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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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cell phones, smartphones

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cell phones, smartphones

Five 2018 technology opportunities in tech for older adults

2017 was an interesting year -- 2018 should overcome a few obstacles.  Probably the most significant innovation during 2017 was the growth of the Voice First technology market -- but judging by the aisles of gadgets in places like Best Buy, everything else is changing as well. CES is next week, and with it more speakers, TVs, and gadgetry than is seen in Best Buy or anywhere else during the year.  But even as technology leapfrogs and crawls forward, obstacles to broad adoption for older adults remain. Hopefully interest in mitigating social isolation among older adults will lead to the role technology could play. But to make a real difference, here's a look at five areas for improvement in 2018:

Consider the White Paper -- it lasts more than a moment in time

Consider the white paper -- more content than a tweet or blog post. White papers have long been viewed as content marketing vehicles, intended to showcase a product or concept relevant to the firm’s customers and prospects. According to Jonathan Kantor, a 15-year white paper marketing veteran, "white papers can be used to generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case, or inform and persuade." Experts note that even in the age of Twitter and social media, white papers still matter; they can be fulfilled from website registrations, tweeted, or emailed to prospects. They can also take up long-term residence on a a firm's website. White papers may offer content that educates (not sells), expanding on an idea or a point of view as well as a product or service. Here are summaries of five researched white papers that were published in 2017, with the newest first, plus links back to the sponsoring company:

It's the season: Considering tech gifts for older adults

Warning -- this is not a blog post about what to give.  There are plenty of click-bait websites, like 5 Cool Gifts or 25 Great Tech Gifts or even a list described as "The Perfect Gifts for Grandma and Grandpa" -- really? Maybe these are the perfect gifts – or perhaps for some family members, the FirstStreet list is appropriate. Among all of these lists, there might be some intriguing items that might be welcome. And don’t forget a set of portable batteries – extremely useful for devices during power outages. Okay that is enough about the What – and For Whom.  

Amplified and Captioned Phones Featured in New Publication from Harris Communications

11/07/2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minnesota –November 7, 2017 –  Harris Communications, Inc., a leading supplier of affordable hearing loss solutions, recently published a new brochure highlighting amplified phones and captioned phones for the hard of hearing. View a digital copy of the brochure at http://bit.ly/2y60xJJ.

Devices – Behold the Magnitude of Sound, Picture, Video

Voice first – and voice everywhere.  You may be hearing it – will 50% of all searches soon (2020) be by voice?  Makes you shudder thinking about restaurants and airport gates.  In fact, voice interactions are already all around us. Although estimates vary widely, consider the 18.8 million Amazon Echo and 15.7 million Google Home devices possibly sold.   Or count Siri listening on the 85 million iPhones, or 107 million Android phones all listening if you enable them. Oh, and you use the appropriate wake word for the device (Hey! Okay! Hello! Alexa!).Hopefully you don't hear all devices simultaneously saying "I didn’t understand that" or reading you a long Wikipedia entry just in case.

For boomers, there is no such thing as keeping up with tech change

When boomers are 84 – there will be no keeping up. Just the same as when they are 64.  Many boomers disagree with that statement, finding it insulting or pessimistic or both. They will repeat plaintively that baby boomers are very different than their parents’ generation. They are comfortable with technology. See how many have smartphones! They text, use Facebook and YouTube.  Many book travel online, read TripAdvisor reviews, and even call for car pickups with an app!  So what’s the problem? Tech change is occurring faster than boomers at 64 or 84 will want to use. Groups of people who used to participate in one social network will leave in 11 million-at-a-time droves and without explanation.  And, as with Facebook, the departed will include your children and grandchildren who left to use Instagram and Snapchat. They will leave without notice – the social network equivalent of changing a phone number – with parent/grandparent only learning about it when they tried to place a (now-obsolete) phone call. Eventually they will also leave those tools behind, and so on and so forth.

Innovation today: Making tech you don’t want, can’t use or doesn’t work

Rant on.  Forcing tech onto the customer is standard operating procedure for companies. Because of advertiser pressure, for example, we have to make an effort to stop auto-playing videos in news feeds, news sites, ads, etc. – completely missing the possibility that the viewer might be staring at a smartphone in the train’s quiet car, or up early when a spouse is still asleep.  Or worse, the news feed shows a video that no one should ever see --but has yet to be taken down by one of the 3000 take-it-down new hires

Why don’t home care agencies offer tech support?

Maybe Best Buy has an idea worth copying from Amazon. In 2015, Amazon introduced Amazon Home Services, which fairly recently added tech services, including sending a local tech professional to your home. The work might be setting up a router; connections for 4 devices; password protection; and use and troubleshooting instructions. Recently, Best Buy launched Assured Living, a service to help long-distance adult children monitor older family members’ well-being, including setting them up with smart home technologies (costing as much as $1000 for all of them), possibly some of the list is in the ‘official’ definition. Oh yeah, and there is a service charge of $1/day.

Six Tech and Aging Blog Posts -- September, 2017

It was the autumn of disaster.  As summer waned, a series of storms (and oddly-off forecasts about path) wreaked havoc across a vast area, with terrorized older adults left sitting in water or trapped on highways -- stuck in interminable traffic, sweltering heat or homes crushed and no place to go. Hurricane Harvey assaulted Houston, then Hurricane Irma pummeled multiple areas of Florida and Caribbean islands, there were earthquakes and aftershocks in Mexico, followed by a mind-boggling crisis from Maria in Puerto Rico. Throughout all of these, people were heroic. But technology failed or disappointed in almost every way -- from cell phone batteries to power companies, from internet availability to forecasting of storm paths. If one were to look back a year later, it will almost be too much to be believed. Here are six blog posts from the month of September, most prior to Hurricane Irma:

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