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2023 Market Overview (4 of 4): Technology Augments, Does not Replace Care

Technology solutions augment care – not replacing family or support. The categories of technology offerings help older adults age successfully and include independent market segments – each useful – but together, they complete a puzzle for a fulfilling and interactive life for older adults, enabled with the support of families and caregivers and include the sub-categories as shown in the examples at the end of the Technology for Aging 2023 Market Overview.  Care-related service organizations are taking a closer look at technologies that could help them cope more effectively with staffing shortages and other issues. However, as the photo history of phones shows, the trick is to select solutions, not tech, with staying power and support services to buffer organizations and individuals from the harshest impact of change.

2023 Market Overview (3 of 4) Advice to Vendors: It's Service, not Products

To reach older adults and their families, one go-to-market channel is not enough. Depending on the product or service, it may need a mix of resellers/distributors, face-to-face, and online sales. The 2022 FCC broadband progress map revealed the geographic areas of the US that lack high speed Internet access, and even if it were available, many do not go online, whether due to perceived lack of benefit, high cost, or low awareness. If that population needs a technology or service, such as access to benefits, their caregivers must search online on their behalf. Today if looking for assistive tech for older adults, today there are multiple options, including Amazon or Best Buy.  But new market entrants should find local partners to test product effectiveness before going national.

2023 Market Overview (2 of 4): Aging and Caregiving Policy Recommendations

Caregiving and other demands of an aging population are gaining attention. In a University of Michigan national poll in November, 2022, more than half of adults aged 50-80 say they have helped an adult aged 65+ with health, personal and other types of care needs. Another study noted that the average family caregiver is a baby boomer woman. Notable at the end of 2022, the Administration for Community Living published the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers.  In addition to the government-supported discount on broadband access, the report recommended “future-focused tools and assistive technology, such as smart homes, wearable blood pressure and heart monitoring devices, automated pill dispensers, e-learning modules, task management apps, speech amplification and adaptation systems, and geo-tracking.” Some of these tools are included among examples in the Technology for Aging 2023 Market Overview.

Insights from 2023 Market Overview Technology for Aging (1 of 4)

The 2023 Technology for Aging Market Overview is publishedWith the establishment of the term AgeTech at CES 2023, the formal interest in the market of offerings for older adults has now been established.  Investors are interested, startups are multiplying, and the landscape is favorable for new and intriguing offerings in the space.  And in some cases, the new offerings are coming from current players.  There are caveats, of course. Tech for all ages remains stubbornly difficult to use, whether it is the frequency of upgrades, the multiple steps to authenticate that the user is not a robot (including checking a box that one is not a robot!) and so it goes. We are not surprised at any of the barriers and pre-requisites we face to log on. And we know that new barriers are just around the corner.

From CES 2023 (2 of 2) - Six more tech offerings that serve older adults

It’s possible to participate in CES – and not be a startup.  While startups were MANY that sought a presence in the older adult technology marketplace, now known as AgeTech, many firms were there who had been at CES before. They went back because of the business benefits of being at the show, post-pandemic, with a chance to interact with some of the 115,000 attendees.  Observers can also watch the whole thing after the fact, like many from around the world will do. Here are six prior attendees in the older adult, wellbeing category that serves older adults. All information is from press releases or the company websites.

CES 2023 (1 of 2): Ten New Technologies for Older Adults

CES 2023 is, as the sponsors say, a wrap. Smaller by half (100,000) than in olden times, there were plenty of new tech offerings there. AARP sponsored an entire large area for its AgeTech Summit – talks and displays of new tech for an older adult market, cataloguing participants in an online directory. CTA Foundation (as part of CES and Eureka Park) sponsored its Accessibility Contest which featured tech for people with vision, hearing, or physical limitations. In other wrap-up non-surprises, entrepreneurs are shifting to the enterprise for funding, or that the digital health user experience is key to senior uptake. Meanwhile, AARP’s new trends report indicates that smartphone adoption has jumped, potentially over 80% for those aged 70+, no surprise given the 3G sunsetting and the need to replace old cellphones. Here are 10 new offerings of interest, all information from the company’s website or news articles:

ChatGPT – Consider asking a question in a post-Google-Ad world

Occasionally some tech really is NEW! At the end of November, the tech world figuratively-speaking fell over when the staggeringly well-funded AI tool, ChatGPT, was launched by OpenAI, its sponsor and creator .Within five days, a million were giving the tool a try – and who knows how many by now (six weeks later, perhaps more powerful servers are required). Trying to understand the utility of an AI tool that knows so much about so much, some bloggers like Margaret Manning are very excited at the possibilities. And some of the ‘best’ examples are posted.  Consider that ChatGPT’s data sets were loaded as of 2021 – so the newest information isn’t there, at least for now. It also provides charming but incorrect answers to many questions and has been ‘banned’ temporarily from some sites.  Bah, humbug.

One last look at 2022's important changes before CES

CES begins next week – but never mind – what mattered in 2022? The press releases for next week’s 2023 Consumer Electronics Show are stacking up. These will be featured in blogs over the next week or two. Weird and wacky, teeny-tiny, virtual, augmented, robotic, metaverse-y – remote this-and-that. Invented by young and old, the result of competitions and criteria -- for example, consider Eureka Park. They can be shepherded by organizations like AARP, appear in international exhibits like the Swiss pavilion, the Korean and beyond. For those attending, tennis shoes will be required. But before we dive into the startups next week, here is one more look at 2022 – what was notable during that could/might/will serve and help older adults?

What should Alexa Together do?

Amazon's Alexa Together was introduced at the very end of 2021 (just over one year ago!)  for remote monitoring of older family members. The product name choice was outstanding, even inspired, suggesting that using Alexa – a popular voice interface, made it possible to connect family members and to be aware of issues they might have when home alone. This was one of a series of ‘ambient’ offerings in the market (Vayyar Care, KamiCare, and Origin Wireless, among others).  This ambient technology (‘immersed in your surroundings, ready to help without any prompting’) was in contrast with wearables that required the user to do something – press a button to call for help. 

Looking ahead to 2023 -- what should we expect?

You saw and considered the 2022 Tech Trends. Each of these changes will make a difference for older adults and those who serve them. Consider what’s happened with over the counter hearing aids, now available in kiosks at retailers like Walmart and Rite Aid. Note that falls can be detected in a home without a wearable – via a wall-mounted device or through in-home Wi-Fi.

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