News Release

Autonomous Living Project leverages Cisco technology to help those with diverse abilities live independently

News Summary: New pilot scales developmental services
Nov 08, 2021

News Summary:

  • New pilot scales developmental services delivery to support more people with developmental disabilities to live autonomously
  • Remote monitoring, smart notifications, alert services, and smart device integration will provide in-home support via customizable Webex by Cisco technology and Meraki sensors
  • Through web and mobile, communications are targeted to different audiences including users, family members and caregivers

TORONTO, ON, November 8, 2021 - Today, Cisco Canada in partnership with  York Support Services NetworkReena, META, CLASS, and Creating Alternatives announce the Autonomous Living Project (ALP), a mobile web application and web-based platform designed to enhance autonomous living for people in Ontario with diverse abilities. Through remote monitoring, smart notifications, alert services, and smart device integration, users will receive in-home support via customized Cisco technology to help them live independently. The pilot is currently being beta tested at Reena’s Lou Fruitman Residence and will launch to a wider audience in the spring of 2022.

The ALP offers a range of functions to support and enhance autonomous daily living for users with developmental disabilities. These include the ability to create reminders and routines for users, daily meal planning and recipes, and critical monitoring services including overall health, needed resources, or even emergency care. For example, if the user has left the fridge door open or if the tap has been left to run, a sensor will alert them or a family member/caregiver.

“We have a significant opportunity to better include, support and empower those living with diverse abilities by leveraging the power of technology,” said Shannon Leininger, President, Cisco Canada. “Technology can be the enabler for better outcomes for all, and the potential is immeasurable for the Autonomous Living Project to scale and build capacity in developmental services delivery while transforming the lives of the users, families and caregivers.”

Autonomous Living Project Platform Features

The Autonomous Living Project’s platform provides a unique interface and delivers targeted communications to different audiences including users, family members and caregivers. Built on Webex by Cisco collaboration technology – which provides extended security options, advanced privacy features, and built-in compliance options for industry and regional requirements – the platform can be customized to offer a wide range of connection, tracking, and guidance, tailoring the experience directly to each audience’s needs.

  • The web application provides users with connections to family members and caregivers via easy-to-use, high-quality, and secure integrated video call. Users will be able to view and track their tasks and routines, set alerts and reminders, track their daily moods, manage their grocery lists and access emergency support and welfare checks, among other capabilities.
  • The mobile app provides users the ability to view and track their tasks and routines, set push notifications and reminders, access emergency support and welfare checks, and call friends and families anywhere and anytime.
  • Meraki sensors built into residential units will alert users, family members or caregivers when doors open or close, when water is left running, the fridge door is left open, fluctuations in temperature/humidity and movement in the space to support overnight care.  

“The Autonomous Living Project is shifting the landscape of possibilities for those with diverse abilities and their families,” said Bryan Keshen, CEO, Reena. “Our collective efforts to launch this pilot have focused on putting the experience of the user first and foremost. Cisco’s collaboration technology is fully integrated into users’ daily routines, allowing increased self-reliance and a movement to full citizenship and community inclusion. We’re excited to see the potential of this pilot fully realized by offering more people more independence.”

This pilot is funded by an investment from Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration Program, which helps fuel innovation across private and public sectors to build sustainable, secure, and inclusive communities powered by ethical and scalable technology solutions.

The ALP has the potential to positively impact more than 300,000 adults in Ontario living with some level of intellectual disability, along with their families, caregivers, and communities. With a focus on providing adaptive, personalized, and user-centric tools that empower users to gain more autonomy, the ALP further supports caregivers and families in a way that suits them best, creating an inclusive future for all.

About Reena

Reena promotes dignity, individuality, independence, personal growth and community inclusion for people with diverse abilities within a framework of Jewish culture and values. Reena was established in 1973 by parents of children with developmental disabilities as a practical alternative to institutions.  

Since that time, Reena has grown to provide support for 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Supports that include housing, community participation activities, enrichment programs, employment supports, summer camps and more. For more information, please visit  

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Briar Wells