December 2012

December 2012 Year-end Wrap and 2013 Trends to Watch

Tech is so yesterday, long live providers and solutions. 2012 was in some ways a dull technological year – the basic core technologies that are useful when applied to older adult consumers had surfaced in 2011 or before – think mobile PERS, GPS tracking, fall detection, voice activation (say Hi, Siri!), the rise of tablets, longer device battery life (except for smart phones). 2012, on the other hand, was the year in which there was new interest in aging and technology solutions – and thankfully, not just from startups, but included health insurers, communications carriers, and even pharmaceutical companies. As we peer into our 2013 crystal ball, here are some highlights of the past year and predictions about the year ahead:

>>> Read more . . .

Recapping the most popular blog posts from 2012

Consider 2012 -- a year of product launches across platforms.  Looking at the most popular (most read) posts of 2012, the main conclusion is that blog titles with numbers rule on this site as in all others. So here are the most popular posts from 2012:

Why aren't seniors wowed by tablets? Are seniors missing the tablet and e-Reader boomlet? Las Vegas can rest now. It has been left to its own devices, so to speak, now that CES has left town for another year. Exhibitors, never original, seized on swipe and touch trends started by Apple -- reports from the show noted that 'Android tablets have sprung up around CES like worms after a rainstorm' and how many types will be sitting in stores in 2012. So why don't seniors want to buy them? Pew Research published a glowingly titled doc recently titled Tablets and e-Reader Ownership Nearly Double Over the Holiday Gift-Giving Period and headlined that 'overall at least 29% of Americans own at least one of them.'  And the 50-64 year-olds did show a significant increase in tablet ownership from December 2011-2012 -- from 8-15%. But as the Pew data shows, the 65+ are not flocking to the store to pick up a tablet-- a mere increase from 5 to 7%. Maritz did some profiling the younger folk: the average tablet buyer is aged 38-41, with an income of approximately $70K, tablet buyers are likely to be male. Older women seem to like the e-Reader more, with ownership jumping from 8-12% year over year, average e-book buying woman is aged 44. So what's the, er, story here? >>> Read more . . .

Four ways that tech innovations for older adults get to market

Reuse, recycle – finding a new purpose?  Ah, the cacophony of self-quantification. As we rage against our inactivity and sloth, fitness gadgets have become the rage. One could have a Body Media arm band (“know your body, change your life”), a Fitbit on a waistband, a NikeFuel (“the ultimate measure of your athletic life”) or a Jawbone UP (“know yourself, live better!”) on a wrist, or a Pebble on a shoe from a corporate wellness program. To date, none of these offerings are applied (by the companies) to the world of seniors for passive activity encouragement or tracking.  Soon all of these, like Fitbit, will have APIs for writing new apps – soon someone will see and seize the opportunity to connect a simple and wearable device to senior market, and perhaps more in the senior market will connect caregiving apps like Philips CarePartners Mobile to information from their in-market devices like Lifeline with AutoAlert. >>> Read more . . .

Personal Emergency Response Systems: Moving beyond fear

PERS – A long-time tradition. The Medical Alarm Systems and PERS (Personal Emergency Response Systems) industry is long-standing and largely unchanged from the days of Lifeline, prior to its purchase by Philips.  This business segment has historically focused on the at-risk individuals who are 65+ with a typical user in the 75-85 range. Today, the industry is variously estimated from $1 to 2 billion in North America, largely based on monthly service plans that guarantee the immediate availability of staffed professional call center response. Those staff members contact relevant and local emergency responders such as EMTs, family, or 911, pre-configured in their systems once the device is activated.  Traditionally, the devices transmit from the wearer to a base unit nearby. >>> Read more . . .

Co-existence -- not connection -- at the 2012 mHealth Summit Bazaar

HealthIT wants your mobile mind.  The mHealth Summit was acquired this past year by HIMSS to ensure that the four horsemen of “technology, business, research, and policy connect.” The organizations they represent would like to disrupt and transform the future of health care delivery. And the 3000+ attendees and 253 exhibitors (up from 206 last year) appear to want to believe in that connection. HIMSS, the largest Health IT association in the world, with its 50,000 individual members, 570 corporate sponsors and 225 non-profit members, has the muscle mass to power the connection of ideas and innovation to healthcare systems, payers, and providers. So it was no surprise when they acquired the nascent mHealth Summit.  As for you of a mobile and mHealthy market mindset – this year you could be a doctor, university research team, a government agency, a hospital, a device maker, a carrier, an IT exec and, oh yeah, as an afterthought, maybe even a consumer and/or patient. >>> Read more . . .