After a year of development Our Big Box was launched on 6 June, during Dementia Awareness Week, at the Alzheimer Scotland Innovation, Research & Technology conference. We received really encouraging feedback from a very experienced and grounded group of delegates that gave us even more confidence that we are on the right track.
Our Big Box is an online system designed to facilitate conversation and the sharing of stories through reminiscence sessions. One key group of beneficiaries will be those affected by dementia – but reminiscence is just a great way to connect and overcome the social isolation that many people face in their lives.
The system is designed to be easy to use and the idea is simply that family members or carers upload photos into the system and then run reminiscence sessions based on these. Images can also be drawn from other users who have chosen to share their photos or from the range digital archives that we are currently working with.
At moment Our Big Box works with photos, which are often the best stimuli for conversation, but over time we will include audio and video. We are working with a large number of content providers including digital archives and plan to include this functionality in the next major release of the system.
The intelligence of our software and the social network that will be built around Our Big Box will be crucial success factors. Users of the system can choose to keep photos private if they are personal or share them if they think they might be useful or interesting to others. The system is designed to identify patterns, learn from what works and then suggest content that might help stimulate conversations.
It’s Completely Free!
Hard to believe in the digital world where ‘free’ usually means for a limited period or you get a cut down version of the software or even worse free until you really need it then we will start charging. The Memory Box Network is the registered charity behind the system and the intention is that Our Big Box will be completely free to use for all. We are planning on the basis that we will be self-funding within three years based on donations from people using Our Big Box and appreciating its value. We have plans to develop some tools to support care home users to manage multiple accounts and we may charge a small fee for those who choose to opt into this additional service.
Having raised funding to get to this stage from Nominet Trust and others we now need to raise enough further develop the system and get Our Big Box out to every family that needs it wherever in the world they live. Sign-up for an account today and start sharing those stories with your loved ones.