped out, click here.


[2] RTLS (Real Time Location System): system that accurately determines an item or person’s location. RTLS is not a specific type of system or technology, but rather a goal that can be accomplished with a variety of systems for locating and managing assets.


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