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Five Health and Aging Blog Posts from August 2020

August in the time of Covid-19.  Normally at this time of year, one looks back at the summer just passing and ahead to the autumn of trade shows, travel, and even – gasp -- talking in person.  This year, the emergence of Work From Home (with an acronym WFH!) has isolated most in Zoom rooms and revealed decorating styles, bookshelves and intriguing wall art. The world’s largest annual trade event that many tech firms would spend the fall preparing for, CES in January 2021, has moved to all-online. The irreversible telehealth boom may be slowing and yet, older adults may be unable to benefit.  More from August 2020:

Voice tech is pervasive – for some, but hardware market adoption may be slowing. At the end of April, ninety million US adults were estimated to own smart speakers, one-third of consumers. The last published eMarketer survey in 2019 sized the software voice assistant market (Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa et al.) as penetrating one third of the US population – 111.8 million. But according to a late 2019 AARP survey, only 20% of the 50+ population use voice assistants – and for the 70+, only 12%. For those that have them, they are being used daily. What’s holding the others back? Typically, as in this podcast from 'This Week in ' about Aging in Place, one hears the concerns about security and privacy, no doubt because older people have expressed those concerns. Note that 51% of 5000 responders in this 2020 global marketing survey worry about voice assistants listening to them without their consent. Also note that the survey extended to boomers (those aged 56 to 74) who apparently cared less about this than younger people. Read more.

Companies and products worth noting in August. It may be the dog days of summer, but life and innovation move forward – and so it is with offerings to note that serve older adults. In particular, it is great to see the emergence of Primetime Partners, specifically focused on the aging-related market opportunity. The first, HomeEXCEPT was one missed at the time, emerging from a 2017 AARP Innovation Business Plan competition. The last was offered by a giant US network. Go figure.  Read more.

Approaching the 20th year in this job category, so let’s reflect. OPINION ON. Industry analysts wear many hats, but the primary role is to understand and communicate about a particular category market of companies/players. This includes writing market research documents (blogs, white papers, reports) about the categories that can help position them in comparison to each other and new entrants. It includes giving advice to current and new entrants. Analysts also do custom paid work for some of those companies– such as advisory sessions, surveys, webinars, speaking engagements, or white papers. Analyst firms typically publish market overviews -- for the tech sector, Gartner Magic Quadrant positioning, Forrester Wave or IDC market surveys. Read more.

Innovation for older adults – not keeping pace in the US. We get pretty excited when a new venture firm starts up in the US that focuses on older adults. One imagines that the phone there is ringing off the hook. Why? That makes at least three US VC firms, including Generator Ventures and Linkage Ventures, that acknowledge the older adult technology market, let alone fund early stage entrants. Consider that the 65-and-older population has grown by a third in the past decade – now at 54 million (or 16% of the US’ 328 million). Are three VCs enough to cultivate innovation needed to serve older adults, given the shortage of caregivers in homecare, home healthcare and senior living? And that’s today – never mind the projected growth of the segment in the coming years. Read more.

Lots of talk about remote care technologies. But will the 2020 crisis convert to actual technology change? So much has changed in recent months as a result of Covid-19 -- startling changes that previously were incremental. Consider reimbursement for telehealth technologies, a wave of free engagement software, distribution of tablets to senior centers and Echo Dots to senior living, to remote care voice tech for high needs seniors and government-funded competition to combat social isolation. And no doubt that's just a subset of what's happening as frantic attempts are made to close gaps in communication, care delivery, safety, social isolation and more. Read more.

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