What inspired us?
- Senior citizens suffering from loneliness during the COVID-19 Crisis
- Mental health of many in society impacted due to isolation
- This cause hits close to home for us due to experiences with our grandparents.
- Musicians with lost revenue - Hearing from London based Opera Tenor, Samuel Sakker, who even suggested that musicians like him were reduced to an ‘elite form of begging’.
- The transformative power of music for the elderly
What did we learn?
- Much of the existing technology for music streaming tends to be inaccessible for the elderly
- Research reveals the positive impact of music on mental and physical health.
- From speaking to friends and family, as well as local aged care homes, loneliness and isolation seems to be felt more than ever during this pandemic.
- As we spoke with local musicians, we learnt they feel demoralized from the big hit their industry has taken and are eager to try new easy-to-access revenue streams
How did we build our service?
We performed market research through cold calling local aged care homes and talking with seniors such as neighbors and family members. We also reached out to the wider elderly community via Facebook groups and collected data through an online questionnaire.
Speaking to a care manager at an aged care home in the UK, allowed us to see that for the average care home, even before the crisis began, live entertainment was simply too expensive to support routinely. They also indicated, however, that the prospect of cheaper live entertainment through online platforms seemed to be favored.
Learning from this, and after discussing our ideas and customer research with several experienced and well-established mentors, we decided to initially direct our application to ‘elite’ aged care homes, that would usually have a budget assigned to routine live entertainment for their residents. Introducing our application to this relatively niche market (our ‘Early Adopters’) would allow our application to improve and serve the elderly better. It would also help us to build a rapport with our customers and users, enabling the application to expand to a wider variety of aged care homes and eventually seniors in independent living. Thereby, getting closer to our goal of serving the entire elderly community and bringing back that zest for life, especially in times like this.
We also found, after interviewing several local musicians, that musicians were looking for a platform where they were able to easily perform without being weighed down by technical issues. By handling the recording equipment, streaming platform and communications with Aged Care Providers, we are able to make the work of artists as simple as possible, therefore adding value to both sides of this marketplace.
Our user interface (UI) is aimed at making the application as easy to use as possible. Because we are geared towards higher-end age care homes, we have put a system which has two different UI - one meant for staff members to have access to resident apps within the same operating system and stream entertainment directly onto their devices (TV, tablet or smart phone). Our resident UI is geared towards simplicity and is meant to mimic an item that most senior residents could have a reference to, the radio. As soon as a user clicks on the resident button the device will remember their selection and gear the app towards our simple interface. The app will automatically start playing a standard station such as classical, blues, or jazz and the user can choose to go to the next station. If help is needed, there is a help button that can connect the resident to the staff device.
What were the key challenges we faced?
We needed to make the app simple and user friendly, which meant that we needed to understand that even buttons that we found intuitive, may not be as intuitive from the perspective of an elderly person.
Deciding whether to gear the app towards the overall elderly market or to the private aged care facilities was an issue up until the second last day. We decided to go with Aged Care Homes because they would have the proper assistance to help with the app set-up and we believe that this market already had a need for performances which has been reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout all of our challenges, everybody in the group stepped up and assisted in any way they could which helped the team move forward.
Our journey lead us to ‘YesterHear’.
YesterHear : The Best Music from Yesteryear
YesterHear is bringing the joy of concert halls back to seniors' lives!
We've volunteered at Aged Care Centers and witnessed first hand the phenomenal effect performances can have on the elderly. But don't just take our word for it, there's a wealth of research into the astonishing effects of music on seniors suffering from conditions such as dementia, depression and mobility loss - as well as on generally improving their well-being
At best, Aged Care Homes are able to bring in performers 2 or 3 times a week. But since the COVID-19 crisis, this has become nearly impossible. At the same time, the performing arts sector has also been devastated by the crisis. Although this has actually created an opportunity since many artists have pivoted into creating digital content such as live-streams. Unfortunately, the seniors we interviewed struggled to access this content due to technological barriers. So that's where YesterHear comes in - we're creating an easy to use platform that links seniors with engaging performance experiences.
Our app and web-page will contain performances from a range of genres, specifically curated for the interests of seniors. YesterHear's simplified interface allows carers to set up the videos for residents to enjoy. The platform also uses AI to recommend the performances we think they'll love.
Our primary customers are private and higher-end Aged Care Centers. Market research revealed that activities coordinators here have the budget available for more regular resident entertainment if it was delivered online. Our 'Muso' package gets users hooked on our more user-friendly and tailored platform relative to other streaming sites. Care providers can then choose from the 'Virtuoso' plan which unlocks all pre-recorded content or 'Maestro' which includes additional live streams. We also offer customized private live-streams.
We can't wait to bring the joy of music back into the lives of our most treasured but also most vulnerable community members and we hope you'll join us in this project!