Saturday, June 25, 2022
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The BigPurplePhone is “more than just a phone” for seniors | Lithgow Mercury


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When Libby and James Henderson set out to create a hassle-free smartphone for seniors, they had Australians who felt isolated by technology at the forefront of their minds. The BigPurplePhone was launched by the NSW Southern Highlands couple on April 15, without all of the bells and whistles, to ensure seniors can confidently use it every day. The Bowral-based founders initially came up with the idea when Mrs Henderson’s mother was in hospital and they were unable to visit due to lockdown. Her mother Janette struggled with navigating her phone, especially when the family tried to chat with her via video. Mr Henderson’s expertise as a telecommunications engineer, where he worked in some aged care facilities, was coupled with his wife’s background in digital design, to bring it to fruition. “It’s about looking after people who deserve to be cared about,” Mrs Henderson, the commercial director and co-founder said. The pair were also passionate about designing a straight-forward phone that people with age-related illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease could use. The Nokia phone has essentials like large buttons and digits, an easy-to-use keyboard, a camera, a help line, a secure network with families and friends, a COVID check-in application and a SOS emergency call button. When someone presses the emergency button, it counts down from 15 and then automatically calls Triple Zero and sends a GPS alert to a user’s emergency network. Users can also tap on the phone instead of swiping. This was included because Mrs Henderson saw and heard about seniors “swiping like crazy”, where they got frustrated with their phones. “As we age, our skin becomes more paper-like,” she said. “Touch screens require certain moisture…doesn’t respond well to dry, paper-like skin.” The secure network means users will not be spammed with unknown calls and messages, which reduces frustration and the risk of scams. IN OTHER NEWS: Other features include a button to conduct video calls with instantly, contacts labelled with pictures, a weather checker, pre-set music and radio, a news feature and the ability to use one’s voice to text. For people who would prefer to just make calls and sent texts, there is the “even simpler” BigPurplePhone Lite. Mrs Henderson said this was major piece of feedback the business received when they sent out trial phones in January. Different versions of the phone will be released with additional functions, but BigPurplePhone’s vision to keep in contact with customers and help them every step of the way remains the same. “We stay and nurture customers and look after them,” she said. Staff set up all of the phones and liaise with Telstra to help users with their connections. “It’s so nice to know we can help our customers with that,” the co-founder and commercial director said. “We set out to do something different.” Staff also visit customers locally to show them how to use the BigPurplePhone. “We know there’s plenty of older people like to know there is someone local there,” she said. “[It’s] nice to have feedback one to one [with] customers.” The first round of BigPurplePhones will be dispatched in early June. Phone owners can invite members of their network to access the BigPurplePhone app.

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