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Time to ask what technology should be in the home of older adults?

Tech-enabling home care is one lens on future of care.  Venture capitalists listen carefully for trends fueled by talk in the media.  During the past several years, they heard plenty -- about the longevity economy and an investment-related network, digital health watchers like Rock Health and Startup Health 'moonshots', and all things boomer and their tech interest about the future. So they saw home care as a growth opportunity.  Buried in and mostly around the wave of investment and media interest in boomers (oldest age in 2017 is 71), the tech industry also noodled a bit more about the over-hyped Internet of Things, emerging voice recognition technologies, and technology adoption trends (everybody except for those aged 75+).

Are care recipients tech-enabled enough to participate in their care? Despite the tech fluff cycle, some people, particularly older adults, may just not be buying the fact that the future is on their phone.  Discounting smartphone carrier plans and the useful irritant/irritating utility of the phones themselves still doesn’t penetrate the oldest age segments. That may be what fueled flip-phone sales in 2015 and what keeps that device segment buzzing along. What other technology for an older population may have had a better chance of success if inventors and innovators had looked more broadly at the target market?

Ecosystems matter – note those for the older adult segments. Considering price and simplicity, it is striking that so many consumer offerings enter the marketplace neither simple nor properly priced – meanwhile the consumer tech industry growth is slowing – not just in smartphones and tablets, but all tech -- software and hardware. Per that Accenture survey, no surprise, price points, security breaches, and ease of use (or lack thereof) matter to consumers. As is often the case with market research, the report does not break down age categories about this stalling growth, but in the advice section, it notes the importance of ecosystems. That means partnerships among the user constituents, between senior housing companies and home care, between health care providers and home care, between home service companies and online marketplaces -- and related service offerings.

A year later – time for revision to the Market Overview of Technology for Aging in Place. This annually-updated report will be reviewed during February 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!


HI Laurie;  No surprise that i would suggest that you segment the aging in place population into those who are aging in relatively good health status vs. those aging with disabilities.  For size of this market, please check out Jane Norman's article, "The Aging Population: A Crisis In Plain Sight." From there, I would argue that there is a unique opportunity for embedding sensors within the assistive equipment that those aging with disabilities use for mobility and a variety of self-care tasks. As the equipment is used (i.e., the Early sense Mattress captures important biometrics as someone sleeps or rests in bed), data can be captured, trended and "not expected" values used to alert clinicians.  Investigative work is in early stages at Carnegie Mellon re a "smart walker."  Using my My own innovative "SELF-LIFT&TRANSFER" bedside commode, ThePPAL, as an example, it is a question of applying the research being done in academic research labs with the business know-how of the home medical equipment sector.  ThePPAL patent protects the right to note such things of the frequency with which the commode is used, "attitude" of the tethered slide board for PT purposes, and as phototonics improves, urinalysis and fecal analysis of the contents of the commode when used. (Please see work underway at Stanford re photographing the color-coded results of paper-based urine testing, pursued due to the importance of intervening quickly if kidney function begins to be compromised.) All would be done passively, designed to function as the equipment is used.  This innovation is currently under agreement with Edison Nation Medical for negotiation of a licensing agreement. 

Much appreciated!

Smartphones have made digital personalized service system integration possible by digitally locating, singulating, and identifying individual consumers.  But the smartphone has proven to be an automation bottle neck because aggregating and managing the variety and mix of available services into complete solutions is tedious and requires too many manual steps, introducing delays and errors, while making system optimization impossible. For older consumers, smartphones have also proven to be impediments to accessing new services.

Personal assistance technologies (intelligent personal assistants) are shifting personal consumption management from smartphones and PCs to the cloud services environment where the logistics processing can be automated, and where interface processes can also be automated.  Any and all personal digital devices become interface devices.

Personal logistics system integration tools, and personal digital devices are sprouting like mushrooms in Silicon Valley. Intelligent Personal Assisted Living Systems integrators are work gluing the fragments together.   

IPALS.  Is it a new segment, or is the in-home health care industry the new segment?