S5GC Innovation Challenge Winner Spotlight – Care Reality
“Our objective is to accelerate the potential for the South of Scotland to be an innovation hub, close the growing demand gap in social care training and assessment, improve retention and enhance skills which ultimately improve the care people receive when they need it, now and for the future. “
Our inaugural innovation challenge focusing on ‘Shaping Digital Health & Social Care’ is now well underway at S5GConnect Dumfries, our rural hub based on the Crichton Campus.
Care Reality, one of the three challenge winners, are building the world’s first virtual reality training platform for adult social care, providing essential clinical skills training using the end-user virtual reality platform.
Aiming to transform learning within adult social care, utilising 5G and bringing together immersive technological expertise, Care Reality’s platform will improve the user experience through 5G remote data-streaming, enabling a new level of realism and high fidelity within a standalone VR headset regardless of the physical location of the user.
We spoke to Ross Toomer, Founder of Care Reality about applying to the Innovation Challenge and shaping digital healthcare.
1. Why are you interested in shaping digital health and care?
To put it simply, we have a truly ambitious desire to shape and improve access to knowledge and skills using immersive technology. There is a need to redefine the way in which immersive technology can support and transform learning and skills across health and social care.
We are a team of like-minded, tech savvy, passionate people who all have a strong moral commitment to make a change. In fact, some of us are carers to our own family, one of us previously worked in the NHS, a member of our team has immediate family in a frontline health and social care role looking after people who need it most and one of us committed years and years of painstaking research to become a leading authority and attained a PhD on immersive technology for therapeutic interventions.
We are not just another software development company, we are Care Reality. The name says it all.
2. What’s the company’s greatest achievement and why?
We have two.
First, finding and convincing this hugely talented team to come and join a start-up is truly humbling. The fact they come to work every day with so much passion and innovation makes everything possible.
Secondly, In 2021, and during the second wave of the pandemic, we applied for the Scottish Government’s CivTech 6 Accelerator Programme. After a competitive process we were successful and accepted onto the programme. Six months later we turned an idea into a product and with the support and guidance of the CivTech team, our challenge sponsors and each other, we successfully launched our business at the CivTech Demo Day in February of this year.
We received supporting messages from companies as far away as South America, most importantly we received feedback from those people working in the health and social care sector thanking us for putting them centre stage, via proxy, within such a large tech arena typically focused on everything but care. From an idea to launching a business at Demo Day and now really pushing the boundaries of 5G and immersive learning, this journey has been our greatest achievement to date – however, we guarantee we will have many more to celebrate!
3. As a winner, how will the innovation challenge support you in reaching your business goals?
We will be able to enhance our software development, explore and better understand data streaming – giving us significant experience, and a knowledge advantage for when 5G is widely rolled out.
As a winner, this challenge will help us exceed our technological goals – with access to The Scotland 5G Centre, Scottish Care and NHS Dumfries & Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, we are now speaking with the right people, showcasing our idea but also carefully listening so we capture the voice of the sector and design our interventions in a manner that truly reflects users needs.
Ultimately, this innovation challenge enables us improve patient outcomes through better training and assessment via increased adoption of immersive technology. Making this happen seamlessly, without running out of storage space, in an untethered wearable headsets is not easy, but by utilising 5G and data streaming we can make immersive mobile VR a reality.