Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.
― Laurie Anderson
Guest Post by Laurie Orlov
Aging in Place The IDEA Series
On 2/23/2009 I got Laurie’s Newsletter with the following headline:
Aging in Place Technology Watch February Newsletter
Hope you are all staying optimistic and energized about this topic — as I am. Next month I officially launch the company, building on interest from the blog and research — this is the real beginning of the next chapter. Stay tuned!
I still recall the morning when I walked into Laurie’s session at the American Society on Aging Conference and she proudly announced to me that she had made the leap from Forrester Research to her consulting business, Aging in Place Technology Watch. It’s now 2015, and we did stay tuned…and now Laurie has positioned herself as the go-to expert in the exploding field of Gerotechnology (the analysis of the relationship between older people and technology).
Laurie cuts through the maze of aging-in-place technology developments which are surfacing faster than those of us in the field can keep up with. Her analysis is direct and to the point; and I always enjoy her slightly syndical-savvy rants on the state of the industry. I encourage you to follower her work. She does all the heavy lifting so you don’t have to and her advice is priceless.
For the IDEA Series, I asked Laurie for a post, and followed up with a request:
Can I get a personal line or two about your overall feel-thoughts of the aging-in-place tech sector to this point. Just a general rant, has the technology to this point achieved anything of merit? What one big-fat issue hasn’t been addressed? Is there an elusive obvious the smart guys are missing in your opinion. This was her astute take:
The aging-in-place market sector is simply a subset of other markets (home, tech, finance, housing, furnishings, etc). If a 25-year-old remodeled their home to lower the counters and widen the doorways, it would not be called ‘aging in place’. Likewise, if you buy a smartphone or a tablet and enlarge the type and brighten the screen, that does not make it an ‘aging in place technology’. Instead, we should be thinking about customization of standard products and services. Consider the settings inside of cars or the improvement in seating and lighting in pharmacies. That kind of thinking is the path to obtaining what older adults want and need. In that way, aging in place is no longer a niche for engineers with good intentions. Instead, this is a market segment that can benefits from solutions offered by all businesses.
Four Recent Technology Announcements that Benefit Older Adults
1) AARP announced the launch of its AARP TEK Academy. This is a free, easy-to-use online classroom designed to help 50-plus Americans get the most out of technology to connect with family and friends, explore employment opportunities, access health information, enjoy entertainment and more. Located at AARPTEK.org, the site can be accessed from a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops and offers dozens of tutorials on a range of helpful topics, from social media to staying safe online. AARP TEK (which stands for Technology Education and Knowledge) launched last year offering hands-on workshops in select cities to empower the 50-plus audience to use technology to live their best lives. The TEK Academy is the latest offering as part of this program. Learn more at AARP TEK.
2) Comcast extends Internet Essentials in San Francisco. Comcast has expanded its pilot low- for students) to serve seniors to the San Francisco area, the company said Wednesday. The pilot – building on an earlier one in Palm Beach County Florida on Aug. 4 – is part of its Internet Essentials package. Comcast is working with the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services, the City’s SF Connected Senior’s Digital Literacy Training Collaborative, Self-Help for the Elderly, Community Technology Network, and the Community Living Campaign on the program. Learn more at Comcast.
3) ConnectHome offered to serve those with low incomes. For low income seniors in public housing, ConnectHome was launched in July, a collaboration between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a coalition of public-housing authorities, businesses, nonprofits, and Internet service providers like Google Fiber and Sprint, represents the government’s most ambitious attempt yet to bridge the digital divide between those with high-speed Internet access and those who can’t afford it in an era of tight budget constraints. Learn more at ConnectHome.
4) OATS launches program to increase broadband technology adoption. In July, OATS, Older Adult Technology Services, a non-profit that seeks to change the way we age by engaging older adults with free access to digital technology and training, has launched a multi-partner initiative to improve broadband adoption among New York seniors living in the state’s sprawling North Country region. This transformative initiative will connect thousands of seniors to life-changing technologies. In partnership with the New York State Broadband Program Office, the Macquarie Group Foundation, and the CEA Foundation, OATS will build a ‘broadband adoption ecosystem’ to support the region’s residents who are aged 60 and older.” Learn more at Oats.org.
Laurie Speaking at the Senate Special Committee on Aging C-SPAN
Laurie M. Orlov, a tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate, is the founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch and Boomer Health Tech Watch —market research that provides thought leadership, analysis and guidance about technologies and services that enable boomers and seniors to remain longer in their home of choice. In addition to her technology background and years as a technology industry analyst, Laurie has served as a volunteer long-term care ombudsman and is certified in Geriatric Care Management from the University of Florida.
Aging in Place is the ability to live in one’s own home – wherever that might be – for as long, as confidently and comfortably possible. Livability can be extended through the incorporation of universal design principles, telehealth, mhealth and other assistive technologies. It is described with reference to Aging in Place Technology Watch and quoted in CNN, Yahoo! Finance, Kiplinger, The Wall Street Journal, The NY Times, and USA Today. Laurie is profiled in Business Week’s Launching Startups, Huffington Post, and The NY Times.
What does a market research firm and industry analyst do?
Market research firms understand and explain the structure and categorization of vendor markets. This includes explaining the purpose of a market category, who are the vendors in that category, and what it takes to succeed. Market research firms serve both the vendor community and those organizations who help consumers with purchase decisions about products and services from those vendors. Industry analysts act as spokespersons for both the needs of the ultimate customer and strategic directions of the vendor community. Listen to interviews on All Things Considered January 2015 or NPR Nevada CES 2014.
Learn more about the types of activities and capabilities of Aging in Place Technology Watch on the Services page.
Laurie M. Orlov, a tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate, is the founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch and Boomer Health Tech Watch — market research that provides thought leadership, analysis and guidance about technologies and services that enable boomers and seniors to remain longer in their home of choice.
In her previous career, Laurie spent more than 30 years in the technology industry, including 24 years in IT and 9 years as a leading industry analyst at Forrester Research. While there, she was often the first in the industry to identify technology trends and management strategies which have survived the test of time. She has spoken regularly and delivered keynote speeches at forums, industry consortia, conferences, and symposia, most recently on the business of technology for boomers and seniors. She advises large organizations as well as non-profits and entrepreneurs about trends and opportunities in the age-related technology market.
Her segmentation of this emerging technology market and trends commentary have been presented in the Journal of Geriatric Care Management. Her perspectives have been quoted in Business Week, Forbes, Kiplinger, the Toronto Star, and the New York Times. She has been profiled in the New York Times and the Huffington Post. She has a graduate certification in Geriatric Care Management from the University of Florida and a BA in Music from the University of Rochester. Laurie has provided testimony about technology at a Senate Aging Committee hearing, consulted frequently to AARP, and served on Think Tank for The Philips Center for Health and Well-Being. Clients have included AARP, Microsoft, Novartis, J&J, United Heathcare, Yahoo! and Philips. She was one of the judges for the CES Innovations Awards 2014 and the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit in 2015.
News articles that quote Laurie Orlov and Aging in Place Technology Watch:
Thank you Laurie for your contribution to Aging in Place: The IDEA Series