July 2010

When does "New" technology become mainstream?

Buzz in the press is good for all.  Articles about using technology to monitor aging parents -- like the most recent two in the Thursday NY Times by Hilary Stout and Eric Taub can be great for the aging tech industry. They generate buzz and interest in the media; they are syndicated and carried throughout the Internet; re-mailed (many times to me); they boost awareness of prospective buyers; and create curiosity and even leads, both of consumer prospects as well as vendors and dealer channels.  Given buzz like this, one might think that technologies to help monitor your aging parents will now be well-understood and vendors will have to spend less of their time educating and explaining, and more time just taking orders. We thought that when we read the February, 2009 Times article by John Leland. Meanwhile, Living Independently Group, now part of GE, launched QuietCare in 2003 -- when remote monitoring then really was fairly 'new'.  And then again, in September, 2009, in Business Week, when Arlene Weintraub wrote about the business of aging in place. Oh, were it true. >>> Read more . . .

Tech for aging needs innovation from young people

Young people and seniors -- a non-obvious formula.  A few years ago Scientific American published a study asserting that socialization between young and elderly improves the health and well-being of seniors (yeah, so the study was about fruit flies -- never mind that).  This week a few other news items caught my eye: >>> Read more . . .

Those Ten Trends for 2010 -- Are we there yet?

It's been more than 6 months since this blog post about tech trends that would influence product capability in 2010.  It seems fitting to check status on what's happened so far, with another status check planned just prior to the new year: >>> Read more . . .

The GO Computer for seniors -- MyGait answers the service call

Software as a Service to seniors.  A follow-up: It was just over a year ago that FirstSTREET and MyGait launched the GO Computer -- a Software as a Service (SaaS) PC for seniors who (no surprise) don't want to or can't deal with the hassle of upgrades, security updates, and the myriad of features that make owning a standard computer so challenging. Chatting with Chuck Lalonde, SVP of Senior Services at MyGait, the vendor that provides a variety of computer-related products for seniors, it turns out that more than 5000 GO PCs, all desktop, have been sold since that June, 2009 launch, not counting those sold into senior housing communities. Chuck explained the 'service' that is the benefit to seniors provided by the GO PC, which now sells for $879 plus $19.95/month. >>> Read more . . .

Tech coalitions -- Local awareness of products and services

Tech coalitions -- small steps to the start of a community service? Last week was the start of a new Forum category, Community Coalitions About Aging Technology, with San Diego County as the first entrant - 'to help local organizations become more familiar with technologies that could help seniors in the county.' Soon to have their first meeting, Denise Nelesen spoke about the intent, which is to bring local organizations up to speed on what products are out there. She is particularly interested in moving beyond 'computers in libraries' to other categories of products that could be useful to seniors. If others have similar local initiatives and ideas about how to do this, please post in the forum. >>> Read more . . .

The Generational Mobile Access Divide

New mobile wireless access survey by Pew -- overall usage is up.  Get ready for some numbers -- but first, a definition. This new Mobile Access 2010 report from Pew defines mobile wireless access as a) Going online with a laptop using a wi-fi connection or mobile broadband card or b) Using the Internet, email or instant messaging on a cell phone. Given that definition, "59% of American adults now go online 'wirelessly' using a laptop or a cell phone, an increase over the 51% who did so at a similar point in 2009." And today, compared to a year ago, more cell phone users are taking pictures (76% versus 66%), sending text messages (72% versus 65%), and even accessing the Internet (38% versus 25%) from the 2009 survey. >>> Read more . . .

After the genetic test, living to 100 had better be better

Line up to learn your longevity likelihood.  Aren't you just loving the opportunity we will soon have to download that free genetic marker test kit, the one that with 77% accuracy will tell whether we will live past 100?* Boston University scientists have 'no plans to profit' from the results, but they could make the kit available later this summer. (Warning: analysis of the results will be costly.) I am so struck by how the law of unintended consequences could play out, especially in areas of insurance -- as with a home test kit for Alzheimer's, people might be more likely to purchase long-term care insurance. With a longevity test on the market, how long will the term need to be in term insurance? Taking it a step further, should insurance companies offer free kits as a marketing device? Should your doctor know that you've taken such a test? Should a health insurer know? What happens to rates, deductibles and lifetime caps? What kind of housing and support systems would we want if we knew we could live to 100 or more (or if we knew we would suffer from Alzheimer's)? What would our families do with that information? >>> Read more . . .