The uncomplicated app against loneliness and for direct communication with relatives or caregivers.
my name is Giovanna Ratini and I have been working in the beautiful Constance on the Lake Bodensee in the IT area since many years.
my name is Lorenzo Fritzsch, I am a Java developer and live in northern Italy.
Lorenzo and I are both founders of the start-up ProXimo-WSD, with the aim of facilitating people’s access to the new possibilities of digital communication and new media.
Why another app? Because it didn't exist.
I (Giovanna) wanted to make video calls with my mother in Bremen one day. Everything was there, iPhone, PCs, Skype. For me and my friends everything was not a problem, but it was a problem for my mother. Terms such as: “swipe up”, “press home button”, “go home” are now part of our general vocabulary, but not to the vocabulary of my mother and many other people. For example, dealing with WhatsApp is difficult when there is no affinity for the new technologies.
A short time later, my mother fell ill with Alzheimer’s disease. Now it became all the more important for me to communicate with her and see her from a distance, but it went less than ever. The technology was there, but not accessible to my mother. Time passed, my mother moved in 2009. Even when she lived with us, it would have been great to see her and talk to her briefly while I was at work, without anyone having to take the listener off for her.
Even then, I thought a lot about a simple solution. I knew exactly what I needed. Through many years of experience with elderly people, I saw where the difficulties laid. But everything remained only a vague idea; I didn’t have a proper plan to accomplish this idea. One evening at the regular table meeting of Cyberlago in Konstanz, the right people were simply there, so that in the conversation the plan took shape in my head.
Was the idea feasible? Yes.
The first step was to develop a prototype. The comments from programmers I contacted were: the app is “too easy,” it “does too little,” “the possibilities of the tablet are not exhausted”, “it’s more possible”.
But my ideas were different. I knew what kind of app I required for my mother; I stayed on and needed some attempts. Finally, I met the app programmer Lorenzo on the Internet. He immediately understood what I wanted and was enthusiastic about the idea. The development of a prototype app started.
Where does the name ELENA come from?
The second step was to acquire the knowledge of the prerequisites for starting a business. With the Hackandharvest event Cyberlago in Konstanz offers an ideal platform to learn this and meet mentors. I might/must read paragraphs and understand what an “elevator pitch” is, and much more, and more is ahead of me. Of course, there was a lot in between, including my mother’s death. Everything wasn’t as easy as I had imagined. The startup ProXimo-WSD was “born”. However, the name of the app should be simpler. I named her after my mother “Elena”, because she has given me and my sister a passion for the modern media and because she has taught us a lot of what a person with Alzheimer’s needs. If Elena were still with us today, she would certainly be happy to be able to communicate with her two daughters, also out of involuntary isolation, such as through Corona-Virus, so easily via a tablet.
Has ELENA-App proven its worth? Yes, both in private households and in nursing homes for the elderly.
The third step was to develop a prototype. That is what we did. We have installed ELENA-App in both a nursing home for the elderly and in private homes. The use of ELENA-App has proven itself optimally in practice testing. The positive feedback from test users gives us confidence that you too, especially now in these times, will be thrilled by the simplicity of this app. Our price model is moderate, and the quality of life gained for your relatives increases significantly. And you feel much more secure thanks to the direct contact option. Below some customer opinions.
On what did we set value? The easy appliance.
The fourth step was to incorporate the feedback from the test users.
ELENA-App makes it possible to communicate easily and quickly with relatives and other important reference persons via video telephony. We have put a lot of emphasis on the fact that ELENA-App is also a help for the families who have to deal with demented relatives. That is why we developed the auto answer function. Even if the loved one can no longer tap the picture, the relatives or other important caregivers can speak to the sick person and see her/him.
ELENA-App Free is now available in Google Play!
Many people have already been involved in this project and now we are ready to the fifth step: we provide the basic version of ELENA-App, which is available for free download, we contact retirement homes and provide good documentation, which is not necessary for operation, but only for configuration.