For the last few weeks we’ve been trialling the latest revision of the Kraydel hardware and software with some marvellous, helpful, inquisitive and adventurous residents of two of the Tafta facilities in South Africa. Tafta (The Association for the Aged) is a wonderful organisation that provides retirement homes and frail care for over 30,000 people in Durban.

Kraydel Pioneers

It’s been a great opportunity for us to do things in the “real world” where not surprisingly more things go wrong than they do on the work bench in our office. The trials continue but already we’ve learned interesting things about how long cables really need to be,  how early people in South Africa get up in the morning (crazy early), how often the electricity goes off (load shedding), just how quiet is the night-time and how much heat a TV can generate.

All of this stuff is being factored into our new designs and we’re very grateful to our patient and supportive “technology pioneers” who welcomed us into their homes on several occasions, were friendly and interested and put up with us blocking their view of TV for long periods while we scratched our heads and figured out if something was really broken or just not adjusted properly.

I lost a couple of pounds (which I can well do without) stressing over the devices and the challenges of network connectivity in South Africa (it takes a while to download a 2GB image update over a 2Mbps wifi connection that keeps dropping). Was also not expecting 5 days of torrential rain which left all my clothing damp. Overall, an invaluable experience and a genuine pleasure to spend time with so many nice people.