Case Study - Assisted Living: ADL Smartcare - Decision Support Systems

Business opportunity

ADL Smartcare Limited is an SME that develops decision support systems principally for health and social care. Providing services to around two dozen health and social care providers in the UK. It is at the forefront of state-of-the-art tools drawing particularly on advanced scientific and engineering understanding to underpin its tools. The development of science and engineering-based tools has ensured its position as the market leader.

Most of the company’s efforts go into developing and maintaining its operational systems, however in partnership with key customers it continues to pursue new tools – many of which fall outside of its core skill base. In fact many future customer requirements present significant technical challenges.

Although the company is starting to build a research capability, this is at a very early stage. Drawing on expertise from the University is seen as a way of researching and developing new technologies at the fastest rate.


Initially the company started with a Collaborative Innovation Partnership (CIP) to explore a new technical possibility. This required a small investment well within the means of even the smallest company.

However the technical problems have proved harder than originally foreseen and this has led to the submission of a full Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with a particular group of experts who it’s believed will be able to resolve the technical challenges which need to be addressed for the next generation of tools.


ADL Smartcare’s market is targeted at helping older people remain independent, and assisting the support services to enable that. Health and Social Care budgets will inevitably come under increasing pressure to find new ways of working that cut costs and improve efficiency.

The company’s application of technology in this area has already led to savings of around £5 saved for every £1 spent, leading to very rapid expansion in a new and emerging market. Being the market leader in its field, it is crucial to the company’s continued rapid growth and leading position in the market, that it is able to access research capability as quickly as possible.

Collaboration with the University allows it to grow its market much more quickly (and cost-effectively) than if it had to develop all of the technologies in house.

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