Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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CTA Foundation and IBM Launch Report Showing How New Technology Can Improve Lives for an Aging Society

A new report, Outthink Aging, from IBM and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ Foundation – a public, national foundation with the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives – reveals that meeting the needs of a growing aging population will require new technologies, partnerships, ideas and business models. The report also discusses how technology such as cognitive computing will empower seniors to live longer, healthier and more independent lives by preventing fraud and abuse, providing greater social connectivity and improving access to vital information and services.


The report outlines the challenges of meeting the needs of the aging demographic and gives recommendations for three core areas where the intersection of mobile devices, cognitive computing and providers could have the greatest impact on the essential concerns of older adults, including:

  • Health: Access to high-quality healthcare encouraging both physical and cognitive well-being

  • Connection: Capability to stay in touch with loved ones and maintain an active role in their communities

  • Security: Ability to live safely in one’s home and have protections  against theft and financial fraud

  • Dignity and Independence: Respect and control over direction of their lives

“Technology is fundamentally changing the way we live and can dramatically improve our lives as we age,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “Tech innovation will allow seniors to live healthier, more connected lives and keep them more engaged with their families, healthcare providers and communities.”


“The collaboration between IBM and the CTA Foundation is an excellent example of the new types of relationships that will be necessary to meet the needs of the growing aging population," said Dr. Ruoyi Zhou, director of IBM Accessibility Research.  “The results of the study outline new and innovative ways in which cognitive computing will benefit millions of seniors around the world."

Outthink Aging also describes the potential relationships and innovative business models needed to create a new ecosystem that can effectively deliver scalable, integrated technology-based solutions to address these larger and more complex issues.


Additionally, the report shares some of the key concerns and challenges of aging:

  • 47 percent of respondents worry most about losing their memory and suffering from dementia as they age

  • 38 percent believe smart homes and the Internet of Things will best help manage the aging process

  • 35 percent believe discussing assisted/long-term care is the most difficult conversation to have with their parents

“Technology does not replace the human element, but it’s a tool that will enable the growing aging demographic and caregivers to better our lives as we age,” said Stephen Ewell, executive director of the CTA Foundation. “New partnerships between industry, nonprofits, academia, government and the general public will form to accomplish these goals. The CTA Foundation looks forward to working with IBM, the broader technology industry and stakeholders to find ways to implement these innovations and revolutionize the way we age.”


According to other research from the CTA Foundation, the U.S. market for active aging technology now encompasses 85 million Americans – more than one quarter of the national population. That market represents a $24.4 billion market opportunity in 2015 that is expected to grow to $42.7 billion in 2020 – a 12 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years for tech products that support a proactive way of living, balancing growing older with the active pursuit of quality of life.


The IBM and CTA Foundation project was launched at CES® 2016 to look specifically at how cognitive computing can help improve the way we age or experience disability. At CES 2017, active aging tech will be on display in the Accessibility Marketplace featuring technology that can facilitate connections; enhance learning, communication and/or mobility; and help improve the overall quality of life for people with disabilities.


To access the full report visit: or the IBM Accessibility page.


Danielle Cassagnol

Tuesday, September 6, 2016