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Tech firms giveth to innovation for seniors – and taketh away

Sometimes the biggest firms lose interest in older adults almost immediately.  Rant on.That was Amazon 50+. And some, like Apple, never get started, despite interest from their supporters or an integrator like IBM.  Others might get started thinking about a good idea – but within a year or so, executives hold a meeting and one of them says – 'What? What? When did we start to focus on older adults?' How is that a growth proposition, especially for the oldest old?  And so the companies get started, move a bit and/or cancel the effort altogether. Or like Google, they focus on the really far-end of the aging continuum – solving death.


  • Tech and loneliness among older adults – what about Yahoo! or Microsoft?  Would this market be considered by one-time portal vendors -- like Yahoo! -- perhaps? Perhaps not. At one point in the distant past, Microsoft had employees assigned to the task of helping older adults conquer technology – they published a guide which has now been reduced to a web page. But Microsoft also had a Virtual Senior Center. Now that is the purview of SelfHelp in NYC – the Microsoft role is silent. On Microsoft’s own pages, the remaining online material is about Assistive Technology and the references are to other sites like Boundless Assistive Technology or EnableMart – which then dead-ends when the topic is not about school-age children.

Comments

Thank you for always " telling it like it is" out there in the world of
technology.  Refreshing!

Your "rants" are appreciated and needed!
Keep up your important work.
Sheila

Would part of the problem be that companies become discouraged as they realize that seniors are not buying the products they have created.  I repeat my suggestion that tech folks should start with the unmet needs out there perhaps reading  "Catalyzing Technology to Support Family Caregivjng," noting that helping with Activities of Daily Living is one of the major care challenges - Perhaps a focus on embedding remote patient monitoring capacity within the devices used to help with these tasks, and working with the equipment designers to promote self-care/mobility - maybe then innovation would receive a warm welcome.  

Laurie, spot on. The flip side to the story is ... were there [enough] sales? Which can also be viewed as ... Was there enough value presented? With emphasis on presented, ie was there enough marketing behind these senior tech solutions? At Independa, we're building it for ourselves! :-).