Geert Houben
2016, Belgium
The elderly will gain access to support services more easily with his platform, helping to reduce the digital divide
Internet and Web

Europe, Japan and to a lesser degree the United States are all facing the progressive aging of their populations. During the upcoming decades, while the baby boomers reach retirement age, the population pyramid will be turned on its head. According to a report from the European Union, this phenomenon will have grave consequences for the current support systems for the elderly which provide services like medical home visits.

To ensure that the elderly are able to easily access these systems, Geert Houben has created Cubigo, a platform that offers services tailored to the needs of each user. His target audience is comprised of people between the ages of 65 and 75 who continue to live full, independent lives. This initiative placed Houben amongst the winners of MIT Technology Review´s Innovator Under 35 Belgium 2016 awards.

Cubigo has already been provided to institutions that help the elderly to continue to live in their own homes. These are the institutions that, in turn, install the platform on the devices of the elderly and customize their preferences according to their needs. This customization includes access to services aimed at improving quality of life. "Cubigo was born to resolve the basic problems surrounding the care of the elderly through technology," the young, Belgian innovator explains.

"It´s not just a single app, but rather a whole range of services with a unified registry and a similar user interface", Houben points out. Cubigo improves the user experience and helps to span the existing digital divide for the adoption of new technologies by the elderly. Among the services offered there are communication tools for contacting friends and family as well as social and professional healthcare services, for example.

Houben is currently working on the development of an algorithm capable of determining the needs of each user through the available data, which will be launched at year end. "This will allow Cubigo to be distributed directly to the end users," irrespective of whether their institutions or healthcare providers have reached an agreement with the company. Cubigo currently serves more than 20,000 users, but their growth plans are exponential.

In the eyes of the cofounder of m-Spark.org, investor and international digital innovation strategist, in addition to jury member for Innovators Under 35 Belgium 2016, Ferhan Cook, "this project has clearly succeeded in delivering obvious impact."

Text in Spanish from its original source: MIT Technology Review Spanish edition