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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Predicting the future of health tech and baby boomers – are we there yet?

Baby Boomers, Wearable and Mobile Health Tech – A status report. During 2015, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) sponsored a research project to evaluate the future likelihood of wearable and mobile health tech. This Boomers and Wearable Health Tech 2015 report considered wearables and health apps -- and the likelihood of these technologies helping baby boomers (the oldest is now 71 and 6 years along with Medicare) manage their own care and avoid unnecessary services and costs.  After all, the mobile health app market alone was predicted in 2013 to reach $26 billion by 2017.  Consider the status of each of these predictions – which were based on 21 expert interviews held during 2015. Were the experts correct or overly optimistic?  Both. Here are the 2015 predictions and what has happened since:

We still don't have insurance to protect from a disruptive technology future

We buy many insurances – just in case.  Car, homeowners, apartment, flood, personal liability – all are hedges against the unknown and unwanted.  Seeing a business opportunity, insurers created a long-term care insurance market for a benefit the customer might not need for another 25 years. We can buy a service contract to cover repairs of our appliances.  Yet so it continues that when we purchase technology, carrier, or software services, the offering changes ever more quickly -- and our technology becomes obsolete. So we toss the products (and services) into the soon-forgotten gadget graveyard with 135 million mobile phones discarded in 2010 alone -- the last date for which there are EPA statistics.

Five Technology Innovations for Older Adults -- August, 2016

Innovation from companies that have been there, done that.  It's intriguing to observe companies that have been in business for a while.  Sometimes there is a redirect into a new space or channel (see Philips and its direct-to-consumer approach) and sometimes innovation arrives that may augment an existing portfolio.  The market of technology and services for older adults continues to expand (see a near-hysterical Huffington Post article.)  So flipping around the cliché that 90% of all startup companies fail, wonder if there is another one -- 90% of all existing tech-related companies launch a tech or a service targeting seniors and caregivers within the next 5 years?  Here are five offerings - all text is from the company sites or press releases.

Smartphones and caregiving – seize the opportunity to be useful

Not trading in your phone – only your carrier knows for sure.  What if the phone doesn’t break – and you’re going to have to pay real money for a new one? Even Apple can’t crack the code on that, since three-fourths of iPhones in 2015 were bought from carriers, its most recent growth stalled, but thankfully, in the midst of that slumping iPhone sales growth, maybe India will love the smaller phone.  But does Apple they know that as of 2010 there were 524 million people aged 65+ in the world?  Of course, Apple does not market to specific age segments, regardless of how much seniors may love the iPad. So that smartphone market will remain untapped – and at this point, older seniors are not convinced about the device’s utility.  Who wants their market? Doro, GreatCall, Clarity, and now Punkt offers a simple phone that could work for seniors.

Towards five characteristics of health tech market maturity

Five characteristics of health tech market maturity...for a mature market. What would boomers most want to have as key characteristics in the tech world of boomers/seniors? Here’s a starting list – comments welcome. 1) Their privacy is well protected by their insurers, doctors, software, social network and device makers; 2) Their health information is well-integrated into the multi-company health provider world – no need to carry around those CDs of EHRs); 3) Trends in their health patterns are noticed by care providers who use predictive analytics to note possible problems); 4) Boomers do less driving to specialists, more remote consultations, which are appropriately reimbursed through Medicare; 5) Fitness gadgets are replaced by well-being devices and systems.

Technology Connects. Industries Collaborate. Innovation Betters the World at CES 2016

01/09/2016

Las Vegas, NV, January 9, 2015 -  CES® 2016 wrapped today as the most expansive CES, breaking records across the board and providing unparalleled opportunities for companies big and small to launch innovation to the world market.
 

The accelerating pace of useless technology upgrades

Tech companies want consumers who can be herded forward.  There was the magic of the iPhone 6 and the 6-plus.  By the time those came out, the old iPhones were tired, maybe too slow -- Apple fans were eager, if not desperate for a better device. Then not so long after Samsung introduced its Galaxy S4 in May 2013, it announced the S5 in February 2014. The Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy Edge (and their updates) showed up this week -- hustled out the door to keep pace with media mega-hype of the Apple Watch. How wonderful and different are the new Samsung gadgets from the S3 and S5?  Wait for it – startup with a finger swipe, a curved edge and again imitating Apple… no removable batteries. Oh, so the new phones have a 12-hour battery life?  Well, you can charge the phone within 15 minutes to get 4 hours of life out of it? Not so good when the day is long.

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