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San Francisco March 28, 2018

 

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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October 2017

Five technology offerings for older adults from Connected Health Boston 2017

An event for health tech vendors to reach other health tech vendors.  This event is an odd mix of technology service providers, health tech vendors (multiple categories), and startups looking to engage from a business partnership, channel, or solution set perspective. The event was preceded earlier in the year with a post about the Top Five Tech Trends in Healthy Longevity which include: Virtual Assistants, Virtual Coaching for Chronic Conditions, Caregiver Apps and Social Networks, Social Robots, and Virtual Reality.  And there were a number of exhibitors at the event that reinforced that trend list – some noted in previous blog posts.

October 2017: Research and Initiatives for Aging in Place

October is a busy month of events, new research and announcements.  All are back from vacation, media announcements in the aging-related space and new businesses are launching, like Lowe's announcement that it is expanding "technology for senior care" (a balanced bookend to the Best Buy's Smart Home announcement from July.)  New research was announced, new research and business innovation centers were launched. And that doesn't count the new product announcements or tech exhibitors from this or that event.  More on that later this month.  So here are five initiatives that were announced in October:

For boomers, there is no such thing as keeping up with tech change

When boomers are 84 – there will be no keeping up. Just the same as when they are 64.  Many boomers disagree with that statement, finding it insulting or pessimistic or both. They will repeat plaintively that baby boomers are very different than their parents’ generation. They are comfortable with technology. See how many have smartphones! They text, use Facebook and YouTube.  Many book travel online, read TripAdvisor reviews, and even call for car pickups with an app!  So what’s the problem? Tech change is occurring faster than boomers at 64 or 84 will want to use. Groups of people who used to participate in one social network will leave in 11 million-at-a-time droves and without explanation.  And, as with Facebook, the departed will include your children and grandchildren who left to use Instagram and Snapchat. They will leave without notice – the social network equivalent of changing a phone number – with parent/grandparent only learning about it when they tried to place a (now-obsolete) phone call. Eventually they will also leave those tools behind, and so on and so forth.

To help seniors in 2017 and beyond, monitor person AND the place

An age-old and old-age question. When this blog was launched in 2009, one of the opening salvos raised the question of sensors in the home or a PERS device on the body? Looking at that post, the companies have mostly changed.  In the monitor-place corner, Healthsense’s eNeighbor is now Lively Home, part of GreatCall. QuietCare was eventually folded into Care Innovations. Monitoring the person, Halo Monitoring became an offering as part of one of the earliest mobile PERS companies, MobileHelp.  Monitor the place argument was based on the reality that seniors don’t always wear the pendant.  Monitor person acknowledged that seniors leave the place and are out and about. Both are crisp, make good presentations and set up message for selling. Both are inadequate arguments for what older adults need, and what providers of all types should provide.

Innovation today: Making tech you don’t want, can’t use or doesn’t work

Rant on.  Forcing tech onto the customer is standard operating procedure for companies. Because of advertiser pressure, for example, we have to make an effort to stop auto-playing videos in news feeds, news sites, ads, etc. – completely missing the possibility that the viewer might be staring at a smartphone in the train’s quiet car, or up early when a spouse is still asleep.  Or worse, the news feed shows a video that no one should ever see --but has yet to be taken down by one of the 3000 take-it-down new hires

Why don’t home care agencies offer tech support?

Maybe Best Buy has an idea worth copying from Amazon. In 2015, Amazon introduced Amazon Home Services, which fairly recently added tech services, including sending a local tech professional to your home. The work might be setting up a router; connections for 4 devices; password protection; and use and troubleshooting instructions. Recently, Best Buy launched Assured Living, a service to help long-distance adult children monitor older family members’ well-being, including setting them up with smart home technologies (costing as much as $1000 for all of them), possibly some of the list is in the ‘official’ definition. Oh yeah, and there is a service charge of $1/day.

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