There they go again -- the media sneers about 'Grandma' and technology

Fast Company marks a trend -- let's stereotype older adults as Grandma.  Rant on. The latest article title was the last straw. Undoubtedly, as with the others, it was selected by young headline writers: "…the next hot market for wearable tech -- Grandma." Never mind that much of the tech wasn't wearable -- this one pushed me over the edge. So I looked around for other examples because I have seen it so many times -- there was the Huffington Post, 'reconstructing Grandma' and Amazon -- "Grandma Talks Tech (baby boomers take to iPads too!)'. And Popular Mechanics -- 'smart tech will take care of Grandma.' >>> Read more . . .

Five offerings for technology for aging in place -- Not startups -- Sept-October 2014

Startup mania is one thing -- but bigger companies like tech too.  AARP has a Longevity Network to encourage startups and an updated market overview report --  and funds are blossoming -- see Linkage Ventures and Aging 2.0. Then there's the StartUp Health billions and billions, and RockHealth (more billions) -- yada yada yada.  With all of that money flowing and hype flowering around startup wannabes, who knows what other incubators, accelerators, and motivators in 2015 are ahead? The new year starts off at CES in Las Vegas -- will it bring new companies to light that are focused on seniors? Meanwhile way back here in what's left of 2014, a number of firms that are NOT startups by any definition have recently announced new offerings -- each of these acknowledges and encourages seniors to use cell phone, tablet, and smartphone technology today.  List is alphabetical, and all content is taken from press announcements and/or the organizations' own websites.   >>> Read more . . .

Fall detection -- a look back -- much innovation but little impact

First the good news -- life expectancy is up.  So as boomers cross the 65-year-marker at 8000 per day, 10,000 per day, or whatever, they just received some good news, for a change, from the CDC.  Life expectancy has inched up. A woman who is 65 today can expect to live an average of 21 more years (to age 86), and a man at 65 has an average life expectancy of 18 more years (to age 83). Note that these are averages and that the averages include those with chronic diseases. That average includes the nearly 26% likelihood of diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed) -- and that diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US  and that heart disease is the number one cause of death among women and ditto for men.  Thus life expectancy outside of those conditions is most certainly far longer. >>> Read more . . .

Is Malware a big problem? Yes -- and we are the solution

Proliferation of device types is also proliferating malware.  159.8 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (66.8 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in January 2014, 51% were Android devices, 41.6% were Apple iOS and rest were 'other'.  There were 70 million tablets in the USA around then as well, 51% Apple, and 40% Android. Both device types are of interest to the malware hacking communities. Researchers at Georgia Tech showed how to hack an iPhone in 60 seconds, removing the Facebook app and replacing it with an imposter. >>> Read more . . .

Are tech innovators ageist -- or have they just not considered seniors?

Some cool tech enters the market. Consider the Apple introduction of the HealthKit (for the health care industry) and the smartwatch which joins the Pebble (which helped fuel interest in smartwatches) and Samsung smartwatches.  Intel found smartwatches intriguing enough to sponsor a clinical trial in conjunction with Parkinson's disease.  Why? Smartwatches (and smartphones) contain accelerometers that enable the device to determine sudden motion -- like detecting a fall, gyroscope and compass to detect whether you're on of the 61 million people out there running.  And they are able to determine location by enabling GPS position of the device. These devices have geofencing capability -- used in Apple devices for setting up a Location Reminder when you arrive at or leave a location (don't forget to do such-and-so errand). >>> Read more . . .

What are the right baby boomer market size numbers?

The numbers of our boomer lives.  So you launch your market messages with an assertion about the addressable market for a product. So one of the timeworn ways used is to start with a concept.  For example, they are going to turn 65 and are retiring -- or perhaps they are unretiring and starting businesses -- at a rate that is big, really, really, big.  So let's consider the following oddity. In 2010, boomers were going to turn 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day for the next 18 years. Then in 2014, you perhaps noticed a different phrase about boomers, including this one from AARP: They are going to turn 65 at the rate of 8,000 per day for the next 18 years. This caused me to wonder, what happened to 2000 of them?  Could they have died?  Left the country?  How many people there are in a certain age range making up an addressable market -- that should be fact, right?  Sort of.  I turned to Brent Green, an advisor to boomer marketers. >>> Read more . . .

Next week is Active Aging Week -- let the trade show season begin

Next week is Active Aging Week 2014.  According to the International Council on Active Aging, there are 3000 events (all over the place) to celebrate beginning tomorrow -- there are "never more reasons to get off the couch."  So now there are 43 million people age 65+ in the US. (Remember when it was 39 million, back in 2012?) Today there are many reasons for older adults to get up and get moving. Seniors are saddled with ever-lengthening life expectancies (one in four of today's 65-year-olds will live to 90! They are stuck in their awkward and costly houses, with questionable health status and a propensity to be overweight.  Meanwhile, more than half of those aged 65+ rely on Social Security -- with its average payment of $1294/month -- for more than half of their income >>> Read more . . .

Consider the impact of Apple announcements -- and move on

Gadgets and gizmos all around, but when is a watch a timepiece? Consider the Apple announcements. How prophetic was the Little Mermaid who said "You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!" Now think about Maxwell Smart's shoe phone. Somehow the new Apple Smartwatch reminds me of gadgets that were so silly and fanciful, they could only have been in the movies (Captain Kirk, Dick Tracey had a variety of amazingly smart watches) or on television.  Just think how many other tech products have emerged from the movies -- or for that matter, read this article about the technologies today -- like the Flip phone -- that were imagined by the creators of Star Trek. Just because they can be created -- they are, and often have amazing and compelling implementations (3-D printers and replacement body parts?) >>> Read more . . .

Let's focus our lens on caregiving -- technology and beyond

Tech we talk about -- health -- the much-hyped investment opportunity. We talk ad nauseum about health innovation, often in the context of an aging society -- from StartupHealth, Rock Health, Health 2.0, and AARP's own Health@50+.  And we're wired beyond saturation with new health device tech announcements, from the advance swooning about Apple everything (never seen so many health dreams and now, security worries!) and Samsung nearly-everything-else (never seen so many device shapes!)  And there was plenty of health tech talk at the AARP Ideas@50+ in San Diego -- see Health Interactive@50+. >>> Read more . . .

Why would the consumer buy a smartphone PERS app from Philips?

Philips Lifeline has had, to say the least, an unusual week. First they launch a smartphone PERS application that makes no sense.   The press release quotes the Philips/Georgetown GSEI study that repeats that tiresome cliché that "seniors want to stay as independent as possible as they get older" -- really, no kidding. Therefore smartphone-enabled seniors would want this $13.95/month service. Since they put out a press release and sought media attention with this app, it is safe to say that want us to know about it. And in volume, this would be a nice incremental revenue stream and another use of their highly trained call center reps.  But what volume? 19% of the 65+ population owns a smartphone -- that's a market of 8 million people.  But two-thirds of adults with smartphones download no apps -- using only those which came with the phone.  Now we're down to 2.8 million in an available market. >>> Read more . . .

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