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cell phones, smartphones

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cell phones, smartphones

Five Tech and Aging Blog Posts You May Have Missed

 It’s summer – and the reading is easy.  But there are many opportunities to fall out of touch with what’s happening in the world of tech and aging – for example, in the market innovation category, most recently there have been announcements about robot offerings for seniors, and some new capabilities for sharing photo content that can help record moments of our family lives that may soon be lost.  In the spirit of sharing, hoping that those who can are going to attend the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit next week, July 20, in Berkeley – if so, will see you there!  Meanwhile, here are five other blog posts from the past month that you may have missed:

Why older people are less connected -- location and money matter

Dial-up lives on -- and not necessarily out of preference. You may have read this last week: Rural America is stranded in the dial-up age.  That was disturbing on multiple levels, starting with the obvious.  Even people who could afford better access can’t get it – they drive to a gas station parking lot to obtain Internet speeds fast enough to do online business. Study the map in the article and ponder the status of elderly who live in these low-bandwidth locations. The article notes 23 million people (39% living in rural areas) who lack access to any type of broadband. Older adults make up a larger percentage of rural Americans, 16% than in the US as a whole and “people aged 75+ are more likely to have chronic diseases and disabilities."

Home technology ecosystem chaos – there’s no app for that

Technology gadgets – ecosystem incompatibility.  Look around a very digital home filled with parallel and incompatible ecosystems – and sigh.  So many parts, so little integration – it seems vendors compete to death to NOT work together. Consider iMessage – like insider trading, it works well for iPhone execs and phone owners. Consider Bluetooth – it must be turned on so a device can pair with that cool in-room speaker, but turned off to save energy.  Really. A smartphone isn't witty enough to know that it is in the room with a Bluetooth-compatible speaker or fitness band and perhaps should be enabled? And not smart enough to turn bluetooth off when the phone departs the room? But the device is now smart enough to suggest a WiFi network to pick -- in fact every time your car passes a location that has WiFi enabled.

Where is the Internet Service plan to train on new technology?

Surveyed about technology, but untrained in its use.  Does this describe someone you know?  According to Pew’s latest report, Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults, but the glass is less than half full when 48% of seniors say that this statement describes them very well: "When I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it."  In fact, the numbers reveal multi-age tech insecurities and the need for training. Consider if you include those who answered that the statement described them Somewhat Well:  62% of those 50-64 and 73% of those 65+ need help in dealing with a new device.  

Tech use and seniors, ridiculed in media, otherwise ignored

Tech adoption of the 65+ is now buried in a Pew appendix. If age were an ethnic or racial minority, outrage at technology ageism would be vocal and constant.  The 65+ are a mere 46+ million Americans – a group larger than the sum of all of the teenage population non-shoppers.  So their tech adeptness, rather than being viewed as an opportunity, is naturally ignored in surveys.  For example, scroll down and further down on this Pew fact sheet to note level of ‘Digital Readiness’ among demographic groups.  Note that 6% of the 65+ demographic is 'digitally ready' compared to 17% of all age groups. Note that 33% is characterized as 'unprepared.'  And the same percentage applies to those aged 50-64!

Your Money or Your Life: AARP Fintech and Amazon Show

So many head-spinning numbers to describe the 50+ Consumer.  In making the case for the 'Fintech' innovation market opportunity, AARP’s new Financial Innovation Frontiers report (aimed at the Fintech industry) freely fires off a wide range of market segment numbers.  Is the report about the population aged 50-100?  There are 111 million Americans aged 50 and older, 35% of the US population, described as a 'generation.'  That includes three segments of baby boomers as well as their parents. The report is not about the growing life expectancy of those who live to age 65 with their predicted longevity  (88.8 for women, 86.6 for men). Instead, the report focuses on the 50+ Consumer (their term) aged 50-60 who is a decade away or less from ‘retirement’, an increasingly obsolete term. They are confronted with a range of financial challenges -- the report suggests fintech tools that could help them deal with retirement savings shortfalls resulting from career setbacks ($4.3 trillion savings gap), unplanned withdrawals ($4.1 trillion) and student debt ($1.3 trillion).

The default sharing of you -- a data privacy nightmare

You go, business pro, and so goes your privacy.  [Rant on] You loved your phone but one day a useful part of it breaks…a sad day all around -- amazingly right at the end of the 2-year contract with a carrier. We’ll just call that a coincidence. Today that time period is referred to as a payment plan [and one has the option of paying for the phone in full.] But that is not the topic for today – nor is the topic about the default on Chrome that can no longer be switched off which automatically plays videos.  Advertisers must and will find you. No, today’s rant is about that other torment, shall we say, the Tyranny of the Default – which made an unwelcome appearance, in every sense of the word, on my new phone. That bit of psychology is what is built in to new versions of software – it is both condescending and malevolent at the same time.

AARP Innovation 50+ Live Pitch 2017 – Some familiar, some new

AARP’s Innovation 50+ Live Pitch starts today – what's new?  This marathon tried to put 20 pounds of entrants (culled from many more) into the 10-pound bag of a two-day pitch event across two broad categories. So following this trend towards compression, we will leave FinTech to others and just focus on the Caregiving Health Technology firms. While the pitch may be fresh, some, as noted, may not be new. Placed in context by taking note of what’s in (or was in) market and similar to these finalists. In the alphabetical order presented and updated with winners noted -- link to available websites or descriptions -- minus Twitter handle:  

The mythology of caregiver technology's non-adoption

Pundits perpetuate the myth of non-use of so-called caregiver technology. [Rant on.] According to AARP, 40 million caregivers are taking care of an older, sicker person -- so says an oft-quoted 2013 AARP Public Policy Report statistic. A different AARP/Catalyst 2016 survey asserts only 7% of these caregivers use technology to help them. What is the 'technology' they won't use? And what is the theory as to why they won’t? Says Jeff Makowka of AARP: "Since many such caregivers also hold down regular jobs, they simply don’t have time to try some new technology." But if they’re working (or of working age), three-fourths of them have smartphones. And given the data-hogging nature of smartphones, all are fairly new. But wait, he also cited an example of an Amazon Echo as deployed for a family member with dementia -- enabling endless repetition of questions like 'What time is it?' etc. Okay, we have to ask, is the Echo a 'caregiving technology?' How about Facebook, described as a caregiver 'mecca'? Do survey respondents consider those technologies when asked?

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