With the world in lockdown the emotional and psychological effects of isolation can have a terrible effect on people. While none of us are immune to this there are some groups more at risk than others. Residents of aged care facilities who rely on visits from family, friends and community groups to provide them with mixed social interaction are one such group.

It is also true that for many of these groups the level of tech skills is not high meaning that the likelihood that they have or could use video chat solutions is limited. Google is hoping to address this with a simplified UI for Smart Displays. Current in a limited test with 1000 residents of an aged care facility the new UI provides a new experience for users.

The new UI includes a list of pre loaded contacts, new “what can you do” cards to walk the residents through the capabilities of a Smart Display and double as short cuts to simple features like the weather or setting alarms. These devices are rolling out using a central fleet management approach and do not store or send any voice recordings back to the cloud.

While a version of this is likely not around the corner for you to ship to your non-tech savvy relative it is a good example of how the COVIID-19 lock down is driving technological innovation that was likely needed before but just never understood.