CCTV experts offer chance of ‘normal life’ for disabled boy’s family

2020 Vision Disabled Boy

2020 Vision have developed and installed a ground-breaking fully-integrated monitoring system to assist the family of a severely disabled boy.

The North East company has developed what it says is a first for them and suggests the solution could change lives for those who have to care for severely disabled relatives.

The team at 2020 were approached by the parents of ten-year-old Lewis Merrigan, who care full time for their son. They wanted to create a fully integrated visual and audio monitoring system that would allow them to see or watch their son, regardless of where they were located in their house, also in the North East.

2020 Vision, more used to installing hi-spec security and surveillance systems in prisons, hospitals and universities, have devised a groundbreaking system consisting of no fewer than eight internal high definition axis cameras, all with incorporated audio capability.

Audio and visual feeds from the cameras, which auto-track each movement and sound from Lewis, is then fed to a range of fixed monitors, portable screens and a range of speakers located around the house. The two cameras in Lewis ’s bedroom have infra-red capabilities, which monitor him in his bed throughout the night. Footage and sound is recorded and stored in real time with Command Centre and Axis Companion software and edge storage facility.

2020 has even been able to extend live footage to be relayed live to Jason and Liz Merrigan ’s tablet and smartphone devices.

Dad Jason, aged 42, and his wife Liz, aged 38, devote all their time looking after Lewis at their purpose-built home in Northumberland. They explained that their son can sufferer from debilitating seizures and fits – sometimes up to a thousand a day – which they need to respond to quickly.

Jason added: “We’ve learned that Lewis can sometimes become more agitated with adult presence during a seizure, so the new system allows us to monitor closely what is happening and we can make a judgement as to whether we need to intervene.

“We’ve learned to spot movements in his face too and the new cameras are so sharp that we can pick up those signs without having to ‘crowd ’ him in his room. We ’ve also spotted the tell-tale signs in changes in Lewis ’s breathing patterns before these seizures strike. The guys from 2020 Vision have been able to install hi-spec microphones in his bedroom and his special living room so we can hear any changes in his breathing, even if we ’re elsewhere in the house.

“It has already started to change our own lives. We ’re no longer on edge every minute of the day. Once 2020 had installed the cameras and microphones in Lewis ’s room, and the monitoring equipment in ours, we actually had a full night ’s sleep together for the first time since he was born. We used to take it in turns to sleep at night. One of us would stay up through the night. ”

“It’s things like that which make the world of difference to carers and to our lives as a family. Lewis is severely disabled, but he ’s a bright and happy lad. I think he ’s well aware he’s on the TV screens around the rest of the house now – he quite likes that! ”

Michael Lynch, project manager at 2020 Vision admitted that when the Merrigan’s first approached them with their ‘wish list ’ of requirements, it appeared a tricky task. He explained: “We’ve never been asked to look at this type of solution, but once we assessed the requirements, we were able to draw on our experience and solutions from commercial projects and adapt them to Lewis ’s unique needs within the Merrigan ’s household.

“Just one example is the hi-spec microphones that we have installed in Lewis ’s rooms. They ’re super sensitive, but at the same time can blank out any unnecessary background noise. It ’s the type of thing a casino might use, but they ’re perfect for allowing Jason and Liz to hear Lewis ’s breathing loud and clear, wherever they are in the house.

“We are thrilled to have been able to provide a solution which will help Jason and Liz look after Lewis much better, but also give them some much-needed assurances that they ’ll miss nothing, even when they ’re sleeping.”

2020 Vision has also extended their surveillance externally, giving the family a fully integrated home security solution.

Jason said: “The syncing with our Iphones and Ipads is brilliant. It enables us to do even the most mundane of jobs in the garden or the garage, or even just sit outside and enjoy the sun, but know we can still watch and hear Lewis at all times. This is going to make such a difference to all our lives.”

“2020 Vision have been brilliant throughout the whole process and its our hope that more people in our situation will find out what they can do, because it has changed our lives.”

Michael Lynch added: “We ’re used to projects on a commercial scale, but this domestic project has been one of the most challenging and rewarding that the team has been involved in at 2020.

“It has taken Jason, Liz and Lewis to open our eyes and realise that the solution we ’ve provided with them could really help thousands of other people who find themselves in exactly the same situation.”

Managing director of 2020 Vision, Peter Houlis, said: “Without doubt, this is one of the most rewarding projects we ’ve worked on here in 21 years of this company. We ’ve been able to adapt what is essentially security technology to provide minute-by-minute situational awareness to aid someone to make instant and fully informed decisions. We ’re very proud to have been able to help Jason, Liz and Lewis.”


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