First phase of the technological system testing concluded in Caritas Coimbra, promising to enhance the wellbeing and productivity of 55+ workers

The prototype of the SmartWork system under development in Horizon 2020 project was tested at Caritas Coimbra (CDC) between 1 October 2020 and 15 January 2021. The aim of the SmartWork artificial intelligence-based system is to monitor and improve the wellbeing and work sustainability of employees over 55 years of age in the office setting. 

Ten workers from the target group participated in this pre-pilot, which took place only in Portugal. These employees work in various areas of intervention: Children and Young People, Older people, Social Inclusion, among others. 2 of the service managers from these locations were involved, as well as 2 of the participants’ family members. 

The objective of the pre-pilot was to listen to the end-users’ and understanding their perspective on the system’s usefulness, usability and reliability. Some services and devices were installed on their computers and work phones. This way the employees were able to access some of their physiological parameters: number of steps walked a day, heart rate, quality of sleep, among others. They were also able to interact in a personalized way with the virtual assistant “Amelia”, from which they received personalized recommendations that should ultimately enhance their quality of life and wellbeing both in their work-life and personal life. Other features were also made available to participants: air quality meter, noise meter or environmental comfort in the workspace, feature to change the size of characters and icons, text-to-speech readers and other personalized settings. 

The results of this pre-pilot are being collected and organized and they will be shared with the technological partners, so they can update the system according to the suggestions and preferences expressed by the participants of test at Caritas Coimbra. This way, the system will be more user-friendly, intuitive, appealing, practical and effective. 

The pre-pilots were possible thanks to the availability and commitment of each of the participants, whose valuable contribution will be essential to adapt this solution to the real needs of the users. Also, the support of Instituto Pedro Nunes in the technological implementation of the solution, through its Laboratory for Automation and Systems proved to be fundamental in this process. 

Starting in April 2021, a larger scale pilot will be implemented in Portugal (Caritas Coimbra) and Denmark (Centre for Assisted Living Technology) for six months, to test the final version of the SmartWork system. It will involve 60 workers from the target group of 55+, as well as their family members and service managers. This new version of the system should be completer and more integrated, contributing not only to the functional, cognitive and emotional balance of the employees but also supporting effective team management. This will be accomplished by the solutions to support task management and training actions. Finally, a complementary support service will also be made available for close family members. This service will help to address some concerns regarding informal care. 

The expectation is that this innovative system can function, in the future, as an incentive and effective support to the daily fulfilment of the mission of Caritas Coimbra. 

Additional information about the Smartwork project is available at