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smart home

It's time for solutions -- not products -- for aging in place

You know homeowners plan to ‘age in place’ – repeated across all surveys.  It makes sense to them – they like their homes, locations, their familiar neighborhoods, shops, their friends, and neighbors. Statistics underpin the goal for 93% of adults 55+.  And they are willing to spend on services to enable them to remain there – home security, food and supplies delivery, and transportation services if they choose to or must go places without driving. They have fueled growth in the home remodeling businesses, spending on bathroom modifications and other aging-related enablers, especially home care – which may be an out-of-reach luxury for many.

The User Experience Confounds Cooks, Drivers, and TV Viewers

User experience non-design – it’s not just tech devices – consider the stove’s cockpit.’  Studying the screen plus button choices on a new Microwave, one wonders who tested this interface?  Did they really think that the combinations were self-explanatory and intuitive?   Or is the convention of poor design so inherent in microwave, oven, and washing machine interfaces, that a ‘cockpit’ design is expected (both by the vendor and the user).   Of course, a cockpit is an appropriate term – imagine a pilot sitting down in the left seat of an airplane with zero training on what to touch first.

Ten Technologies for Aging and Health from CES 2024

The press releases signal a busy time in Las Vegas.  Viewed from afar, drowning in press releases, it is clearly a nearly fully revived CES 2024. With 130,000 attendees it’s down a bit from 2020’s peak of 175,000. From electric motorcycles and low-profile automobile antennas, the unfolding TV to robotic pool cleaners and lawn mowers and construction, it sounds like it was a noisy place. Some folks think this is a consumer show, but that was the long-ago Consumer Electronics Show. So many entrants in the AgeTech, accessibility and health categories seek visibility and possible global reach.

AARP 2024 Tech Survey: Change Continues to Outpace Older Adults

The 2024 survey is out – some might say it is positive about tech adoption.  Older adults (age 50+) own nearly every tech owned by those age 18-49. They have smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, wearables – with the same disinterest in smart home technologies. The cynical among us might say that some tech change (like the 3G to 5G cutover) forced smartphone adoption.  And so the growth in smartphone ownership is led by older adults And it’s pretty tough to buy a ‘dumb TV’ these days even if you wanted one, though it’s feasible.  

The care future for older adults needs housing and tech support

The Harvard study describes a bleak care future. And the NORC study underscores the housing problem for the Forgotten Middle. Life expectancy for the 65+ is another 20 years on average.  But only 14% of Americans can afford long-term care in the home. And if they could afford it, only 4% of their homes are aging-ready. Nor are they telehealth-ready – where 36% of Americans do not have high-speed internet in the home. For low-income individuals, home and community based services may have a 3-year wait to obtain them. Further, 42% of women aged 75+ live alone

Five years of AgeTech trend reports – worth a reminder

Monitoring the AgeTech market, one major trend at a time.  One of the key roles of an industry analyst is to detect and predict new trends that will make a difference in the lives of older adults. Consider the five year sequence of reports below, from oldest to most recent, from the introduction of voice tech to the Covid-driven rise of telehealth to smart homes to wearables to sensors to the current research underway (stay tuned!) about The Future of AI and Older Adults. The uptake of ‘voice first’ (versus ‘screen and keyboard first’) technologies in 2018 was a very big deal. It now seems obvious that people expect multiple modalities interaction with a technology. Now 100 million Americans own at least one smart speaker – now AI technology will enable the next generation of user interactions. Here are those reports:

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?

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