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The cellphone (50 years old) connects everyone

The cell phone – imagine a connected life without it. The story of that invention, particularly the context of an AT&T monopoly of the time period, is instructive about what it takes to get an innovation into the market – when many are involved, including government agencies; and obstacles, in-house and competitors, are all around.  According to interviews and his many anecdotes in his book, Cutting the Cord, Marty Cooper, aged 94, it was just one thing after the other to get the cellphone fully designed, manufactured, and into the marketplace as a mobile phone – when even his own company, Motorola, thought that the car phone market was the real opportunity.  Motorola’s own estimates of the cell phone market opportunity in the 1970’s was a wild underestimation, predicting that millions of devices sold.  Today the total number is closer to 18 billion phones worldwide. Many of those users in other countries own no other device.

AI and the Future of Care Work

Care workers – it’s not a shortage – it’s a crisis.  People who need care workers will tell you – the media will tell you, and the industry will tell you. From the national home care associations, a report in March: “The workforce shortage in home-based care has reached crisis proportions. Despite the best efforts of industry leadership and management, the gap between the numbers of patients and families seeking assistance and the availability of workers to provide that care is accelerating at an unsustainable pace. Home health care providers currently report turning away over 25% of referred patients due to staff shortages.” 

Regulation of AI -- will it happen in the US (seems unlikely). Should it?

The past few weeks have brought broad-based wails of AI anxiety.  Last week in a meeting with some senior execs, there it was again – warning about scams, exploitation and worse. Then there is the AI laundry list of anxieties that keeps the media busy.  Note the hearings in Congress that raise questions and obtain carefully worded answers meant to allay widely shared fears. A regulatory framework has emerged (2 years ago) in Europe, with the purpose of helping Europe become a hub for AI innovation. The US government is interested in regulation, more for prevention, it seems, than to spawn innovation. But will it work? See social media.  

More than a decade ago -- a look at the Future of Home Care Technology

An optimistic view of home care’s future as seen from 2012. Several times in the past decade, interviews were conducted with experts that lead to some reports about the home care industry. This chart came from a report, The Future of Home Care Technology 2012 that was sponsored by Microsoft, Verizon and LivHome, in 2012. And represents a vision for home care and what technology should support.  To build this chart, interviews were conducted that included  senior execs from Philips, the VA, Visiting Nurse Services, home care associations, Home Instead, Volunteers of America, and several home care organizations. As seen in 2012, the future of home care would transform, supported by software.  Some of these changes occurred, particularly care delivery in the home, the growing adoption of health-related portals:

AARP's AgeTech Collaborative -- mobility offerings 2023

What is the AARP AgeTech Collaborative? AARP’s AgeTech Collaborative launched in 2021 with a splash (and 50 startups) that has widened into an age wave, or a sort of Match.com for age-related companies to find others, including collaborators, sponsors, pilots, and more. Today’s collection includes 104 companies, many of whom have gone through the AgeTech Collaborative Accelerator process, including pitch competition, Accelerator program enabling entry into the AgeTech Collaborative program. The categories span Caregiving, FemTech, Health, Mobility, Savings & Planning, and Social Connections.

Did you miss one? Aging and Health Blog Posts from May 2023

The AI hype cycle is distracting everyone. That is inclusive of very large companies. And doubts continue to emerge in the media that make it seem like we are in the slough of despond, otherwise known as the low point of the Gartner Hype Cycle. Note the concerted efforts to find and publicize deficiencies and mistakes, reinforcing the premise that it is too early for benefits across industries like senior living or home care. But it’s not too early, as the new report, The Future of AI and Older Adults 2023, points out through interviews with those deploying conversational AI and machine learning technology today.  And from the other May blog posts:

Your platform, yourself – the splintering of interaction tool choices

Rant on. So there is an upcoming meeting to attend.  Now let’s see -- will it be conducted in Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, Webex, GoToMeeting or something else?  Will the meeting invite be visible to my calendar, which has Google’s 500 million users – or do I need to place myself on the calendar of the person who asked to speak with me (10 million users) and request that it also be sent to my calendar?  Will it be a short Zoom meeting, cut off abruptly at 40 minutes because the participant leading only has the free version? Or will it be a conference-specific event management technology in which all interactions will be buried inside the must-look-at software?

Older Adults will benefit from AI -- sooner rather than later

AI and older adults – powerful if enabled. There are few limits to the possible benefits of AI in its many forms, conversational, generative, Chatbots and more. Some say that we are in The Golden Age of AI. But constraints faced now and in coming years are beginning to emerge from public and political debates about privacy, ethics and proposed regulation. They will be coupled with the lagging pace of institutions, particularly healthcare, to change aging systems that can help realize the benefits. Within five years, however, it is inevitable that the role of this tech revolution in our lives and those of older adults will enable changes in society’s focus, occurring in and across multiple domains. The following domains will add AI (via voice or other interaction modes) to services, including:

A decade later -- Next Generation Response Systems have arrived

The more things change in the PERS/medical alert industry… Long ago (10 years, to be exact), a survey report plus future market predictions was published.  From website review, the cash cow world of medical alert devices and recurring revenue appears from the outside to be largely unchanged. On the LifeAlert website, the woman is still falling and can’t get up. Medical Guardian also informs that every 11 seconds, 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ experience a fall-related injury. The National Council on Aging site, NCOA features medical alert vendor comparisons in which the vendor earns a commission if purchased through the site. Vendors still claim a that market penetration is still low, that only 8% of seniors believe they need such a device, a helpful persuasion tactic to motivate security dealers and retailers.

From New Report: Future of AI and Older Adults

New report published - Future of AI and Older AdultsFrom the findings: One of the media-fueled risks today with the plethora of AI-related hype is the tendency to find and publicize deficiencies and mistakes, reinforcing the premise that it is too early for benefits across industries like senior living or home care. This cycle was not helped by the behavior of earlier AI technologies like voice assistants. And there are barriers that need to be addressed to realize the full potential, which is not yet fully understood. These include:

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