Laurie Orlov Releases “Market Overview: Technology for Aging 2022”
Updated: Jan 28
The “Oracle of Age-Tech” makes annual predictions for age-tech categories: Communication & Engagement, Safety & Security, Learning & Contribution, and Health & Wellness
Aging and Health Technology Watch principal analyst Laurie Orlov has released Market Overview: Technology for Aging 2022. Known globally as a foremost expert on age-tech, Orlov has her finger on the pulse of the technologies and startups shaping the aging industry.
This report was revised in January of 2022 to reflect current trends, demographic data about older adults, policy changes, new products and services as well as inclusion of available data about what tech they own and/or prefer. The market overview has a single purpose: to describe the need for, and the current market of, offerings to help the growing population of older adults live full lives in their homes and senior living locations of choice.
The categories of technology offerings required to age successfully include independent market segments – each useful – but together, they complete a puzzle for a fulfilling and interactive life for older adults, ideally enabled with the support of families and caregivers.
Here are some highlights from the "touchless everything, voice-enabled everything, AI-enabled everything" age-tech ecosystem:
Communication and Engagement
For all ages, isolation is increasingly untenable without the technology to connect to others. As 2022 begins, tech vendors will promote a gaggle of gadgets to mitigate all barriers, emphasizing voice and ‘no-touch’ offerings over tablets. The 2022 versions of voice-first interfaces (like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s Siri) raise the bar on in-home tech experiences for the growing numbers of owners, now 48% of all households with Internet access.
The hearing technology market is being disrupted by Blue-tooth connected hearables. Led by Apple, these dangling devices have legitimized a form factor of visible device in the ear. The only requirement? A smart phone app for adjustment. 2021 saw more innovation in hearing aids that are higher function, lower cost, or more available through direct-to-consumer channels, self-configurable by user with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, hearables will suffice – and potentially attract those who don’t wear any hearing aid because of fear of stigma.
Safety and Security
‘Aging in place’ requires a home free from obstacles and dangers, especially for the 45% of women aged 75+ who live alone. The traditional PERS pendant industry’s growth is slowing. But the pivotal entrance of Apple’s fall detection legitimized the market for caregiving smart watch wearables with fall detection. Other vendors are offering voice-enabled PERS services – including CarePredict’s CareVoice and UnaliWear’s Kanega Watch.
Health and Wellness
The abrupt shutdown of health visits during the pandemic triggered frenetic adoption of telehealth – now firmly entrenched as a care option – and even offered on LG TV’s Health Platform from Independa or solutions like Sirona.tv. As McKinsey noted, 2021’s usage was 38 times that from pre-pandemic – and many health practices now offer telehealth as a visit option.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is also on a growth trajectory, and is even a service offered by some home care agencies. As McKinsey noted, 2021’s usage was 38 times that from pre-pandemic – and many health practices now offer telehealth as a visit option. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is also on a growth trajectory and is even a service offered by some home care agencies.
Learning and Contribution
Experts have noted that once the basic needs of communication, safety, and health are addressed people have both the need and capacity for more. This includes learning, staying aware and active in society, contributing through online volunteering and training growing numbers of older workers. They also are leaving a legacy of photos and stories for their loved ones. Organizations like AARP and OATS Senior Planet Digital help an older person learn a broad range of new skills.
Advice to Vendors: IT’S TECH-ENABLED SERVICES, NOT PRODUCTS
Probably the biggest issue that keeps technology out of the homes of older seniors is the difficulty of marketing to them (“We are not old!”) and to their afraid-to-interfere adult children. Therefore, it’s important to sell through channels that reach them at whatever stage of aging they’re at, pricing right for resale and possible white labeling. Vendors will find that: One go-to-market channel is not enough. Depending on the product or service, it may need a mix of resellers/distributors, face-to-face, and online sales.
New entrants should find local partners to test product effectiveness before going national. The right customer or referral – families and service providers partners. Direct-to-consumer marketing of products and services takes deep pockets just for the advertising – note the growing number of ads for low-cost hearing aids. For early-stage companies, start locally – get to know a local home care agency, senior living company, or home security company. What they have in common? Entry into the home. What else? Contacts in the area who can sponsor pilots.
Download the Report Here: Market Overview: Technology for Aging 2022