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Parks Associates: CES® 2023 Highlights Importance of Ease of Use for Connected Products

01/06/2023

DALLAS, Jan. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Innovative smart home products showcased at CES® 2023 focus on simplicity, ease of use, and interoperability. Dozens of companies including ADT, Alarm.com, Essence Group, and more featured new product announcements in the safety and security space. Research from Parks Associates supports the demand for useful and simple features—nearly 50% of households planning to purchase a smart door lock in the next six months indicate that a keypad is a must-have feature.

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One last look at 2022's important changes before CES

CES begins next week – but never mind – what mattered in 2022? The press releases for next week’s 2023 Consumer Electronics Show are stacking up. These will be featured in blogs over the next week or two. Weird and wacky, teeny-tiny, virtual, augmented, robotic, metaverse-y – remote this-and-that. Invented by young and old, the result of competitions and criteria -- for example, consider Eureka Park. They can be shepherded by organizations like AARP, appear in international exhibits like the Swiss pavilion, the Korean and beyond. For those attending, tennis shoes will be required. But before we dive into the startups next week, here is one more look at 2022 – what was notable during that could/might/will serve and help older adults?

Who is offering AI in Technology for Older Adults?

AI matters for older adults. Over the last few years, a growing number of applications of AI and machine learning have entered the market of caregiving technology for older adults. Stanford Medicine offers a Partnership in AI-Assisted Care. Projects are underway at the University of Illinois, MIT AgeLab, Georgia Tech, Penn, and no doubt other university programs around the US. AI is a fundamental machine-learning element in voice technology, which is here to stay, despite the noisy racket about Amazon.  The AI role in deriving predictive analytics from accumulated data is just beginning to reveal its utility. 

Smart home devices are dumb about tech support

Smart home devices are not smart about tech support. The future of the smart home and older adult users has not quite arrived. It is just as well – younger device owners are struggling. According to Parks Associates,Households with heads of household ages 35-44 are the most likely to experience technical issues with their devices.” Not surprising, since that group owns the most devices These tech-proficient users try to troubleshoot the problem themselves. And they become frustrated. Consider this understatement from Jennifer Kent of Parks: "Consumers clearly desire a self-help approach first but need more effective tools to solve the problems on their own." Otherwise, according to the Parks document, they become frustrated, write negative reviews and return the products. And these folks are aged 35-44.

Interface designers opt for cool over useful

In recent years, TV Remote control devices became more usable – except for Apple’s.  Rant on. Starting with the older one (“Ridiculously symmetrical and highly unusable”) to the most recent Siri remote – where they give up on usable buttons and enable changing the channel by voice. You gotta love a company with a device so devoid of buttons – and so easily off the rails with an accidental touch.  No wonder it makes more sense to talk to it. Meanwhile, many usable TV remote control devices are in the market, including an Apple TV button remote from Function101 and you can also get a button universal remote control – and even one that is back-lit – so you can see the buttons – crazy!  Why are these devices called senior remotes?  Duh, because they have buttons, which seniors, maybe tired of all the accidentally swiping and zooming they do with their smartphones, just seem comforting and accessible.

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