August 2014

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 . . .

Five new Technologies for Aging in Place: July-August, 2014

New, newer, and newest startups to help older adults. Typically it has made sense on this site to not discuss companies until they are in the market, in production, with customers and funding.  But crowdfunding has changed that paradigm. Some startups chose to surface through crowd-sourcing campaigns, gaining visibility and ideally some funding. If all goes well,  they gain some funding, credibility and even bug-fixes. And as one executive from Lively observed prior to its launch, they get feet on the street and customers.  In this post, check out a few of these companies that have launched or recently moved onto media and funding notifications. As always, press releases -- with actual text! -- might help, as do notifications through Indigogo, Kickstarter or other funders. One more thing If any new, newer, or newest startups plan to be at the AARP Ideas @50+ event in San Diego in 2 weeks, let's get together! >>> Read more . . .

Bad news -- Twitter revenue approaches that of the New York Times

Most might not compare -- but the timing seems right. You may have read the story about Robin Williams' daughter Zelda dropping off Twitter due to trash-posting trolls -- not the first, in fact, that have been targeting women. On July 29, Twitter reported revenue of $312 million, somewhat exceeding estimates, on track to cross $1 billion in revenue during 2014. The New York Times reported $389 million during the same period, slightly missing estimates. And today, the Times appointed Alex MacCallum, a founding editor of The Huffington Post, to be assistant managing editor for audience development.  The Times is reflecting on how to better understand and grow its social media use. Twitter is in the 'process of evaluating how we can improve policies to better handle tragic situations.' Let us think about this for a moment -- and contemplate this sad tale unfolding before us.  >>> Read more . . .

Aging in place and market size exaggeration

Look closer at that Semico aging in place projection of $30 billion by 2017.  In an article in the Dallas Morning News just a few days ago, the previously noted Semico $30 Billion projection of  'aging in place' (AIP) technology by 2017 was quoted again. Nice number, but what's it for? Taking a closer read, the cited report asserts that “almost 70 percent of the over 120 million unit shipments will come from wellness peripherals like glucose meters, blood pressure monitors and smart scales.” Really? Hang in with me a second. That's 84 million of these 'wellness peripherals' that the population which is aging in place will be buying within 3 years, generating that $30 billion. >>> Read more . . .

Scaring seniors -- the hyping of falls, fraud, and weather

Listening to the weather channel could make an isolated senior nervous.  Nearly 46% of women aged 75+ (around 11 million) live alone -- and one in three of them will live until at least the age of 90. In fact, 2 million are aged 90+ now.  If they listen to the news or the weather channel, they have quite a bit of opportunity to be frightened about the prospect of tornados, hurricanes, flash floods, excessive heat, poor air quality or wildfires. Perhaps they're watching TV and they see that absolutely horrendous Life Alert ad. That's it for going down to the basement. Then the telephone or doorbell rings -- a nice distraction from the 4+ hours per day spent watching TV or perhaps the few minutes online -- if there is a computer or tablet around them to use. >>> Read more . . .