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Voice/AI/Voice Assistants

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Voice/AI/Voice Assistants

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).

Six recent Voice/Conversational AI innovations for older adults

Older adults benefit from voice-AI enabled innovation and deployment. And it looks like they will continue to benefit in 2022 and beyond. For one thing, at least two-thirds of older adults (age 70+) own smartphones, the 65+ population prefers Alexa among voice assistants, one-third of Americans have smart speakers. Researchers want to understand how best to create a voice assistant. Amazon’s Alexa Together wants to help monitor falls of older adults in senior living. Advice to seniors seeks to help older adults understand how to benefit from voice while aging in place. In addition, multiple senior living organizations have or are now publicizing their initiatives (information is from the publicly available material):

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?

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