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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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February 2012

Mobile devices and data everywhere, not a drop of information to drink

The mobile device projections are in – and they’re big, REALLY big.  This may just be bigger than the recent and trendy thoughts on the Internet of Things (which was observed by Forrester 11 years ago), and reminds one that it is tough to keep a good phrase down.  So let’s look at three mobile device examples, in descending order of the date predictions they specify, and as described in news articles:

The future of aging and tech via the lens of today's seniors

Surveys drive assumptions, not always correct.  Let’s imagine a world in which a survey organization deliberately sampled technology use beginning with adults aged 65 and peaking at age 100. Yeah, right. The most frequent sampler, Nielsen Wire, begins at 18 and winds down at “65+.” And they are not alone. From these and other surveys, we are often led to believe that a thirty year range of seniors buy and behave exactly the same. Now consider how silly we’d find studies that lumped 20-year-olds and 50-year-olds into the same behavioral buying bucket.

Transcending tech’s targets to craft senior applications

Let’s push the limits of intended tech markets. Pondering the pundits on the latest iThis and the newest fitThat, let’s turn the viewing lens to how the cool and the new could be re-purposed or extended to help seniors. No change needs to be made to hardware, typically, just a tweak here to existing apps – or a new app, that would do the job – feel free to go forth and to market with:

Ah, Google: the software is free – you, not so much

We are so lucky in the ‘cloud’ – vendors upgrade, with or without us. It must have been a thorn in the side of Google engineering that they had separate privacy policies for each of their products. And they were probably plagued by inconsistent contact handling between Gmail, Gmail chat, Google+, and their boatload of acquired companies (like Youtube, DoubleClick, Feedburner, etc.) As they simplify their own maintenance workload beginning on March 1, this streamlining could be an interesting challenge for users.  Many ‘features’ and new defaults may startle -- and not in a positive way.

Creating the ‘Ah Ha!’ Moment

I was reading Joe Coughlin’s recent column It’s the Services Stupid! and realized that I sorta agree with him and sorta don’t. Putting AIP tech into retail settings doesn’t work yet. There are a number of vendors out there who have products in Best Buy and other major retail stores and have found it doesn’t add a lot to their sales bottom line. Instead:

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