Written by: Juliana Oronos
Supported by: Michelle Maalouf
The 2015 AgeTech Expo closed with a panel of seven accomplished and dynamic men and women who were eager to share their story...the exciting part was their demographic. The panel featured the voices of end users in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.
In addition to capturing the stories from the senior panelists, data in the form of discussion and worksheet responses, reactions and perceptions about each session were gathered from a group of senior advisors. The older adult consumers reflected on their learnings and experiences throughout the Expo, insisting on quality and technology as an enabler. They participated in the collaborative and energetic movement, and shared what they like and don’t like about the innovations they heard about. A key request that was consistent in the consumer’s reviews was for entrepreneurs to “not lose sight of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)” design principle while expanding innovation.
Some of the sessions that particularly resonated with this group include: Aging2.0’s Global Startup Spotlight, Pitch for Pilots, and the Keynotes.
The Global Startup Spotlight introduced the audience to the best startups from the 2015 Aging2.0 #30in30in30 initiative - 30 pitch events in 30 cities in 30 days. The top five startups from the senior voters included the following: EarBuddy, Safe Beyond, Murgency, Senso2me, and Easy to Connect.
Data was also collected during the Pitch for Pilots (P4P) session, which enabled 12 selected companies to pitch in front of the conference audience filled with senior care providers. The seniors’ most preferred companies included Care Academy, RespondWell, and The History Project. Companies that received honorable mentions from the seniors included AgeWell Biometrics, Televisit, and TouchStream Solutions. One senior’s enthusiasm is captured here: “As an aging woman, I see myself using a number of the solutions to help me live a healthy and productive third act.”
The Next Generation Entrepreneur keynote delivered by Kenneth Shinozuka, Founder and CEO of Safewander, incited feelings of optimism, inspiration, and excitement among all audience members, and especially the older adults. The invention of a sensor to help Alzheimer’s patients by the age of 14 is remarkable, and the seniors expressed optimism that Kenneth created a viable solution to help mitigate risks associated with wandering. They appreciated learning how Kenneth’s personal experience with his grandfather helped drive this ‘brilliant’ innovation that they hope to use with their caregivers one day.
The Social Robots: High Touch Meets High Tech for Senior Care keynote also brought up much discussion among the senior advisors. While the seniors were overall optimistic about the idea of a personal social robot when JIBO Founder and CEO Dr. Cynthia Breazeal announced that her product will soon be available in the home and could help reduce isolation, they still emphasized some concern about ‘not wanting JIBO to be their last friend’.
Several seniors shared that their most memorable aspect of the Expo was “interacting with entrepreneurs and academics”. One senior panelist was “excited about all of the interesting things he heard” and feels confident in the future of support for older adults as “more people are joining the senior community who are already tech savvy”. They look forward to the next opportunity to be in this environment, surrounded by thought partners who are committed to learning how products and services could be designed better to meet their needs.
To learn more about Aging2.0's next large event, click here.