Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
The mobile device projections are in – and they’re big, REALLY big. This may just be bigger than the recent and trendy thoughts on the Internet of Things (which was observed by Forrester 11 years ago), and reminds one that it is tough to keep a good phrase down. So let’s look at three mobile device examples, in descending order of the date predictions they specify, and as described in news articles:
There is an organizing principle, but organization has yet to emerge. The above is a hierarchy, although Maslow would probably say we haven’t satisfied too many needs. At the bottom of this stack, we have the Internet of things talking to each other and transmitting a sea of data – like when a bus will arrive, whether a water main has broken, where a physical asset is located. (Hopefully someone is noticing on their smart phone). Up a layer, there are wearable devices for tracking aspects of our individual lives. Uo a layer from that, there is the ubiquitous smart phone, although still only penetrating 11% of the 65+ according to Pew. Given the available apps, that is probably for the best. Smart phones could potentially display some info from the wearable devices, though not necessarily. Up from that finally, are the consumer health smart phone apps, which seem, perhaps appropriately at this point, not terribly smart and extremely self-oriented.
So much money to be spent, so little value for older adults. Skepticism on. If you believe that within 5 years there will be significant spending on wearable home monitoring applications for assisted living, you are what some might call a tech optimist. That industry is barely moving access to the Internet out of the common areas, and with an average resident age of 86, seems unlikely to hurry towards wearable monitoring – unless, of course, ABI was counting PERS and elopement-prevention tech, both of which have been around for more than a decade. If you believe that smart phone ownership among the older adult population will grow enough in the near term to invite many senior-focused app developers at $3.21 per app download, well then, you are a visionary. Or just having visions.