It shouldn't come as any surprise that Amour, a film about the deep love between two octogenarians, is an Oscar contender. Aging is the new "black"; we're passionately interested in how it turns out for them, as well as us. At this year's Silvers Summit at 2013 International CES, a growing number of technology companies are taking a look at this lucrative market and asking how they can provide products and services.
An estimated 10,000 adults reach age 65 each day. There are more Americans alive today that are older than ever before in our history and they'll be tilting the demographic scale for years to come. We're at that inflection point where Silver Tsunami, as many call it, goes high-tech.
The headline is in a new buzzword referred to as "the Internet of things": a combination of Internet connected devices, many with their own sensors to provide feedback systems. A walk through the CES show floor will showcase everything from smart lighting (never fall in the dark again), to smart trackers that can notify family, friends or medical staff if you have an emergency (VTech) , to smart devices that monitor everything from drug adherence (Lifecomm) to where you put the keys.
Philips Home Monitoring, Intel-GE Care Innovation and a handful of others have pioneered telehealth systems that do everything from check vitals to offer nutrition advices, allowing older citizens to remain in their own homes longer. Research indicates a nearly 50 percent reduction in hospital readmissions using these home telemonitoring systems.
The market opportunities for technology companies in the "silvers" space extend well beyond medical advice. Inner Balance from HeartMath uses technology to manage stress. Standard Innovation, makers of the We-Vibe contends that "sex never grows old." OurTime explores the boomer dating scene.
Companies like Telikin, GrandCare Systems, Doro and GreatCall have all pioneered the creation of devices, from PCs to smartphones that make it simple for those who find themselves a little sight-hearing-or typing challenged. Groundbreaking work by companies like Tobii and Oblong are using gesture, eye movements and other means of input to broaden the population of those who can enjoy a connected life.
In a recent interview Vinton Cerf, VP and chief Internet evangelist at Google, keynote speaker at this year's Silvers Summit at CES, stressed that the Internet needs to be accessible, easy and "just work."
More boomers use the Internet to help manage their health and find health information than any other segment of the population. They've got the disposable income and the education to search for solutions. As early adopters of the very first digital technologies (think Timex Sinclair, Atari or IBM PCjr) research organizations like the Pew Internet Life shows that these folks purchase tablets, own cell phones and engage in social media only slightly less than their younger parts. Call it a tsunami, call it a perfect storm, or call it the stars aligning, silvers have all the markings of an audience begging to be served.
Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today's digital consumer.
Intrigued? Start your CES voyage before you get to Vegas using Sharecare and UnitedHealthcare's pre-test of your Real Age. And join us for this year's Silvers Summit on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at the Las Vegas Convention Center (North Hall, N256).
Follow Robin Raskin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/robinr