Tech City: Video-calling product even tested by the Queen is transforming healthcare

Adi, Matt and Ewan with the newest addition to their team, Calum

Adi, Matt and Ewan with the newest addition to their team, Calum - Credit: CLIVE N TOTMAN

Three young entrepreneurs who are transforming how older people interact with technology with a product which has even been tested by the Queen are ready to break into the global market.

Tech City boys Adi Kasliwal, Matt Simmonds and Ewan Marshall, of Beech Street, developed a video-calling gadget last year to help people keep in touch with their loved ones.

But since then ‘Speakset’ has been endorsed by carers, befriending services and the NHS for how easy it is to use for also reaching housebound and vulnerable people.

Speakset was even tested by the Queen on the eve of Price Philip’s 93rd birthday during an event at Buckingham Palace to celebrate technology.

Adi said: “Our grant funders, the Nominet Trust, were invited to the first ever ‘tech do’ at Buckingham Palace. They were given the option to pick one of their companies to go with them and they selected us.

“We did a video call from the Palace, with the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Andrew to one of our users at home, John, who was recovering from a hip replacement.”

Adi said the idea for Speakset came from seeing the difficulties grandparents face trying to connect with family and friends.

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He said: “Ewan lives with his grandparents and he saw problems every day. We knew that we could build technology to help them.”

SpeakSet, unlike other video calling technology, has been designed specifically with older people in mind.

Through research workshops all over the country the trio realised that many people found Skype hard to use.

Whereas SpeakSet plugs into a television, so it is universally accessible, controlled by a simple remote.

Adi said: “It is really clear that isolation is a massive problem and has so many implications on health.

“For older people receiving care from the comfort of their own home it also reduces the time spent in hospital.”

He added: “GPs can use it within healthcare and there are massive opportunities to come out of that. A personal highlight for me is that we are being known as people who innovate well in healthcare and people are recognising that we are pushing change.”

Adi also spends time as a mentor at fellow Tech City company LaunchPad Labs, and said he enjoyed working in the district. He said: “Everything is really well connected. We can make stuff happen really quickly with all of the right people around us. From when we were starting through to now it’s been really easy to find advice.

“Now we are experiencing a lot more growth, and where before we were fairly controlled and making sure we were getting it right, we are now at the point where we can put the foot down and really go much, much faster.”

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