As technology giants move into the senior living market, providers need to stay aware of these companies’ goals—and keep their own residents’ needs in mind. That’s a big takeaway from “How 2018 Became a Landmark Year for Big Tech’s Pursuit of Senior Living Dollars,” a recent article in Senior Housing News.
 
Last year saw a large push by Amazon, Best Buy, Google, and others to create and deliver smart technology for seniors and for healthcare, which also impacts older adults. Amazon, Apple and Google advanced their efforts to turn everyday items, including bathroom mirrors, into health monitoring devices. Through large-scale acquisitions, Amazon and Best Buy expanded their ability to deliver health services or senior-centric smart tech. Amazon announced a three-year collaboration with AARP, purchased PillPack, and sold software for mining medical records.
 
On the senior living side, communities nationwide began adopting Amazon Echo, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings Hub, and similar systems to create smart homes.
 
For senior living operators to succeed, said the article, they must understand the big picture of Big Tech business moves and these companies' goals, as well as their residents' biggest needs.
 
One area to watch is smart household devices that measure health data—a major part of Big Tech’s strategy in senior living. For example, Apple has announced a smartwatch that monitors heart health, and the Food and Drug Administration has approved it as a tool to measure the wearer’s electrocardiogram and detect arrhythmia.
 
Devices like the smartwatch provide pervasive, passive monitoring and data collection. While they give the resident and provider valuable information, they also give the tech company valuable data.
 
Senior living providers must be vigilant in asking themselves what Big Tech companies want from their residents—and clearly understand each tech company’s goals clearly before proceeding, said the article.
 
Matt Haywood, CEO of Atlanta-based senior living technology company Tazergy Inc., believes senior living providers are not considering that angle enough. He told Senior Housing News, “I think a very low percentage are asking that question.”
 
This article draws from the new Senior Housing News report, “The Senior Living Smart Home Revolution,” which examines the smart home innovations and innovators changing senior living in 2019 and beyond.