Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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computers, internet and social networking

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computers, internet and social networking

Tech adoption grows for older adults -- why?

In 2019, Tech adoption changes -- some.  It’s known as the Amazon effect. As brick-and-mortar based businesses dwindle in favor of online, access to smartphone and broadband are becoming the enablers of information flow to older adults.  Pew Research helps us understand who, what, and possibly why people buy and own technology. Non-users, particularly broadband, are thus on one side of the so-called digital divide.  The latest Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019 report reveals a change in the role of smartphones, particularly as a sole device for connecting to the Internet – 37% of responders to this year’s survey go online primarily using a smartphone, with 58% of 18-29-year-olds saying they mostly go online that way, though that number dropped to 15% for the 65+.   

Technology non-adoption of the oldest – it’s a bug, not a feature

Not adopting tech -- it's not okay. Lacking access to smartphones, Internet, in-home broadband/WiFi cuts oldest out of access to modern telehealth, communication and engagement, in-home sensors, outside-home GPS, fall detection, and device integration with smartphones. The issue of non-adoption, particularly as more health services move online, will become increasingly vexing for service providers of all types. Surveying of the oldest has fallen out of favor, though Link-ageConnect persists, thankfully -- see their 2019 report. But over the years much has been opined about the reasons – so here is some more opining. Rant on.

Technology Tool Tarnish – Facebook, Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn

Facebook is the company we increasingly love to hate – but boomers still ‘like’ it. So much negative press, well deserved, about Facebook lately, including the lawsuit about knowingly duping children playing games. Then there was the Pew Research estimated number of deleted accounts (mostly young people) and no small deal, a big security breach.  Clearly this is a company with management issues – and someday will either fail (unlikely), be broken up, or be regulated, even in the US, which has for some unknown reason done nothing to date, unlike privacy actions taken in Europe.   According to eMarketer, though, baby boomers are still big users – of the 76.4 million of them, 31.9 million are using Facebook. Hopefully not trying to stay connected to teens – who are departing for other platforms like Snapchat, according to eMarketer, including Snapchat. On the positive side, Snapchat is not yet owned by Facebook – which will be combining Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp into a single platform by 2020.

Real Seniors lack essential technology – Consider an Older Americans Technology Act in 2019

When Pew stops tracking senior adoption, does that imply a market saturated?  Note this Fact Tank aggregation of technology adoption statistics (tech overall among seniors, last reported in 2016) – and the most recent data cited on Internet use, seniors were quoted in a 2016 survey, 44% of responders did not use the internet. Of those that do, older adults aged 65+ said they had little to no confidence in their ability to use electronic devices to perform online tasks.  Let’s think about their non-confidence (not broken down into the 65-74) and the 75+ who are the Real Seniors

From Phishing to Smishing -- a scam for all seasons

Scammers are creative – each cell phone number is a 'smishing' opportunity.  It's the holidays, when scammers want to wish you the best of everything. How about a text message with a picture of the sender, someone you know, pitching a fund-raising and time-limited opportunity – in a category the recipient knows well.  Except that it is fake, finding the phone number because it is widely distributed. And as an added bonus, the sender extracts the picture from now-accessible contacts (easily scraped from LinkedIn, press releases, Gmail messages, etc.).  Scammers seize the opportunity and send you a very believable text message.

Apple’s walled garden bites the wallet – but is the world of ‘free’ better?

Check out this startling sampling of Apple user complaints...Rant on. ZDNet published a list of Apple complaints posted on Reddit (which has an Apple forum of more than 800K members) – the list was eye-opening and filled with rage about (storage, connector, power) limitations. Oddly, in the center of the online article was an iPad ad. One commenter compared the Apple customer experience to buying a high-end Audi and discovering that the price did not include tires. Today Apple has 44.3% market share phone ownership – compared to Android’s 54.5% (led by Samsung and LG).   Users feel locked into Apple's ecosystem, but some commenting said it was easier to switch than people believe. Phone replacement cycles are lengthening, due to high prices for new phones coupled with apparent (or fixable) durability of existing devices.

Hyperlocal social networking – when Nextdoor matters most

It's that awful time – the hurricane season.  The time when the national hurricane center forecasts, repeated ad nauseum, are destined to frighten everyone, no matter how far from affected regions. The same broadcast can dwell on cones and paths, and almost as an aside, remind those in beach areas that the evacuation instructions are meant for them.  Reversing highway direction and talking constantly about evacuation sounds like a plan – but some observe that the distance required to evacuate to safety could be as much as 250-300 miles. So residents who will 'shelter in place' stock up on supplies and watch the 24-hour source of all fear – cable news, looking for guidance from Jim Cantore, that icon among storm trackers.

The ABCs of the Internet Today – Ads, Bots and Crushing Clutter

The business model of the Internet is crushing us.   Rant on. We could start with Twitter, which is deleting millions of bots, trolls, and other fake accounts (often with automated software generating hundreds of tweets per day).  This is raising concerns over the company's growth and true number of monthly users. But it's not raising concern about the business and social value of Twitter. Has anyone looked at the age distribution of Twitter users? Only 8% are 65+, and the biggest block is aged 18-29.  Consider that its share price and profit of $61 million in Q1 2018 are tied to growth in "legitimate human users -- the only ones capable of responding to the advertising that is the main source of revenue for the company." Translate: capable of responding because they are human 18-29 year-olds, not necessarily because they have money to spend. And then there are:

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