Considering independence and dignity in the architecture of storing valuable life information

Writers: Kari Bäckman and Thaís Mikkola

Happy old couple

The future of our health, wellbeing and the automotive industry is increasingly entrusted to intelligent, sophisticated solutions that help people to make educated decisions for themselves and their loved ones. However, as information and communication technology services advance, many contemporary concerns about digital independence and data privacy have arisen.

In the Next Perception project, we seek to develop tools and advance knowledge to facilitate proactive decision-making within a safe and trustworthy environment. We have a fantastic opportunity to take part in the Next Perception project and collaborate with forward-thinking organisations and universities to write a new chapter in the fields of health, wellbeing, and the automotive industry. The project brings experts together to share knowledge and build the next-generation smart perception sensors, which have the potential to contribute positively across sectors.

We at Benete are dedicated to sharing our expertise in wellbeing analytics to analyse people’s daily activities securely and to better understand their health parameters and behaviour in various ways. Our holistic way of analysing people’s lives can help care providers stay attentive to changes in their patients’ conditions. By closely monitoring the progression of those symptoms, they can predict when a patient will require additional treatment and use that knowledge to tailor better care pathways.

Changes in a person’s abilities are rarely monitored or properly recorded before a diagnosis is made. Even with routine consultations, the challenge of producing satisfactory results responsive to continuous changes in cognitive and functional abilities can persist. In most cases, this results in long-lasting processes until care professionals can adjust the treatment plan to meet their unique needs.

With the assistance of new types of services, it will be possible to detect functional and memory disorders earlier and take preventive actions. These services provide you with knowledge about your life. Understanding your way of living and its patterns is the key to a valuable life. Even slight adjustments to daily routines can help prevent unfavourable outcomes and improve your quality of life.

New technologies can sometimes be intimidating and foreign to people. Yet, today, a growing number of devices, ranging from household appliances to healthcare devices, are being developed to improve our daily lives and provide a better service experience for users. For example, data from automobiles can be further used to enhance the driving experience and make overall traffic safer. However, this new type of data collection places high requirements on the used technology. The services should incorporate security by design and default, ensuring the person remains in control of their collected data at all times. People are the owners of their data and should be able to exercise complete control over it.

The big question is how do we maintain independence and dignity in the architecture of storing valuable life information? In the design of system architecture and data structures, it is critical to find the most efficient ways to ingest data while maintaining the highest level of privacy and security. Another important consideration is that technical structures should situate data processing algorithms as close to the subject as possible — a significant discussion point of the Next Perception research project. In this scenario, data structures and information architectures become the heart of the whole data processing service, particularly when storing and processing people’s life data and other sensitive information.

When dealing with personal data, and especially seniors’ data, taking care of technical structures is not enough. With age our capabilities to understand why and how data is collected about us gets all the time harder to grasp. What can I do with my data and what can the others do? How can I know who’s doing what with it? MyData principles and tools bring a person back in control of the data that is gathered and generated about her. You own your life data, and you should have full control over it. This requires that the technology used for data collection is private and secure by design and default.

This week we celebrate Finnish Independence Day the 6th of December. Independence is often coupled with physical integrity. When you think more about it, it is a feeling that the citizens have when knowing that their lives are secured, and their wellbeing is supported. A human, an elderly in particular, has limited resources and maybe not even the cognitive capability to protect herself when being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. Even harder, if not impossible, it is to be safe against any attempts to jeopardise the individual’s independence regarding the data about her.

Accessibility and a sense of security are not a goal only for physical environments but also for data. In the Next Perception project, we are focusing on understanding the criticality of the processed information and researching for ways beyond the state-of-the-art to keep everyone’s data as secure as it can be and as accessible as possible.

For more information, please contact Kari Bäckman ( or visit our website