Pump up the boomer volume on tech hype

CNBC wants to believe boomers represent big business. Tom Brokaw says it is so about 'boomer$' -- in a book and a CNBC upcoming TV special. Since baby boomers are 'history's wealthiest and most influential generation', it must have made sense to send CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau chief Jim Goldman out to sniff out boomer tolerance for technology -- especially given the Microsoft-AARP 2009 conversational focus group study about Boomers and Technology (to sum that up -- boomers like technology, but want it to be more intuitive.) >>> Read more . . .

Can innovation push limits of traditional PERS?

Behold the persistence of PERS (Personal Emergency Response System). Like the little engine that could, this product category refuses to exit. Also called Medical Alarms, Medical Alerts and panic buttons, it is most recognizable as the fear-mongering "I've fallen and I can't get up" device. PERS has been around for decades, but has seen relatively little innovation over most of that time. Actually it's worse, when you think about it. The PERS market is saddled with consumers complaints about shady sales tactics (Life Alert), new market entrants with no understanding of seniors, and a widely disseminated worse-than-50% success rate at alerting after a fall, either as a result of the device not being worn or worn but not pressed. >>> Read more . . .

Connected Living Ambassadors of Tech

Outreach to link seniors and computers -- more needed.  Although there are multiple approaches to opening up the vast world of the Internet to seniors, rarely do they reach all the way into the home. These include the FloH Club (telephone service), senior centers or SeniorNet (center-based), online training programs (like Computer School For Seniors), or online tech support (crossloop.com). Consider bundled offerings like IN2L that provide access to seniors in senior housing -- or a la carte software like PointerWare.  All good, but none involve MyWay Village's Ambassador approach. >>> Read more . . .

Smoke signals and caregiving apps -- what should they do?

The year of the 'care'. As one VC executive, Andy Donner of Physic Ventures, noted recently, this is the year of the 'care'. There seems to be a growing list of vendors who are trying to offer some sort of 'keep in touch' product that connects an older person with family members who may live elsewhere.  The basic element is to provide some means to signal 'concerned about you' from family members and obtain the response 'I'm all right' from the older family member back to them -- accompanied by the ability to react in the event that the response is not received. >>> Read more . . .

Is the iPad for boomers and seniors? Could be!

So much iHoopla about the iPad. But as the famous saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity and folks at Apple must be having a great time with this. The geeks have weighed in, plenty of snippy negative commentary has been spewed about the Apple iPad (including lots of sophomoric humor about the product name). I particularly enjoyed the whining on the Motley Fool site -- called "Fool Analysts Debate the iPad" which so easily could have been renamed 'Analyst Fools Debate the iPad".  The gist, if you haven't the time to read it, is that it is lacking a phone, camera, and USB port, which it must have, they say, wisely speaking entirely from their own geeky user requirements. But what the heck, they're gonna buy one anyway. >>> Read more . . .

Road trip -- possibilities for seniors beyond transportation

No kidding -- it rained for five days in San Francisco. I just returned from a whirlwind and very windy visit to this beautiful city on the Bay. Despite wind, hail, rain, and lightening (!), I was fortunate to meet with so many inspired and inspiring people! There were pre-launch (stealth) caregiver technology startups, just-launched entrants like Wellcore and post-launch top execs from moving-right-along SilverRide, Caring.com, Presto, Care2, and Jitterbug, as well as leaders from ASA, Menlo Ventures, Physic Ventures and Home Instead -- many of these great connections spearheaded by Mary Furlong, the founder of the Boomer What's Next conference, soon to be held during the upcoming 2010 Aging in America conference in Chicago.  It was a great week and thanks to all who took the time and battled the incessant rain to discuss this exciting market and opportunity with me! >>> Read more . . .

Aging in place, living well, thriving at home, welderly, zoomers -- isn't obfuscation great?

Medicine turned into healthcare, doctors became providers, small coffee cups became tall, exercise became fitness, recycling became a sustainability tactic. So it has come to pass that politically correct eventually becomes...correct. And everything else, therefore becomes incorrect, inappropriate, or even offensive. >>> Read more . . .

The myth of the PC-free life for boomers and seniors

PCs and MACs represent growth markets in 2010... With the excitement (translate that -- lots of press) about a wide variety of PC-less connection choices for TV, radio, and books, one might almost think the PC and its MAC brethren were dead. Not so fast, PC sales are expected to grow 10% this year and MAC growth expectations are as high as 26%. >>> Read more . . .

How to let others know how your business is doing

How is a market entrant doing? I have spent much of the past year looking at websites of tech companies in the aging-tech or digital health-tech areas. As part of this look, I am always trying to figure out how these companies are doing. Talking to the company executives is interesting, but the website, to me is very revealing and sometimes contradicts verbal descriptions of momentum. To me, these are visible indicators of company health: >>> Read more . . .

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