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2019: What Technology Matters for Older Adults

In 2018, technology utilization grew – so did frustrations.  While Internet and social media technology use has plateaued over all age ranges, Facebook still has captured only 41% of the 65+.  Pew’s data showed that smartphone ownership still has not overtaken cellphones among the 65+.   In early 2019, AARP Research published a technology survey taken in 2018 which showed ownership of smartphones growing to 65% of the 65+.  However, that same survey revealed low trust in online safety, and generally low trust in institutions to keep their personal data safe, a justified worry, given the number of data breaches that occurred during 2018.

Competitions among innovators were held and won.  2018 was a banner year for competitions in the age-related categories.  ElliQ from Intuition Robotics won Best of Innovation at CES 2018. Embodied Labs (a VR offering) won AARP’s innovation pitch in October and Wavelet Health won the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit Business Plan competition. Ohmni Labs won the Global Startup Competition at Aging 2.0.   An Optimal Aging competition in Boston included several tech-enabled offerings as winners. RideRite, a bicycle handlebar designed by Virginia Tech students won a Stanford Longevity challenge.

Competition among Voice First tech giants were waged – did anyone win?  CES 2018 top competitor battle was between Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Spoiler alert, it was even more wacko at CES 2019.  Market share numbers were tossed around toward the end of 2018. Some thought was given to including Apple’s Siri, not an overachiever at that time. And Sonos  (Best Sound) will likely appear in 2019 bakeoffs, along with the distant but scrappy Bixby.

The 10-year anniversary of the Market Overview of Technology for Aging in Place. This annually-updated report will be reviewed during the next few weeks for what has changed; what no longer matters; and what firms, including startups, may matter over the next year to the older adult market segments.  If you have thoughts – please bring them forward about any new offerings in the categories of communication and engagement, home safety and security, health and wellness, learning and contribution, dementia care, home care, and caregiving apps. And if you think categories are missing or no longer matter, please speak up!