Following the events of last year, it’s clear that technology has played a vital role in keeping us together

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Peter Marsden, Managing Director of Doro UK and Ireland explains

Following the events of last year, connectivity has become more important than ever. Whether communicating with our loved ones in person, via video calls, texts or social media, it’s clear that technology has played a vital role in keeping us together.

If you are unfamiliar with Doro, it’s a technology company which prides itself on providing products and services tailored specifically to the needs of seniors. The company has now been operating for the last 45 years, with its head office located in Sweden.

Doro’s aim is to ensure older users can continue to live an active life whilst remaining independent and connected.  We started off by offering answering machines. Since then, we have evolved to offer an extensive range of smartphones, mobile phones and home devices and services.

While our devices cater for a spectrum of different needs and requirements, it’s important to clarify that not all older users require overly simplified phones with fewer features than your typical device. And during the pandemic, with seniors spending more time at home, many have become more confident using technology.

We certainly put a huge amount of time and attention into each handset to ensure they are as easy-to-use as possible but recognise that features – from the latest apps to sleek design components – are just as important to some of our users. Particularly among those who favour our range of smartphones.

Many of our handsets still offer our users access to applications that are available on any other phone. On smartphones, such as the Doro 8050 and Doro 8080, this is done through the Google Play Store where you can download next to anything, including games and social media apps. Additionally, on our clamshell feature phones, including the Doro 7010 and Doro 7080, messaging apps, Facebook and WhatsApp can be accessed – widening the number of communication platforms available to the user.

These applications are presented in a very inclusive, easy-to-navigate manner and are complemented by the specialist features that our Doro phones come equipped with.

We recognise that as we get older, our hearing, vision and dexterity often begin to worsen. To alleviate these issues, we make incredibly measured decisions on mobile phone features such as audio quality – tuning the audio on the device to compensate for any potential loss of hearing.

For those who may need glasses or often struggle to read screens, we ensure the iconography we use is clear and that the font size is adjustable. We also offer specialised colour settings and, on our smartphones, an intuitive UI which makes actions like sending a text or accessing photos easier than ever. Ultimately, we take away a lot of the complexity, but present our users with the technology to make sure that they can really get the full experience from their device.

Striking the right balance between implementing the latest innovations and creating specialised features that the normal mobile phone user may be oblivious to is something we pay close attention to with these devices.

When it comes to the latest developments, for many people – Doro users or otherwise – voice-to-text is something more of us are exploring and using in our everyday life. At Doro, a lot of what we do is centred around customer feedback and, recently we’ve had friends and families of customers saying that this feature has changed the way they communicate. Having once only received three words, they’re now being sent paragraphs from their senior loved one.

And the technology is only getting better. The accuracy of voice-to-text is constantly improving, and we’re thrilled to see that people are really embracing the technology.

In addition to smartphones, Doro also offers a range of feature phones – these are what many people would consider simpler, more traditional devices, with physical buttons and no touchscreen. They come in both clamshell and candy bar designs – perfect for those who aren’t quite ready for a smartphone – matching the needs of many of our audience very well.

At Doro, we also recognise the importance of care and the heightened role that technology plays in levelling-up the experience for seniors and loved ones. Whether the answers are tied directly into our mobile phone offering or independent solutions, we’re constantly exploring ways in which we can improve the quality of life for our users.

The last 12 months have really highlighted the need for greater communication between the senior and their loved ones, or what we call the ‘Circle of Care’.

On our most recent podcast episode which is available below, we spoke about how independence is crucial for older citizens, which is why Doro has placed a particular focus on elevating its offering when it comes to remote assistance and care.

One such service that aims to provide Doro users and their loved ones with added security and peace of mind, is Response by Doro. The free-to-use service allows an unlimited number of a senior’s phone contacts to receive an instant notification during an emergency once the Response button, located on the back of every Doro phone, is pressed.

Ever since the company launched its first mobile phone in 2007, the Doro Response button has always been a signature feature. Through the launch of Response by Doro, we look to boost the functionality of this unique feature on all compatible handsets.

Also, for those living alone or in care homes and retirement communities, we offer in-home solutions that incorporate our unique Response by Doro feature. For example, if someone were to fall or feel unwell, if they’re wearing their Pendant or Doro Care device, at the press of a button they can be quickly connected to our call centres where trained advisors can assess the level of help and support they need.

To take the support capabilities of Doro phones that step further, we have also built remote assistance features into our handsets, which are accessible via the Response by Doro app. This allows family members to help with small setting adjustments, like turning the volume up/down or changing the font size, without needing to be there in person. Throughout the pandemic, this has been a very valuable tool for many users.

With many of our customers’ having become more home-based in the past year, we’ve found that their confidence in using tech has grown, and it’s great to see customers benefiting from using our devices and services.

With Covid restrictions beginning to ease, we’re excited to see what the future holds once senior citizens are able to step out of their homes and resume their normal routines – hopefully with their Doro device by their side.

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Senior Times also publishes Senior Times magazine and are producers of the SeniorTimes Podcasts. They are also organisers of the 50 Plus Expo’s run throughout the country

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