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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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games, fun and fitness

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games, fun and fitness

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?

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?

Chronological age, exercise and wearable fitness tech for older adults

Chronological age has no impact on health and well-being – per this study. Apparently, blood pressure and cholesterol readings aren’t the whole story.  What matters more are sensory function, mental health, mobility and health behaviors. This is according to a summary of an abstract of research at the University of Chicago.  But it re-enforces other research about the correlation between exercise and warding off dementia.  And for those who never got around to exercise but have a fear of falling in their 80s and beyond, exercise like Tai Chi can restore balance in an 85-year-old, building confidence and reduce fall risk and fear of falling.

From age-specific and age-unaware toward age-friendly design

The lens used to view age sees a different picture. Population segments can be broad. Baby boomers, for example, now span aged 51 to 70, and people in the youngest segment may not feel they have anything in common with the oldest. On the one hand, a 70 year old with a disability may fit directly into the awkward dual goals of the CTA Foundation: "It was established with the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives." In that case, an Age Suit may help (young) marketers better understand physical limitations. On the other hand, the mission of AARP is broad, "which enhances the quality of life for all as we age. We champion positive social change and deliver value through advocacy, information, and service." Grantmakers in Aging has an audacious goal: "by 2019 – for 20% of all philanthropy to go to aging."

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