Blogs

Five New Technologies for Aging in Place - March - June, 2014

What's new and tech-related for helping older adults? Every few months this site attempts to sweep up and refresh a few of the announcements about technology in the market that can be helpful both to older adults and to those that care for them. These five announcements meet the criteria older adults remain safe, healthy, secure, and well-connected in their homes of choice. The information in this list (alphabetical order) comes directly from the websites of the individual companies themselves and includes: >>> Read more . . .

In the Technology Lab for Seniors, User Adoption Doesn’t Matter

Seriously – are people aging? Rant on. Yesterday's WSJ article on technology was so Groundhog Day. But it must have shocked the Wall Street Journal reader – 72 million Americans will be 65 and older by 2030!  Well, actually, those are the Wall Street Journal readers: average age of 57 today – who will be 73 by 2030. So we’re not talking about Grandma, sports fans. The excitement? Technologies for a concept called 'Aging in Place.'  Well, maybe it’s not all that new. Scientists at universities – where else – are 'sparked on a quest' to research technologies to help people get help in their homes if they fall, since  it turns out that 1 in 3 seniors age 65 fall each year.  Actually, when it comes to falling and injury like hip fracture, it’s those WSJ readers who will be over the age of 75 by 2030 who will be at risk of falling. They want alternatives to 'wearable alarms' and web cameras – which, according to the article, are so…yesterday.  The 'new' technology incorporates – get ready – radar (Villanova research), motion sensors, and cameras. Ah, but really, it looks like they were all around, yesterday. >>> Read more . . .

What if palettes of ready-to-run technology became the norm?

Software is smarter – maybe piecemeal hardware will be just a memory. What if devices were marketed just like paint color palettes? You know, those strips of colors that go well together, samples you can easily assemble as examples of how the trim will look with the walls and the color of the doors? What if you had the same experience buying a device in the store or online – and the items that went together were presented as selectable – beyond just memory and storage? >>> Read more . . .

When tech market growth slows, vendors become desperate

Smartphones – no buyers left?   In February, the lack of 'innovation in the Samsung Galaxy S5' revealed to a Forbes writer that this points to saturation of the smartphone market.  What is 'saturation'?  Turns out it doesn’t mean that everyone has bought a smartphone, just that the era of double-digit growth rates may have ended.  (Now we know that bank savings interest rates must be 'saturated.') Or not, a few months later, sales of the S5 are good and globally helping Samsung 'regain momentum'.  Did they ever lose market share?  Only IDC knows for sure. >>> Read more . . .

Technology for seniors – many surveys, what can we learn?

There is a survey echo in here.  Rant on. In listening to a presentation yesterday, I was struck by the similarity of the content between what older adults want from technology (now), what an older version of responders told the Linkage Technology Survey of 2011, versus Healthy@Home 2008 versus...pick a survey, any survey. Older adults aged 60 and beyond, including the 75+ age range that previous posts have designated as the Real Senior, want to stay in their own home.  Okay.  They are interested in some technologies that would be enablers. Okay. They perceive those technologies that they do not yet have as possibly too costly. Developers are concerned about building technology into new homes for fear of it becoming obsolete.  In conclusion, older adults appear to be unaware of the technologies that could be enablers for remaining longer in their homes -- and they will not remodel specifically to get them. >>> Read more . . .

Launching your boomer/senior, health tech product in 2014

Don’t quit your day job just yet – do the homework first.  Starting a new company in the boomer/senior, mHealth/Digital Health tech space? I hear fairly regularly from those who have this intent.  Maybe they have a prototype they have created. When I don’t hear first, sometimes I catch who they are through the modern-day miracle of Google Alerts. So maybe we chat, maybe I take a look at a website, learn how they are going about getting their funding, and I ask if they know about products that may be similar to what they are doing.  Or have they browsed online catalogs, or spoken to non-profits (if that is one of the target audiences).  Have they studied market sizings and surveys from Nielsen to Pew to the exuberant Semico Research? And so on.  So here’s an updated set of advice for the pre-early stage: >>> Read more . . .

Health-related smartphone apps -- not ready for prime time

Our smartphones, ourselves – are they useful for managing our own health? In 2009, Eric Topol, the wireless health medical prognosticator, noted that 'we would soon use our smart phones to monitor our chronic conditions.'  Well, maybe – it all depends on what he meant by 'soon.' App developers are obviously struggling to identify a) an app that is useful and b) who the cohort is that would use it. Should you count recording weight, keeping food logs and tracking exercise as 'monitoring' a chronic condition?  It might be more useful to put a smartphone in your pocket (assuming it fits) than to get a grip on another wearable but easily-lost small device. Take a look at the wearable band market and non-usage by the 55+.   Note the easily-lost Fitbit (my sister has lost 3, I have long lost 2) in this Verizon Boomer Voice blog.   >>> Read more . . .

Training offline seniors to be online

The Internet is crawling with tech training programs. But as the latest Pew study spells out, fewer than half of those aged 75+ are online. Ironically for the half that are not online, bank branches are closing – with the biggest decline in Florida. The explanation?  So say the banks: "mobile and online banking has eliminated the need for branches."  The Bank of America example: 9% of all check deposits in the fourth quarter came from mobile devices. And I wonder what percentage of those check deposits were made by people aged 75+?  Oh, I wonder if they know that only 18% of that age group owns a smart phone or tablet? But forward motion is inexorable – we know how badly Social Security wanted out of the paper-check business. We also know how worrisome it can be to manage privacy and security on tablets and smart phones.  Which brings us to the topic of training older adults about smart use of technology – where is the training and what does it cover? >>> Read more . . .

Sensor-based home monitoring for seniors – calibrating market progress in 2014

Sensor-based home monitoring is a maturing market.  A long time ago (2008) when this website was first launched, the benefits and difficulties of getting home-monitoring technology deployed were discussed. Perhaps families were ignorant about the technology, didn’t want to interfere or could not tell their aging parents what to do. Many observed that lack of knowledge about home monitoring solutions was the number one problem. Or maybe the senior's privacy concern was the problem. Or maybe complexity of installation and the need for an installer was the problem?  Searching the topic of 'home monitoring' on this site reveals a long list of companies launching, announcing, updating, partnering with providers, dealers, insurers -- as well as comments about barriers to adoption. >>> Read more . . .

Four new offerings from StartUp Health

Checking out startups offerings that can benefit adults -- including older adults. StartUp Health is a New York-based accelerator fostering 'health and wellness innovation.'  Its purpose is to help entrepreneurs accepted into its Academy gain "access to customers, capital, resources, and a peer group support network." As many are observing today, if it's useful and technology-based, a startup seems likely to categorize themselves as 'health and wellness'. And some of these health and wellness innovators are specifically targeting aspects of care that can be very helpful to all, but could be particularly useful for older adults.  All information comes from the websites of the companies themselves: >>> Read more . . .

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