Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Meet or hear Laurie in one of the following:

CAP Conference, Asheville, NC, Aug 15-17.

Washington, DC, July 23.

National Church Residences, Columbus, OH, September, 2019

AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence, Oct 23, 2019

2019 LTC InsurTech, Silicon Valley, DC, Nov 7, 2019

DC Longevity Summit, December, 2019

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cell phones, smartphones

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cell phones, smartphones

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?

Five technology Innovations for Older Adults – May, 2016

The more things change in the age-related markets, the more they change.  Even without an age-related event announcement, article, or article series, new startups and initiatives emerge every week that can provide benefit to older adults and those who provide care for them. Some firms want to apply tech from other market categories to the aging market segment. Others are already in the segment and announce a new offering. Categories of these five from May include health, tech support, hydration, transportation, and social connection, Information is derived from the websites of the companies:

Smartphones and caregiving – seize the opportunity to be useful

Not trading in your phone – only your carrier knows for sure.  What if the phone doesn’t break – and you’re going to have to pay real money for a new one? Even Apple can’t crack the code on that, since three-fourths of iPhones in 2015 were bought from carriers, its most recent growth stalled, but thankfully, in the midst of that slumping iPhone sales growth, maybe India will love the smaller phone.  But does Apple they know that as of 2010 there were 524 million people aged 65+ in the world?  Of course, Apple does not market to specific age segments, regardless of how much seniors may love the iPad. So that smartphone market will remain untapped – and at this point, older seniors are not convinced about the device’s utility.  Who wants their market? Doro, GreatCall, Clarity, and now Punkt offers a simple phone that could work for seniors.

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