AT&T Teaches Seniors About Technology

I’m happy that AT&T is reaching out to teach seniors about technology, because so few of them understand or use it, and the problem is worse than we think. I’ll discuss that after the video.

We’ve largely been blind to this issue and its implications because market research from companies like Accenture and PEW Internet top their market segmentation at age 65+. That segmentation helps sell reports by stressing the immense market opportunities of tech savvy baby boomers, with 10,000 turning 65 every day and considering life after retirement. But it is misleading and completely ignores the Real Seniors, aged 75+, 85+ and 95+.

I awoke to the severity of this issue two months ago when I gave a presentation to about 40 true seniors 85+ at a nice nursing home here in Austin. It was on Moore’s Law and the Future of Health Care and covered the impact of technology and health reform.

When I polled the audience, I was surprised that not one of them used the Internet or owned a PC, smartphone or tablet. They were NOT “connected” and didn’t text, share photos or email; and they didn’t use Skype or FaceTime video calls with friends, family or doctors. Of course they didn’t do e-banking either, even though their Social Security checks are directly deposited. Apparently the federal government relies on this same skewed market research, and I see that as a huge problem.

Telehealth services could help us care for seniors, but not if they don’t have broadband connections, wireless home networks, and digital devices to access the Internet. Our care options are limited if they can’t do video calls with healthcare providers or their own family. Laurie Orlov describes this problem in more detail in Tech Adoption by Real Seniors.

Real Seniors need the most medical care but are largely disconnected from modern healthcare solutions that use telemedicine and telehealth. And most product development seems to aim more at the large market opportunity of tech-savvy boomers and their fitness & quantified-self interests. We need more solutions for Real Seniors, so I’m happy to post this AT&T video.