Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
The best consumer tech is barely out-of-the-box usable – for anyone. iPad, Schmipad. Although there is always a story here or there about one who loves the device and wants to teach others (60 days of classes!!!), apps like Family Ribbon to make it easier to use continue to pop up along with training both in store and beyond. So in the face of so much enthusiasm, it is hard for me to say this, but guess what? If you aren’t born imagining that 4 fingers would reveal the already created task row of previously used apps, that menus disappear, that the style of user interface for various apps is inconsistent, that screen-to-screen navigation varies from touching a tiny dot at the screen base to swiping a swoop to the next page, 60 days of training sounds like a pretty good idea. And as far as user interface design, this is the best of the best and it is not acceptable!
Robots are a distraction from the technology needs of seniors. Gimme a break. If I read one more robot story about the caregiving potential of robots, I might scream. Let’s be clear – senior housing organizations are barely comfortable with Skype, home care organizations are not ready to standardize their processes enough to broadly adopt any technology, and so what can we say about robots? Well, they make good video subjects -- that’s for sure. But no, there will be no broad-based adoption of robots in senior housing any time soon -- until the price plummets and the use case is so clear that no self-respecting Executive Director would attend a conference without a demonstration video, that the exhibit halls would incorporate multiple price point and styles of robots, okay then, no problem. In the meantime, back to the first point – when will the senior housing organizations and social service advocates convene the right meetings to get better and more usable technology that could serve the needs of the millions of prospective users in and outside of senior housing?
And speaking of home care – the village model is not a viable tech market. I am sure that reading this article about the lack of financial sustainability in the 'village' movement/model, senior housing organizations must have breathed a sigh of relief. To date, "financial sustainability for the model is apt to be a challenge unless Villages secure more stable sources of funding." So to you vendors mulling this as a prospective customer base for technology purchases, my recommendation is to run away – come back once the financial bugs have been worked out and the village can be approached as a unified buying entity, not as the buying profile of a yard sale.