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For seniors, what are the negative impacts from rapid technology change?

Social isolation has grown for the older and/or less tech-savvy segments.  This has been a result of tech replacements that are more difficult to use, whether it is the cost of Wi-Fi connection, excessive device screen sensitivity, screen size, the continuous need for OS upgrades or software updates, many of them security-related as hacker threats grow.  Older adults and those who care about them examine this landscape and wonder what can be done because:

  • Cost is too high versus the benefit of technology improvement.  Most people replace their smartphones after 2-3 years – even though the phone life is more like 4.7 years for smartphones and feature phones. But 24 million clamshell (flip) phones sold in 2016, 2 million more than in 2015 – while seniors make up a big percentage of users, others like, $20 price tag, superior telephone call form factor and the long battery life – in contrast to the $800+ smartphone, need for a headset, and daily, if not more frequent, charging requirement.    
  • Tech-enabled threats drive fear and more updates. Tracking malware has become a business unto itself – one fifth of devices breached and 1.5 million new incidents detected in just one quarter in 2017. In fact, a quarter of those device owners did not even know that their device had been under attack.Often the malware is embedded in ads inside publications older adults trust – an email attachment inadvertently sent by someone they know or in a website they trust.

So what is the solution to help the older population stay better connected? 

Stay tuned for next month's Future of Voice First Technology and Older Adults 2018 Report.

And as always, thoughts welcome.

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