The Starling Hackathon last weekend proved a big success with many inspiring ideas coming out of the participants — from Messenger chatbots to spending incentive tools. But it was duo Rodney Hoinkes of MABLE and Wayne Blacklock from ForgeRock who took the top prize for their creation MABLE Fincare: helping people under care and their carers manage their finances.
We talked to Rodney to find out what he and Wayne do, a deeper dive into the MABLE Fincare concept and what their Starling Hackathon experience was like.
What does MABLE do?
MABLE is a healthTech startup developing a next-generation applications improving quality of life for those with mental and cognitive challenges and their carers. Our initial focus is upon older adults, people under care, and their family carers. These applications use ambient monitoring, AI and machine learning to provide practical evidence-based recommendations to the users, facilitating improved contact, reducing stress, depression, loneliness, and anxiety.
And what is the “Forge” part of MABLE Forge?
Forge comes from ForgeRock, the digital identity management company that Wayne Blacklock works for, and provider of several pieces of core identity and workflow components we used to deliver MABLE FinCare securely and rapidly. The ForgeRock Identity Platform helps leading digital organizations to build trusted, personalized relationships with their customers, secure the internet of things, and protect personal data privacy.
Why was your partnership at the Starling Hackathon such a good fit?
Wayne and I had an excellent discussion about the role of the human, with emotional and cognitive challenges in banking. We clearly shared a passion for the topic and challenges and as we explored our technical skills, we also found a perfect synergistic combination (Wayne with Back-end infrastructure, myself with Front-end and AI/ML) that could be leveraged to realise upon the shared ideas in the short timeframe of a hackathon.
Tell us a little about what you built and why you chose to build it.
MABLE FinCare is a concept of how people under care and their family carers could manage financial affairs in a safe, stress-free, and robust manner. It monitors and adapts to the emotional and cognitive needs of its users which otherwise introduce excessive financial risk, complexity, and resultant stress.
MABLE has been building a rich capability of emotional, behavioural and cognitive monitoring, with a first focus upon supporting those involved in care scenarios. Our primary focus has been upon older adults including those with dementia and their family carers. MABLE supports their care interactions, and through ambient monitoring provides useful tools and recommendations to improve the quality of life of all parties.
ForgeRock helps organisations to the secure the digital identities of people, devices, and IoT. Its core technologies support the modelling of sophisticated relationships and supporting communications. The carer relationships that are the target of MABLE are ideally services by these tools.
MABLE FinCare includes supports Just-In-Time (“JIT”) Banking that allows more vulnerable people to meet their financial needs while protecting their core accounts from external fraud, abuse, or error due to diminished capability. Most of the time MABLE FinCare automatically manages the needed transactions while keeping all participants aware of any changing needs or patterns. When judgement is required, it automatically seeks carer authorisation with simple notifications including key context. This allows carers to provide their critical function with minimal overhead. Full audit support allows extra transparency and review by a care network where available.
What can be achieved through the partnership of MABLE Forge with Starling?
Social care is one of the biggest challenges of our age, and Starling with MABLE Forge can make material changes to the quality of life for all those involved. The MABLE FinCare system is only possible through the Starling Bank APIs – allowing new models of banking that are adapted to the different needs of this extensive audience, which includes up to 27% of the UK population. Suddenly a bank can adapt and support improving financial stress, which in turn can significantly reduce health stress and improve quality of life.
In what other ways could MABLE Forge x Starling help people?
While the Starling Hackathon focused upon the financial data, much more can be realised in conjunction with the broader range of ambient knowledge available through MABLE Care. A better picture of mental, behavioural, and cognitive health can be determined by combining day-to-day human interactions and financial transactions. With a broad base of data, MABLE can represent trends earlier and with more relevance that may indicate emerging challenges to an individual’s health.
Diseases such as dementia often go undiagnosed for a decade or more. It is believed that a lack of early detection is one of the biggest barriers to effective treatments and potential cures. There are currently no effective means of reliably spotting such diseases early enough in the broad populace. MABLE Forge and Starling could transform the data needed to better solve the biggest fear in aging and one of the biggest costs to the populace > £23bn/year), exceeding even cancer and heart disease amongst others.
One of the other biggest benefits of MABLE Forge and Starling is the ability to provide new transparency to an area of financial care that has unfortunately resulted in hundreds of millions to billions of pounds per year of financial abuse. Where there is insufficient family oversight, MABLE FinCare could even integrate with third party audit services that exist or could be created when its AI detected potential anomalies.
Our initial focus has been upon older adults and those with dementia but a much broader range of mental health or other disability conditions and care scenarios could easily be adapted with such techniques. Further are the similar challenges of learning effective financial management in young adults as they move forward from parental supports.
What was the Hackathon experience like?
The Hackathon was a wonderful experience with a strong positive energy, productive size allowing for some cross-contact and dialogue, and well thought through technical infrastructure. The code samples, APIs, Sandbox and simulators provided for a very robust environment allowing us to be effective right from the start.
The well-prepared technology plus a reasonable time schedule, including sleep, allowed us to be as productive in this hackathon as others I have participated in that were twice as long.
Do you think you’ll continue to work to make MABLE Forge a reality?
Certainly! The MABLE FinCare idea comes from a strong real-world need, one that I and many I’ve talked to have personally experienced. It is a perfect extension of the core MABLE Care ideas which have garnered extensive interest and support.
With the support of a progressive organisation like Starling Bank, we can foresee the commercial reality of such a product and the emergence of a truly personalized banking solution!
What goals do you have for your work in the future?
MABLE is moving beyond the idea and minimum-viable-product (“MVP”) stage right now, starting trials with King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. This should position us well with key learnings for our formal commercial launch later in 2017.
We are certainly not sitting on the advances in our affective computing technology that started MABLE. We are constantly reviewing what further inputs are possible through emerging ambient data access such as Banking APIs and IoT standards, and imaging how this could support and extend our vision of bringing personalised knowledge to fundamentally improve quality of life.
It is time for data to work for us, for computing to positively connect and support us, rather than isolate us and our screens.