Smart Ageing Prize 2018

Using innovative digital technologies to support older people to participate fully in social life

What was the Smart Ageing Prize 2018?

Run by the AAL Programme, with support from Nesta Challenges, the Smart Ageing Prize sought products and services that used innovative digital technologies to support older people to participate fully in social life. The prize looked for innovations that could engage older adults in social and stimulating activities, promoting active and connected ageing. These innovations were expected to be co-designed with users and be less than 18 months away from entering the market following the award of the prize.

The prize process supported selected applications to develop their business through small financial incentives and mentoring, and the winners were awarded prizes totaling €50,000.

Why did we do this?

Evidence from global research suggests that supporting older people to participate fully in social life will help them remain active and healthy for longer into later life. At the same time, reducing social isolation requires meaningful engagements and social experiences. A key value proposition of ICT is its ability to connect people and communities. Digital technologies can, therefore, act as a broker for stimulating social experiences that improve wellbeing. That is why digital innovation to meet older people’s requirements and wishes is at the heart of this challenge prize.

What happened?

  • 95 eligible applications to the competition, from 21 different countries
  • Shortlist of 30 entries considered by the judging panel
  • 15 semi-finalists were invited to attend a mentoring academy in Brussels and received a grant of 500 towards the development of their entry
  • The winner was awarded 35,000, the runner-up received 15,000 and the judges also awarded 5,000 to the team named ‘judges’ choice’

77% of entrants...

 applied for the prize because they wanted to commercialise their solutions across Europe

68% of entrants...

were seeking funding to develop their solutions

14% of entries...

came from the UK, the highest number of applications from one country

Impact of the Prize

  • 53% of finalists said they were likely to bring their products to market, with the remaining 47% saying that were very likely to
  • 47% of finalists were able to develop new partnerships as a result of taking part in the Prize
  • 71% of finalists stated that taking part in the Prize improved their understanding of the market for digital technologies for older adults
  • 100% of finalists felt that the Prize was a tool to stimulate innovation
  • 86% of finalists agreed that the Prize had improved their networks, public profile, business skills and market knowledge

Watch this to learn more about the Prize


KOMP (Norway)

KOMP is the one-button computer connecting generations and making communication between all generations simple. With KOMP your family and friends can share photos, messages, and make video calls. KOMP does not replace physical meetings, but it makes the time between them feel a little shorter.


PlaceCal is a partnership of community organisations, charities, social housing providers, government services, health providers, and citizens.

Refresh by How Do I? is a mobile app and content creation platform designed to build confidence and support those with memory loss to live, work and socialize more independently, using step-by-step videos accessed at the touch of a mobile device.

KeepSocial is an innovative platform based on a small piece of hardware that fits on a discreet wireless headset It can identify the precise location and direction of sight of an individual in indoor environments.

A platform co-designed with, and for, active Third Age leisure travellers, focusing on improving quality of life, strengthening social interaction, empowering them to stay active longer, and motivating them to keep their bodies and minds stimulated.

An innovative and user-oriented information service and communication platform, tailored to the needs of older people. It allows older people to use internet-based services, be part of a digital social network and easily communicate with care professionals, friends and family.

An innovative app suite designed to enable older people to learn to communicate online and connect with their family.

An application to help older people participate in activities in their own neighbourhood.

An easily deployable and configurable platform to promote active ageing through physical training with exergames.

A digital platform to deliver social and stimulating activities for older adults using teleconference technology.

A platform that allows older adults to volunteer for skills-based activities. The platform matches the needs of people looking for services with the skills of older volunteers and puts both parties in contact.

VR platform that allows elderly people in care institutions to iundergo unique experiences, together.

An assistive device giving individuals with physical disabilities the ability to communicate, control, and connect with the world.

VR based software solution for bringing back precious memories to people suffering dementia.

An app that allows users to record their walked routes and share these with peers in their community to motivate each other and share interesting experiences.


Similar Challenges

Ageing Well Prize

Looking for ideas to improve the lives of older people by reducing social isolation

Smart Ageing Prize 2016

Using the Internet of Things to empower older adults to achieve the quality of life they aspire to

Smart Ageing Prize 2020

Looking for solutions that empower older adults to engage in entrepreneurship