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Voice-AI for Older Adults -- How has it helped and what's next?

Voice technology in 2022 – living up to hope and hype? By 2018, it seemed possible that Voice First technology (and its associated AI software) could transform the technology user experience for older adults (see report: The Future of Voice First Technology and Older Adults 2018). Fairly new at the time, a few senior living organizations embraced it for its home automation potential, possibility of concierge services -- turn on the lights! Raise the blinds! Book me on the afternoon trip!. The generally accepted view was that this technology was going to be “Easy, Cheap, Useful, Smart, and Connected (home automation that just works).” Amazon’s Alexa service ran on multiple variants of cheap hardware. Like Apple’s Siri, the software’s understanding of requests was relatively weak (compared to Google Assistant, which emerged in 2018 on Android and iOS).

Four trends to watch from 2022 Market Overview Technology for Aging

As 2022 begins, the oldest baby boomer turns 76. As the population aged 65+ exceed 54 million, trends emerge. Because of the sheer size of the older adult market, and the wealth of baby boomers, vendors increasingly see them as constituents for new offerings.  The pace of innovation is accelerating, driven by older adult changing needs, shortage of care workers, investor interest and of course.  Considering the recent CES 2022 product introductions, we are entering a world of 'touchless' interactions, ubiquitous sensors and hearables, as well as AI and machine learning, now about to reach its promise and contribute to serving older adults.   Here are just four of the trends identified in the 2022 Market Overview, Technology for Aging

Did you miss one? The Four tech and aging blog posts December 2021

So much happened in 2021 that should benefit older adults.   It should be more feasible to purchase hearing aids ‘over the counter’ without an exam (offered for many years in Japan, but whatever...) and at a price point that is more reasonable for largely uninsured devices.  Honor bought Home Instead – which should result in more technology used in the home care industry -- and soon, hopefully, for an industry suffering from  a severe labor shortage. LifeStation (never a first mover) became the latest to introduce a PERS watch, which should be the non-stigmatizing form factor for Personal Emergency Response devices. Big tech revealed growing interest in older adults and investors saw the potential in firms like Papa, which provides (reimbursed) varied assistance to older adults. Lowe’s prioritized helping older adults and partnered with AARP, which should help older adults benefit from smart homes.  And maybe the big deal starts now -- the oldest baby boomers turn 76, which should trigger even more investment in 2022 and beyond. Here are the four December posts:

Wrapping up 2021 – trends to watch plus 10 most-read blog posts

For tech and older adults, the year 2021 was pivotal. It was the year of age-tech gaining AARP visibility as AgeTech. It was a year in which hearables moved into the mainstream of hearing assistance, and lower cost over-the-counter hearing aids became more likely. It was a year in which wearables for older adults began to make sense – as predicted in 2020, replacing the PERS pendant with a wrist-worn wearable. It was a year in which radar-based fall detection became a non-wearable alternative within the smart home.  Radar, in fact, may join motion sensors, AI, cameras, and voice first technologies as no longer separate and disconnected, but instead part of an integrated smart home infrastructure. Imagine the home as a ‘participating caregiver’ with an in-home team of technologies that help enable older adults’ desire to age in place.  Imagine “Family on Demand” as a form of insurance-reimbursed services. And imagine what might happen in 2022.  Let's imagine it together -- starting next week. The blogs:

Aging and Health Technology Watch 2021 Research – A Recap

2021 – even less travel than previous – so for many, it was the best of times. Not just for Zoom, the company, but for many who wished to spend more time thinking and less time in airports. That meant it was still feasible to write monthly blog posts, publish client white papers and complete interview-intensive research reports.  It was feasible to consider topics such as AI and machine learning, Home Care technology, the role of big tech companies and older adults, barriers to tech adoption, broadband access, predictive analytics, voice first, and the role of tech in Villages. And that was in addition to doing a CES 2021 blog post about ten and with too many companies, posting a second one. Likely this coming CES 2022 will have two blog posts, not to mention more press releases. 2021was a year of research about wearables and smart homes – plus a fully updated Market Overview. Here are the summaries of those reports – in case you missed them:

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