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12/03/2016

Aspire Health software aspires to do so.

11/29/2016

The still-private company is now generating over $250 million in annual revenue.

11/25/2016

90 age-discrimination suits reflect growing issue for tech industry.

11/22/2016

Seniors who find themselves alone just when aging and end-of-life care becomes real.

11/16/2016

Effort aims to help seniors assess their social connectedness.

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

Six possible technologies from CES 2016 – Part 1

Find the needle in the CES haystack.  That’s not easy, since there were 3200 exhibits last year and 170,000 attendees, with this year’s totals for the show not out just yet.   The Consumer Technology Association -- renamed from Consumer Electronics Association -- wants to be new, as the 500 startups in the Eureka Park exhibit area must have figured out by now. And the plethora of health exhibitors and speakers at the Digital Health Summit act as testimony to the importance of health and then there are the CES essentials: stereo/headphones, smartphones, sensor/wearables, smarter cars, sensory experiences and sleep -- not necessarily together or in that order. And the mostly young attendees will be excited to find an age suit to add 40 years to their age. No kidding.

Connectivity is a Social Determinant of…Everything

Information is online – people need to be there too.  News, bank branches, health advice, streaming radio, borrowing books from libraries– it’s all making inroads in our connected lives.  Consider: Netflix has 42 million US subscribers, half of Americans have listened to Internet radio. But what is the significance of fewer people having broadband access in their homes? Broadband access has a correlation between well-being and wellness (hats off to that Health Populi post!).  Is it the link between being over 50 and finding a job? Perhaps you are checking online to protect from Internet fraud; verifying that an identity hasn’t been stolen; checking out an eBook or using another online service from a library; including training on how to use the Internet. Or perhaps you are buying from the dominant US retail growth engine – hint, it's not Walmart, but Amazon.

Five key trends driving 2016 technology for older adults

A look back to look forward.  Consider the context for 2016 innovation, despite (or as a result of) a still-erratic economy, and smaller-cheaper-better base technologies. At the same time, the assisted living industry watches residential age climbing – over half now are 85+. So the desire (or perhaps the only option) to age at home has further intensified. That has created opportunities like the AARP and Leading Age funds; research initiatives like Baycrest and Philips AgingWell; and startup pitch events like Louisville Innovation Summit, or Aging 2.0. Based on looking back at 2015, here then are five categories of trends for 2016:

What mattered -- blog posts in aging and technology in 2015

2015 was an intriguing year for technology and aging. The market opportunity has become more apparent, as the oldest boomers reached aged 69.  Just for instance: there were multiple age-related fund launches; home care with tech underpinnings began to attract the lemming-like VCs; PERS offerings began to be integrated; speaking to devices (not typing) became increasingly possible; smartphones became tablet alternatives; senior housing organizations attempted re-branding of their offerings, likely to better match boomerdom. As we get closer to 2016 and summarizing key forward-looking trends, consider blog posts from 2015.

Consider aging tech and service long-term successes

When firms collapse noisily, peers notice.  Last week several firms commented (anonymously and by name) on the failure of Lively, a sensor-based home monitoring hub that tried too late to pivot into the PERS industry. Why do startups fail, anyway?  In this industry, it appears more often than not that the founders believed they were different from the other players in the market (Lifecomm or AtGuardianAngel); that consumers would shop in BestBuy for an unfamiliar category (Wellcore); that a celebrity would make a big difference (Floh Club).

Curating quality and value of health apps

We (will) want to use apps and wearables to care for ourselves.  The tech industry sees the potential – even as it is unsure how to move the market along. In December, a non-profit startup spun out of MIT with plans to curate health apps for consumers -- versus used by health professionals.

Aging in place tech firm Lively is out of business – what can we learn?

Lively’s failure is making other market entrants nervous – so let’s consider.  This past week, the remaining assets (no people) of the Silicon Valley firm Lively (mylively.com) were acquired. So let’s take a few moments and reflect on what might have happened. What can startups and current players learn from this? Actually, not too much -- Lively was not typical of the industry it entered. It was founded in late 2012, launching in the spring of 2013 and sank quickly, going out of business just last week.

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So wrong: Japan’s hope for the tech-enabled and robotic aging life

Remember the Cyberdine demo of HAL at ASA some years ago? The Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) was designed by a venture firm in Japan to help a wheelchair-bound individual stand and move. It was very cool. It was priced at that time (2009) at around $5000. By 2014, the device could be rented for the equivalent of $1400/month. And now it has again been modified. This time, according to the WSJ article about Japanese demographics, the country needs its older laborers to work substantially longer. So a 67-year-old worker in the construction industry can stack wood just like someone half his age. Yay. And then there is the charming Pepper robot, selling for an equivalent of $1600, leading recreational activities in senior housing, charming the residents. In Japan, 13% of the population is 75+, and in another statistic, 15% of the 'elderly' population has dementia.

Hearables -- hearing technology for boomers and beyond

The numbers are daunting -- must have been those rock bands in the 60s and 70s.  Hearing loss is a big problem among baby boomers -- but their propensity to solve it with hearing aids? Not so much. In 2012, there were 4.5 million of those aged 50-59 with hearing loss, but only 4.5% wearing hearing aids. Hearing aids are associated with the stigma of aging -- but facts are facts. Hearing issues may be attributed to overly loud rock bands from long ago.  Hearing aids are costly and typically not covered by insurance, irritating to wear -- just a few reasons cited by various sources. But those serving the boomer health market, take heed -- once boomers are seniors and take their untreated hearing loss with them into older age ranges, their gait is also impacted, and we know with gait issues comes the risk of falling -- and we know how health risks and costs rise with the frequency and severity of falls. Here are some recent technology introductions that can enhance the ability to hear -- text is from the companies' own material:

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Is aging in place technology at the 2.0 stage -- or beyond?

In the exhibit hall, there is often hope, sometimes disappointment. Startups hope for a committed investor, the inked partnership. Or perhaps a positive nod from a health firm or senior-housing community -- sell-once, deploy-many. At the mHealth Summit, now a HIMSS property as part of the multi-show Connected Health Summit, the obvious signal sent by HIMSS was its lack of interest in mobile and wearable mHealth – the summit was just one of several events scheduled at the same time. Attendees looked at the relatively limited scale of the show, noted its IT emphasis, compared to previous – some very big players did not even bother to participate (Walgreens, but not CVS?). Too much health IT, not enough mhealth? Or is all health tech now actually health IT?

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