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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Technology - AARP

Technology and Aging Developments – April 2017 Newsletter

April -- a veritable shower of data, press announcements, and pitches. It was a short but information-filled month of events, announcements, pitches.  The month marked our first foray into the American Community Survey Census data about technology usage of older adults. Much more is possible with this data – including greater inspection of housing, family structure, income as correlated with technology interest (including telehealth).  Each of the April blog posts can be (re)read in full by clicking on the paragraph heading.   

Pitch now, commercialize later -- does a live pitch persuade?

Pitch events precede clarity of offering which precedes... Hopefully the best pitches of best offerings will be funded. But that funding is linked to detailed criteria (see the Link-age Ventures criteria as an example.)  Or investment history, as with the five Generator Ventures, can be viewed online.  Startups know that first multiple pitch events will smooth rough edges of the pitch and help refine the offering itself.  For example, one year ago note that GoGoGrandparent started as telephone-based way to call Uber for, sigh, the founder’s grandmother, now refined as a nationwide “services that help families take better care of older adults.” Pitches represent a single step in this process for obtaining feedback, scoping markets, seeking seed funding, later stage rounds -- ultimately scaling the offering into long-term viability, with referrers, resellers, and revenue.  With that as context, consider these three pitch events.

AARP Innovation 50+ Live Pitch 2017 – Some familiar, some new

AARP’s Innovation 50+ Live Pitch starts today – what's new?  This marathon tried to put 20 pounds of entrants (culled from many more) into the 10-pound bag of a two-day pitch event across two broad categories. So following this trend towards compression, we will leave FinTech to others and just focus on the Caregiving Health Technology firms. While the pitch may be fresh, some, as noted, may not be new. Placed in context by taking note of what’s in (or was in) market and similar to these finalists. In the alphabetical order presented and updated with winners noted -- link to available websites or descriptions -- minus Twitter handle:  

The mythology of caregiver technology's non-adoption

Pundits perpetuate the myth of non-use of so-called caregiver technology. [Rant on.] According to AARP, 40 million caregivers are taking care of an older, sicker person -- so says an oft-quoted 2013 AARP Public Policy Report statistic. A different AARP/Catalyst 2016 survey asserts only 7% of these caregivers use technology to help them. What is the 'technology' they won't use? And what is the theory as to why they won’t? Says Jeff Makowka of AARP: "Since many such caregivers also hold down regular jobs, they simply don’t have time to try some new technology." But if they’re working (or of working age), three-fourths of them have smartphones. And given the data-hogging nature of smartphones, all are fairly new. But wait, he also cited an example of an Amazon Echo as deployed for a family member with dementia -- enabling endless repetition of questions like 'What time is it?' etc. Okay, we have to ask, is the Echo a 'caregiving technology?' How about Facebook, described as a caregiver 'mecca'? Do survey respondents consider those technologies when asked?

AARP charts Tech Adoption among older adults -- what does it mean?

What’s happening with older adults and tech adoption?  Not much. Let’s take a look at the AARP 2016 Technology Trends Among Mid-Life and Older Americans. Hint, the report focused most of its analysis on boomers and below. So that leaves the rest of us to look more closely at what they found about older ages, since it seems that this is the most recent set of material on this topic.  From Page 10: “Adults age 70+ are the least likely to have adopted any device.”  And on Page 12: only 29% of those aged 70+ own a smartphone – and of non-owners in that age group, only 4% plan to buy one in the coming (2017) year.

When AARP speaks, tech firms listen for the art of the deal

When AARP launches a site for caregivers -- insurers and home care services listen. Today AARP launched CareConnection -- a site for family caregivers. Services from Care Connection will be "ranging from in-home care support (via CareLinx and Hometeam), Teladoc-powered telehealth services, meal delivery service from bistroMD, and professional caregiving advice" from AARP's long-time insurance partner, UnitedHealthcare. Perhaps this new site will out-do Care.com, Caring.com, Caregiver Action Network, and all the other 'caregiver' subject matter and referral websites. This new CareConnection is a business within AARP Services, the for-profit subsidiary of AARP – which leads the deals that are a notable part of the nearly $1.5 billion of the organization's revenue.

Five aging in place technologies from AARP’s LivePitch

Everybody off the bus -- the last convention for AARP. Last week’s Life@50+ National Event in Miami was reportedly the last time AARP will produce one of these national entertainment-filled conventions with speakers and tracks for all interests and crowds of boomer-and-beyond women (mostly, based on observation) -- volunteering to pack lunches, climbing onto buses, and basking in the Florida sunshine. The health-focused startup Live Pitch event on Thursday heard 4 minutes from the 10 finalists, 2 minutes from five Florida-based startups, and short 1-minute pitches from alternates from each of those. Judges selected Splitsecnd, a portable device-plus-service for automatic vehicle crash tracking (similar to GM's profitable OnStar, but currently vehicle brand-independent). The audience voted for Audicus (for buying lower-priced hearing aids online) and Constant Therapy (a mobile solution to help patients improve brain function after stroke or brain injury.)

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