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Voice, Health, and Well-being – Launching a New Report for 2020

It’s a given -- Voice First will be even more pervasive in 2020. The rapid growth of the market for voice-enabled technologies has been a phenomenon within the past two years that can understand spoken requests and commands, answer questions, and even offer scheduled alerts.  Industry firms like Gartner expect that the combination of natural language processing, AI, and speech recognition are driving significant growth in adoption of voice technology across multiple dimensions. Speech recognition, for example, will penetrate 80% of mobile devices by 2020.   Some describe this trend of developing software for voice-enabled device user interfaces as Voice First.

Voice First in health -- examples proliferate – is this a fad, or is there staying power?  You can’t turn around without encountering another example. Startups (37) are building voice apps; consider that voice skills seem to be populating like weeds in healthcare; the big vendors want to be popping up at the bedside in patient care, and of course, all this deployment will change healthcare. But is that true? A research report project launches in September that will seek answers to these and other questions. The process will incorporate interviews with 20-30 experts/stakeholders. 

Why tackle the topic of voice, health, and well-being?  This research is a follow-on report to the 2018 Future of Voice First Technology and Older Adults. The research/report process seeks to understand the role that voice-activated technologies can play in monitoring and improving health, engaging multiple age groups, including boomer-senior adults living at home or in senior living. The scope and details of the topic are subject to shaping by report sponsors, but may also consider younger age groups and how they may benefit from Voice First support in disease management; or how individuals respond to health and well-being suggestions based on profiles, interactions and feedback. The report may attempt to answer, among other questions:

  • What is the opportunity for voice assistants as envisioned by health care providers?
  • What’s new in the use of voice-enabled technology for home healthcare, outpatient healthcare services and monitoring or encouraging well-being?
  • What are the different types of voice-enabled services/scenarios for home health, home care, senior living, or outpatient care?
  • What’s next and who (or what organizations) will be involved?

Your thoughts are welcome. In a rapidly changing technology segment like this, no one person or organization can see clearly what is happening or what may happen next.  Please feel free to comment directly to this post or send thoughts to laurie@ageinplacetech.com. The goal of this project is to complete interviews in Q4 and publish the report in early Q1 2020.  Thanks in advance for your help and thoughts.


Read your post about the report and a couple of other related articles and have some initial thoughts:

  • Currently very fragmented environment with multiple point solutions apps (skills) and wide spectrum of players (healthcare organizations, startups) – hindering holistic/integrated solutions?
  • HIIPA compliance needed – will it restrict technology development and limit benefits? Look to Finance industry to ideas and solutions?
  • User centric design – critical to apply user experience and stories for design. Need skilled UI designers engaged and coupled with skilled marketing people who know how to segment the user base – should it be by chronic disease, location usage, propensity to use tools?
  • Categorize levels of interactions – critical (fall, heart attack, low blood sugar), warning (heart rate), encouraging (reminder to stand) including how to keep engagement vs being annoyed
  • Boomer age group is so large and changing the way aging is being thought about (in many good ways), it appears to be often treated as one big group without segmentation – it is not a one size fits all.
  • Problems to be solved are not unique to the age group, might be more prevalent but same problems exist in other age groups so designing for the over 65 group with preconceived assumptions is faulty.