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Nine more older adult technology offerings from CES 2021

Even online – it was still CES – from the silly to interesting to useful.  How many of these exist? An international conference where inventions from everywhere are welcomed.  Some of these offerings, as always, are odd.  But some, as with yesterday’s CES 2021 blog post, are quite straightforward and obviously useful. Others require a leap of imagination or a good explanation as to why this variant of hearing aid is worth as much as $4000 per ear.  As always with CES, some capabilities are interesting and have future potential – and some are just too cute for more words.  Here are 8 more:

Ten technology offerings for older adults from CES 2021

CES 2021 – roll the press releases and turn on your computer.  A long time ago, one writer published a charmingly-named CES overview of CES 2012 called CES in Pajamas – an entertaining read with links to 2012 videos just to see what flopped, what was canceled (remember  Microsoft Kinect?) and what/who is still around. Laptops were hot (remember the Ultrabook?) Voice First and the Apple Watch had not emerged.  Oh well. Fast forward to 2021. Pajama-like clothing is the only way to consume the content vastness of this entirely online Consumer Electronics Show with 500 exhibits, 70,000 registered attendees, and 3 full days of sessions, many pre-recorded, some live.  Too many press releases and some odd stuff (a rollable Smart phone?)  Here are a few useful to older adults, alphabetical from firm sites:

From the 2021 Market Overview Technology for Aging

It's 2021 and baby boomers turn 75. It took the combination of 71 million boomers, a pandemic emergency, and the sheer size of the aging population to transform a 2009 market niche into this 2021 market category worthy of investment-- less about products specifically designed for older adults as it is about the marketing of many existing offerings as useful to them.  But this is January, 2021, in the time of Covid-19 and the time of the all digital Consumer Electronics Show -- this time with at least 70,000 online attendees from around the world and the tech industry -- and so new companies are surfacing with technologies that will generate interest and even excitement during 2021. The entrants that can help older adults fit into categories like:

Selected tech trends from upcoming 2021 Market Overview

Looking ahead to 2021 -- pre-CES, what trends will persist?  So that's just about enough of 2020 -- a year worth putting behind us, if ever there was one. Much creativity and stopgap solutions were the signs of the Covid-19 times.  There was an awakening about older adults as targets of ageism and victims of social isolation, true. But there was also an awakening to the significance of aging in place, the investment category of older adults, the market power of older adults, including the 65+ population of 54 million. And who knew that the fastest growing subsegment was those aged 80+?  Innovators in 2020 helped mitigate social isolation, enable in-home strength training for seniors, provided the tech mechanics (regardless of infrastructure) to connect older adults to families? All that and more make up the new entrants in the 2021 Market Overview of Technology for Aging.

Five New Technology Offerings for Older Adults

Long ago in a city far, far away, there was CES 2020.  It was filled with tech from wall-to-wall and bus ride to bus ride.  CES 2020 was a January 2020 nightmare of related products sited at opposite ends of convention space that seemed to span miles in one direction, and up elevators to suites in the opposite direction. A competition winner here, a spotlight on hearing there,  health tech herethere a robot,  there a drone – everywhere a bus ride and 170,000 people. Leaving with sore feet and tired brain, vowing never to attend in person again (having said that multiple times over the years).  Who knew that Covid-19 was about to take over the world -- and with it, the world of events?  Soon there will be CES 2021, entirely online -- no smoke-filled hotels, no Bellagio fountain, and no need for comfortable shoes. There should be many to note in January 2021.  Meanwhile, pre-CES, here are five recently surfaced.  All content is drawn from the company websites.

Not just older adults – everyone lost the tech user interface war

Once upon a time, a new technology user interface was just annoying.   It’s almost quaint to look back at what we complained about – though some of the famous user interface disasters are well-described in a Scientific American article – Windows 8, BMW iDrive, TV remotes.  At some point, the user gets mad. The BMW iDrive example prompted some drivers to turn around and bring the car back to the showroom.  Consider the whining from this site in 2012 about smartphones and again in 2013. But a poor UI doesn’t always guarantee poor sales. It’s quaint to read the complaint about the Apple Watch interface, which is quite annoying and 100% dependent on a smartphone app. But it may turn out to be Apple’s most popular product (30 million sold in 2019) and enjoys great popularity in 2020.  Furthermore, its fall detection validated the market transition of caregiving smart watches replacing PERS pendants.

The Digital Divide -- Why haven't all older adults crossed it?

A hot topic now – crossing the so-called ‘Digital Divide’.  It’s ironic – the topic has been under discussion forever. Long ago, in a world far, far, away – it was easy for the oldest to say that they don’t see the benefit in technology, Internet access or other devices.  That was pre-pandemic of course. In 2020, the divide looks like a chasm, depending on how it is viewed. What will close it?  What is the missing link? More training?  Discounted devices?  Free Internet?  Grandchildren photos?  Worsening social isolation?  Telehealth visits?  And do we mean ‘Digital Divide’ – or do we really mean Internet Access Divide? Or is it the smartphone ownership divide? The how-do-I-use-this-thing divide? And what does it mean for one's life to be on the wrong side?

Four Technology and Aging Blog Posts from November 2020

November revealed a growing sense of urgency about older adults. What has been the impact on them of the daily onslaught of Covid-19 statistics? What about nine months of ceaseless updates about case counts? Has this produced a permanent fear of contact with others, including families, especially on holidays? Public-private partnerships are forming to bring devices and products to older adults, now isolated for as much as 9 months. Will that help? Tech firms are trying to boost access to the internet and devices – will this become 2021 action priority for non-profits and government? And much more will be different for an older population – the real seniors, aged 75+, perhaps previously unnoticed by media. In fact, older adults have often been ignored by marketers even as boomers have all the money.  Here are four blog posts from November:

Five technologies for older adults November 2020

November – the month for giving thanks -- remotely.  It was a strange Thanksgiving for many – staying (stuck?) in place with Zoom, FaceTime -- and few place settings. Worse, for many older adults, isolation is a worsening health issue that we will hear more about as shutdowns continue and shut-in becomes the virtual norm.  In November, a long report (the third of 2020) called The Future of Remote Care Technology and Older Adults was published, the result of 30 interviews with executives from organizations large and very small. Here are five companies drawn from the report and beyond – all material is from the company websites:

Aging and Health Technology Watch 2020 Research – A Recap

A year that saw little travel but it was a good time to write.   Most would agree that this year was not what we expected.  Instead of continuing with business and event travel into March, HIMSS was canceled at the last minute and converted to a virtual event.  And so it went, for Argentum events and many other summits. And so it remains a virtual world.  So 2020 was a year that produced 5 white papers and three long research reports emerge – normally not feasible with so much here-and-there travel. By comparison, in 2019 one report, the 2019 Market Overview, was published, along with 2 long and 4 short white papers, listed under Research.  Here are the reports – looking forward to 2021!

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