Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Ray Sheriff

University of Bradford, United Kingdom


Ray E. Sheriff is Professor of Electronic Engineering at University of Bradford, where he received his PhD in 1995 and MBA in 2010. He received his BEng (Hons) degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from University of Leeds in 1986. Upon graduation, Prof. Sheriff worked in the satellite communications industry before joining University of Bradford as a lecturer in 1991. His research interests include mobile and satellite communications, with an emphasis on network layer solutions. He has participated on a number of large-scale, multi-organisational telecommunications research projects, principally funded under the EC's Framework Programmes. Under the UK's research framework, he was co-investigator on the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded Village eScience for Life (VeSel) project, which considered how wireless sensors and Internet technology could be used to improve the quality of life of Kenyan rural farming communities. He has previously played a lead role in the EC's Satellite Communications Network of Excellence (SatNEX). He is a Visiting Professor at Sichuan University and co-Director of the University of Bradford-Sichuan University Joint Innovation Laboratory on Advanced Communications and Signal Processing Technologies. In collaboration with Sichuan University, he recently organised Workshops in Chengdu (2016) and Bradford (2017) for early career researchers on the Employment of ICT in Cities and Homes for the Health and Wellbeing of Older People. He recently concluded a decade's membership of EPSRC's Peer Review College and is now a member of the British Council Newton Fund Engineering and Physical Sciences Researcher Links and Institutional Links Review Panel. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Satellite Communications and Networking, a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Speech Title

Employing Communication Technology in Future Cities for the Health and Well-Being of Older People



Future cities in China, the UK and around the world face an ever increasing challenge in ensuring the health and well-being of their growing ageing populations. One consequence of the ageing demographic is the rising number of people with dementia, a progressive neurological disorder, the symptoms of which vary from person to person and may include short-term memory loss, confusion in unfamiliar environments and difficulties in communicating. The disease globally affects an estimated 44 million people, and is set to grow to 135 million by 2050, according to Alzheimer's Disease International. In the UK, there are around 850,000 people with dementia; in China, 9 million people have the disease. Countries like China, United States and the UK are now targeting dementia for significant research investment, by exploiting the opportunities made available by advances in information and communication technology. For example, the Chinese government has committed to invest in technology for healthcare products and services in its ‘National Planning Guideline for the Healthcare Service System (2015-2020)’. In the UK, the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia-Friendly Technology Charter states that every person with dementia should have the opportunity to benefit from technology appropriate to their needs.
The supply of efficient, personal and cost-effective support to meet the growing demands from older people with dementia and other age-related illnesses is vital if our future cities are to provide an inclusive living environment for all members of society.  In this respect, technology can provide a step-change in how older people with dementia and their families and carers are able to deal with the everyday challenges posed by the disease. There has been, in recent years, steady progression in the use of assistive technologies about the home, including sensors and monitoring devices for safety features. However, the use of technology to support the older population, and specifically those with dementia, in the outdoors, where older people may feel most vulnerable, remains underexploited, even though a widely-deployed, advanced communication technology infrastructure makes this now a tangible possibility.

This presentation will consider how the opportunities made available through the use of broadband communications, smart mobile applications, big data and the Internet of Things may be exploited for innovative use in indoor and outdoor environments for the health and well-being of older people. In doing so, the presentation will be informed by the outcomes from two interdisciplinary UK-China Workshops, co-organised by Sichuan University and University of Bradford, which were held in 2016 and 2017, in Chengdu and Bradford, respectively. The 3-day workshops enabled in the region of 40 early career researchers, together with experienced mentors from the UK and China, to present their work and develop ideas for inter-disciplinary research in the use of communications technology for the health and well-being of older people, made possible with the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and British Council Newton Fund. .