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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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cell phones, smartphones

GREATCALL AND LYFT SOLVE TRANSPORTATION ISSUES FOR SENIORS USING PERSONAL OPERATORS

08/30/2016

SAN DIEGO – AUGUST 30, 2016 – GreatCall Inc., the leader in connected health for active aging, is starting a program that addresses one of the top issues in aging: transportation. The GreatCall Rides program will provide GreatCall customers with easy access to Lyft services – without an app – through GreatCall’s Personal Operator Services.

Tech firms giveth to innovation for seniors – and taketh away

Sometimes the biggest firms lose interest in older adults almost immediately.  That was Amazon 50+. And some, like Apple, never get started, despite interest from their supporters or an integrator like IBM.  Others might get started thinking about a good idea – but within a year or so, executives hold a meeting and one of them says – 'What? What? When did we start to focus on older adults?' How is that a growth proposition, especially for the oldest old?  And so the companies get started, move a bit and/or cancel the effort altogether. Or like Google, they focus on the really far-end of the aging continuum – solving death.

The state of technology for listening to music - it's complicated

Music makes the world go around.  We all know the importance of music – every type of device has a song and dance for accessing, storing and hearing it. Gadgets and apps for listening are everywhere, even as the world of hi fidelity speakers is diminished to ever-smaller and more remarkable sound reproduction.  In the 70’s MIT entrepreneurs founded Tech HiFi, which boomed into 80 stores and some fabulous catalogs before collapsing in the 1980s, along with nearly every other store, including the original not-online-140-character nonsense, the once-$750 million chain was actually called Tweeter. Okay, so all that is gone except for the gear bought by those aged 50+ -- including grand pianos and stereo equipment that the boomers and beyond may have left in their to-be-downsized homes.

Taking stock: watching the game watchers watching Pokémon Go

You may not have noticed people glued to their smartphones? People wandering around in the streets playing Pokémon Go?  Did I mention that there are at least 21 million people who have downloaded the app since July 11? Uh, make that 30 million, uh, make that... That those people are spending more time on this than Twitter or Facebook, apparently consuming less data than either? Crashing into police cars and walking off cliffs – and even killed. A good percentage (40%) are between 25-34 -- but 42,000 in that snapshot are over the age of 45. Apparently state department briefings are no match for the game. And the NY Times photo of throngs on Market a few days ago or today’s Friday night download by 10 million in Japan?

Innovation for the senior market from Israel

Entrepreneurs from Israel have found or been found by Aging 2.0. The mission of Aging 2.0 extends beyond the US: they are seeking innovators and inventions from everywhere, holding events, inviting pitches and announcing finalists. Last week, 12 entrepreneurs from Israel were written up in Jewish Business News – targeting 'technologies for the myriad needs of the aging population.' Five are included here. These have some unique attributes, but also inspire questions -- which may be the 2.0 issue of aging tech/tech-and-aging. Consider the five below. The target recipient of the technology is uncomfortable with technology, may have a physical limitation (hearing or dementia), and be at risk of social isolation. For each of these inventors, next is to identify the go-to-market partner category that will move these offerings into the homes of those who benefit at a beta-tested price point, combining with already familiar services targeting the broader needs of these individuals. These are very early-stage and all text comes from the original article:

Long ago, portable devices had keys -- and device users were customers

This text is touch-typed on a real keyboard.  The keyboard is attached to a computer, as is the display.  It is very functional. Compare that to a Very Smart Phone (VSP) with its soft keyboard and its microphone for dictating (Speak Now! Oops, too late -- Speak Now!).  So consider the description of one particular smartphone keyboard app, Smart Keyboard Pro: “It’s not bad if you need something simple that just works.”  Obviously some people expect/want something more. For them, there are a myriad of choices, including these iOS keyboard apps – how about that version 1.0.1 Google-provided iPhone keyboard app called Gboard?

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