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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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November 2017

It's the season: Considering tech gifts for older adults

Warning -- this is not a blog post about what to give.  There are plenty of click-bait websites, like 5 Cool Gifts or 25 Great Tech Gifts or even a list described as "The Perfect Gifts for Grandma and Grandpa" -- really? Maybe these are the perfect gifts – or perhaps for some family members, the FirstStreet list is appropriate. Among all of these lists, there might be some intriguing items that might be welcome. And don’t forget a set of portable batteries – extremely useful for devices during power outages. Okay that is enough about the What – and For Whom.  

Considering the Future of "Voice-First" and Older Adults

Voice-First. The rapid growth of the market for voice-enabled technologies, sparked by the popularity of the Amazon Echo, has the potential to be as disruptive a technology change as any that preceded it. Some are describing this new trend for devices and software is known as Voice-First, that is, the primary interface to the technology is spoken. These offerings are found within hardware, some of which is designed to include Smart Home features. Examples include the ‘smart speaker’ Amazon Echo product line, Google Home, and in 2018, Apple HomePod. And Voice-First is built into software such as new smart, personal, digital, and virtual assistants. Note examples that are part of platform ecosystems: Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Samsung’s Bixby, and Google Assistant. The category also includes voice interaction with devices as disparate as wearables, tablets, security alarms, healthcare interactions, and cars.  Since this is an early, even Version 1.1 market, many more Voice-First examples are forthcoming, maybe even next week!

Today’s Big Tech vendors give Tech a bad name

You remember Big Pharma.  Not long ago we heard a lot about it. This widely used term was once coined about the largest drug companies, often with the biggest direct-to-consumer advertising budgets, malpractice suits, lobbying budgets, fines, political influence and of course, sizable profits.  When it was newsworthy to talk about it, the Big Pharma image was tarnished by too much negative media attention. And so the industry works harder at maintaining a low-key profile as it continues with business as usual.   Big Pharma spends money on public relations and marketing -- $21 billion anticipated in 2016 alone. 

Six technologies from 2017 Aging 2.0 and GuideWell Innovation

Two November events highlight competitions and new firms.  GuideWell Innnovation's Health+Accel event in Orlando concluded on November 3 with a pitch competition from "GuideWell Innovation CoRE. During the first four days, entrepreneurs obtained insight into the dynamic needs and relationships between insurers and providers, discover unique opportunities within the space and explore best practices from experienced industry leaders."  And Aging 2.0's Optimize event this week in San Francisco offering "cutting edge content, networking and partnership opportunities to make this a high-value event for anyone interested in innovation and aging." Combing through the companies featured in each competition, here are examples of six startups that have not previously been mentioned on this site, some of which may not yet be available. The material is from the startups themselves:

Ten Tips For Launching A Product or Service - November, 2017

So you want to launch a boomer/senior, home health tech product, caregiving marketplace, or caregiver advisory service.   Or other. Your new company gets ready to travel into battle for west coast networking, or you're back from Orlando or Boston, consider this guidance, now that cards have been exchanged and follow-up emails sent. Soon your new or existing company will officially launch a new product or service, or a much-anticipated offering will finally ship. You read AARP and Pew survey research reports, used a magnifying glass to see the vendors identified in Caregiving Innovation Frontiers. Now look over this November 2017 updated checklist. Are you ready?

Devices – Behold the Magnitude of Sound, Picture, Video

Voice first – and voice everywhere.  You may be hearing it – will 50% of all searches soon (2020) be by voice?  Makes you shudder thinking about restaurants and airport gates.  In fact, voice interactions are already all around us. Although estimates vary widely, consider the 18.8 million Amazon Echo and 15.7 million Google Home devices possibly sold.   Or count Siri listening on the 85 million iPhones, or 107 million Android phones all listening if you enable them. Oh, and you use the appropriate wake word for the device (Hey! Okay! Hello! Alexa!).Hopefully you don't hear all devices simultaneously saying "I didn’t understand that" or reading you a long Wikipedia entry just in case.

Six Tech and Aging Blog Posts -- October, 2017

October – when trade shows ramped up; vacations ramped down. Behold the press release.  As the season of shows begins, rental trucks with exhibits roll up, presenters rev up their presentation skills and the big decisions are made.  To walk around the stage or not?  Take questions in real time or answer them afterward? Announce the partnerships in one release or multiple?  These and other imponderables are perplexing.  And as some events loom ahead, for example, LeadingAge, Aging 2.0 in a few, and then the cacophony of CES. Can you imagine the sonic racket from those smart speakers? Anyway, here are the six blog posts from October.

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