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In the time of CES 2022 -- advice to tech firms about older adults

This week is CES 2022 -- new and current entrants seek markets and partnerships.  Perhaps you aren't paying attention -- but once per year, innovations from around the world are presented at CES for comment, media attention, and most of all, seeking interest about what's new (or even just envisioned).  This year it is a hybrid event -- with some folks in person, some watching online and others lurking among the press releases. Next week's blog post will detail 10 products/services from CES 2022 that will likely make a difference for older adults.  But this week, here is advice for startups and new entrants when thinking about reaching an older adult audience.  It is extracted from the Technology for Aging 2022 Market Overview, to be posted following CES, and including 30 offerings that were not in the 2021 version. The advice: 

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:

In-home care and smart home – shared interest, not yet connected

Smart home technologies are not part of the home care solution set.  Despite the labor shortage that is impacting the home care industry, technology in the home, especially smart home technology, is not part of the home care solution set. Yet with appropriate use of sensors, cameras, and voice interactions, families and home care providers could improve the wellbeing of older adults, many of whom are alone at home for long stretches of time. What is needed and will emerge over the next five years? Moving forward, there will be multi-tiered offerings customized remotely, adjusted as a person becomes frail.  Smart home technology will be used by home care companies to help compensate for labor shortages, warning of in-home issues during those times when the care recipient is alone.  What will be available?

Big tech wants to serve older adults -- initiatives are accumulating

Apple gets it that its customers are aging – and have their devices.  That was not always the case. Long ago, maybe as early as 2009, a query was placed to the analyst relations team at Apple to find folks to discuss Apple and technology adoption of older adults.  The answer was: "Apple does not do aging."  Then in 2010, on behalf of an AARP-sponsored research effort to contact a few of multiple Apple groups already involved one way or the other (Apple Health!), got no response to requests to interview execs that would have been interested based on their roles.  That was then. Fast forward to 2021 and the fact that baby boomers have all the money (and many health issues, too). Note Apple Health, Apple Accessibility, fall detection on the watch, detection of gait changes, changes in AirPods that clearly target conversational hearing issues. And that doesn’t count the health-specific features on the watch that will no doubt include blood pressure checks.  

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