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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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baby boomers

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baby boomers

Tracking the trackers -- the need for Boomer Health Tech Watch

Digital health tech is the answer – but what are the questions? What new gadgets and apps can make consumers take better care of their own health?  What are the gadgets and apps that help doctors take care of consumers?  Let’s assume that the combination of tech that helps consumers and doctors equals Digital Health.  In this emerging world, do doctors encourage consumers to give these new apps and gadgets a try? What is the digital technology uptake among the worried well and the not-so-well boomer population – a giant and amorphous demographic blob that some marketers want to cultivate.  Even if we added those modifiers that help divide boomers into cohorts – words like caregiving, wealthy, unmarried, educated, grandparents, rural -- it is a challenge for innovators to peer through the just right Digital Health lens and see clearly who is targeted, what they need, and who will pay for the next new thing.

Work and jobs -- where is the Studs Terkel of today?

Will the next mid-life crisis be at 75?  Sixty is the new sixty, says Marc Freedman. Attending a recent event, I was an audience member exhorted to consider the ever-greater expansion of time available to make sure that it is time well-lived. What does that mean in the context of life’s purpose, whether we are prepared to competently approach our very long retirement years with not-enough-saved or will we have an encore career or two? He quoted the comment of an older adult about their potentially very long future: "I’m on my next-to-last dog." Working part time – is that a next-to-last career? Volunteering – is that a career?  In one session I heard the word 'work' used for effort that is "paid or unpaid."  How mangled is our language that volunteering without pay is now called working?

Making ease of use the default for new product design

Do designers of new products seriously consider ease of use?  As the December buying frenzy fizzles, we are often reminded that 70% of the US economy is driven by consumer spending. We are not reminded too often about the Longevity Economy -- that 90+ million people are 50+, have most of the money, own most of the homes and cars, and thus buy the most of everything, including technology. And even the growth of social media shifts older - the fastest growing segment of Facebook users are aged 65+, Facebook has apparently saturated and/or bored teenager segments who have moved on, at least for now, to other stuff. So as some of you head off to CES exhibit halls this coming week, please consider the product user interface of what you see. Look at the TV, 'white hot' wearables, fitness devices, car tech, the ironically-titled not-so-smart phones, tablets, the health apps that apparently will eclipse the TVs.  Count the demos you see of products you could characterize as simple, elegant, easy-to-use designs for all ages, including those who need to put on their reading glasses to read the manual or the 70% of adults who suffer eye strain peering at their devices.  

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