A New User Experience Strategy for an Aging Population

March 02, 2017

Contributor: Christy Pettey

Technology and service providers look for ways to engage with an aging population

Every year thousands of aging drivers face the end of their driving years, taking away their freedom and ability to easily move around on their own. However, disruptive companies are delivering innovative solutions to address these types of mobility limitations. For example, ride sharing apps, like Lyft and Uber, are expanding their services by partnering with health care providers to provide prescheduled pickups and transportation to medical appointments.  

According to Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner, this is just one example of the many providers offering products and services that address the mobility limitations often experienced by more than 630 million people worldwide who are 65 and older.

Although seniors are becoming more tech-savvy, those aged 75 and older tend to be late adopters of technology and are looking to providers to provide a seamless and fully integrated connected home.

“The technology-enabled use cases we are seeing within the transportation industry give seniors the opportunity to remain active while continuing to enjoy the neighborhoods they have always lived in,” said Ms. Sabia.

Connected homes for seniors

Although seniors are becoming more tech-savvy, those aged 75 and older tend to be late adopters of technology and are looking to providers to provide a seamless and fully integrated connected home. Personal emergency response systems (PERS) would fall into this category, while additional connected home devices - such as smart lighting, smoke alarms and security systems, especially those connected to virtual personal assistant (VPA)-enabled wireless speakers - would make the adoption of newer technologies easier for seniors.

Connected home technology will play a huge role in enabling seniors to remain active and independent in their own homes, rather than living in high-cost assisted living facilities. If technology and service providers can successfully adapt wearable devices to cater to the senior market, then they will revolutionize the senior healthcare industry. However, providers must focus on transforming or developing new products and services that truly cater to the burgeoning senior market, rather than expecting older citizens to adopt existing applications.

Mistakes are made when marketing technology products and services for seniors is an afterthought, said Andrew Johnson, managing vice president at Gartner. “Tweaks are made to products and messaging without really understanding how the products are used in daily living by seniors, or what motivates seniors to purchase. To combat this, providers should partner with alliances or coalitions whose vision toward seniors aligns with theirs.

“Given that this age group is set to grow the fastest, failing to seriously address these needs could significantly reduce the addressable consumer market for the foreseeable future. This holds equally true for an aging workforce and workplace solutions.”

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