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Boomer-Senior Tech Business

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Boomer-Senior Tech Business

Aging in Place Technology Watch September 2010 Newsletter

On the road again -- manage my expectations, please. Flying is a chore -- and like most passengers, I am amazed that airlines don't do a better job of managing our expectations, whether it is about level of service, delays, additional charges for exit row seats, or credit-card only on the plane. Of course, my expectations are less important than the fiercely competitive and simultaneously predatory airline landscape -- they can do what they like because they own the gates and schedule for many destinations. And of course, in situations where there is competition, the airlines play hopscotch, adding a new charge, waiting to see if the others add it as well -- a new surprise for the unsuspecting consumer.

Update: Marketing Aging in Place Technology and Services

In my travels, I continue to hear about new vendors, new product and service ideas, some just an entrepreneurial gleam in the eye, some pre-launch, some on the market.  Hopefully those who haven't launched yet read and heed this previously-published advice -- now updated. And those already in the market, if your entrant doesn't reflect these updated suggestions, maybe it should:

Towards an Aging in Place 2.0 vision

Nice goal, but how to age in place?  In the pendulum swing of all 'aging in place' all the time, a murky target has been set, but the tactics are more like a meandering and treacherous hiking trail than a well-marked pathway. Some of us will pick up and leave for a more service-rich environment in advance of need, usually at an age or level of actual or anticipated limitations. But these service-rich environments, typically Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), represent a relatively small proportion of older age range of the 65+ population. And CCRC moves require sale of a house, downsizing of possessions, and a move that can be a traumatic change. In addition, these 'enclaves' (as described in a recent NY Times article) are not without financial issues. Certainly the word 'continuing' is a misnomer unless one counts a campus change to a smaller space for both person and possessions as not really moving.

Direct-to-consumer -- a viable strategy or a distraction?

Whoopee -- consumers might buy some products... With the announcement that Best Buy may have 'mHealth' devices ready for shopping in up to 500 stores, one might become just a bit excited that a tipping point has been reached -- and that it might encompass the full range of technology for aging in place. Well, it all depends on what you mean by tipping point. The Best Buy list of devices may include blood-pressure monitors, pedometers, and fitness watches -- devices, ideally, that will transmit information to a local or Internet-accessible network. Nice, but frankly, Best Buy has been experimenting for years -- 'up to 500' sounds good, doesn't it?

Enough already: NPR series adds remote monitoring sound but no light


Remote monitoring, a household product category?  Vendors in the remote monitoring world were no doubt thrilled when a few weeks ago we were treated to a wave of news stories -- the New York Times, CBS News, the Wall Street Journal and probably a number of other outlets that syndicated these. Clearly, free buzz is the best marketing any tech vendor can get -- and it is good to raise consumer awareness about a market category with fewer than 10,000 deployed units (a sum of the installed base as described to me by vendors). Generally these stories have been superficial -- hey, these are news stories, after all.  They briefly mentioned a randomly selected set of tech vendors, and perhaps whetted the appetite of consumers to consider their use. Never mind that there are numerous barriers and constraints that have, to date, limited adoption of remote home activity monitoring due to issues of pricing, reimbursement expectations, a well-established set of product capability and features, and a well-developed distribution model. 

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