Venture capitalist Dominic Endicott defines Age-Tech as “services purchased by older people, services purchased on behalf of older people, services traded between younger and older people and services delivered to future older people”. With around 1 billion people currently over the age of 60, it’s estimated that seniors will account for 20% of the world’s population in the next 30 years. In 2050, the UN estimates that one in six people in the world will be over the age of 65. Aging is one of the greatest social and economic challenges of the 21st century. This growing demographic creates an increasing need for tech that caters to older adults. Age-Tech was born to do just so.
What is Age Tech?
In 2015, the silver economy was estimated to be 3.7 trillion euros in the European Union. The term ‘silver economy’ refers to services and goods purchased by or for individuals over 60 years old, who are now the fastest-growing demographic in the world. This demographic has even been called the ‘Silver Tsunami’.
Age-Tech is a fresh new niche that focuses on tech for older adults. The severe health repercussions on elderly people in particular, as well as the pandemic social distancing requirements, have deeply increased the challenges older generations must face. Loneliness is an ever-increasing issue, as well as feelings of being left behind in a fast-paced world.
More often than not, the elderly care market runs on inefficient, outdated processes. This has created a greater demand for technological solutions made for seniors, which could lead to the Age-Tech market reaching a value of $2 trillion by 2025. Though a deep divide between older and newer generations regarding tech still exists, the COVID-19 pandemic saw a great number of older adults adopt more advanced tech. So it certainly seems like the parameters are lining up for the boom of the Age-Tech market.
Economic prompts for an Age-Tech explosion
The McKinsey Global Institute says that between 2015 and 2030, people over 60 will have generated half of urban consumption growth. The report stipulates that older adult consumers spend more than younger adults, because of expenses such as medical care. However, they are thought to contribute to more than just the medical industry – it’s estimated that seniors will contribute to over 40% of growth in transport, entertainment, and housing in the United States only.
The term ‘Longevity Economy’ defines the ensemble of all economic activities tending to the needs of older adults. By 2030, Americans over 50 are projected to spend over $200B annually on tech products.
Facing these perspectives, some businesses have already started investing in the needs of older adults. GreatCall and Lyft, for example, offer a transportation service whereby clients can press a button on their screen which allows them to directly speak to someone for transportation.
In fact, GreatCall showed such success that it was recently purchased by BestBuy. “In health, we acquired a leading connected health services provider for aging consumers, GreatCall, and took a tangible step forward in our strategy to have seniors live longer in their homes with the help of technology,” says Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly.
Perspectives and prospects
Rapid digitization adoption and fast growth of the longevity economy is projected to provide a strong basis for Age-Tech to thrive. More successful Age-Tech companies are predicted to be created and acquired. Apple, Microsoft, Google, and others have shown enthusiasm concerning the niche, especially Amazon, who is expected to be well-ahead in the market.
Global tech trends of the sector
Age-Tech naturally focuses on sectors such as health and wellness to develop in. Age-Tech is estimated to be able to completely transform and offer precious aid for the following sectors:
– Key activities of Independent living (medication, hygiene, nutrition)
– Communication and Social Connectivity (social communication, hearing, patient-physician conversation translation)
– Transportation (public transport, driving)
– Personal mobility (monitoring, rehabilitation, assisted movement)
– Access to healthcare (telehealth, e-care planning)
– Cognition (financial security, training, monitoring)
Some have narrowed down three fundamental cornerstones of the Age-Tech market: Physical & Mental Health, Financial Well-being as well as Occupation & Purpose. It’s no surprise that the Age-Tech market is focused on care: in Germany, 4.9 million people are dependent on care, 80 % of which are cared for at home. It’s been shown that in Europe, health significantly declines after 64 years old. With a lack of mobility, many elderly people suffer from loneliness and isolation – there is a real need for technology to step up and render itself available to aid older adults in becoming more independent and connected.
Examples of Israeli Startups in Age-tech
One of the most innovative markets for Age-Tech startups is in Israel. As a country that is known for being the ‘startup nation’, it’s safe to say it has a thriving Age-Tech ecosystem. The country boasts several cutting-edge Age-Tech startups that are looking to solidify themselves in the global scene.
One company provides a simple and easy-to-use remote control and app that connects to most TVs. The device streams a variety of content including Zumba, Yoga, and other wellness-based content that could encourage healthy living and help end loneliness for seniors.
Others use Artificial Intelligence to provide robotic companions for seniors that could even act as home-based physician helpers. Some are even developing devices that could analyze human waste to provide valuable insights into the users’ health. This can be especially valuable if dealing with medical conditions that need constant monitoring.
These Age-Tech solutions could truly allow senior citizens to lead a more comfortable and less lonely lifestyle. Families will be able to provide easy, adapted solutions to care for their parents in ways never heard of before. These ideas have the potential to produce a cultural shift and change the current narrative.
The senior years shouldn’t be seen as detrimental or depressing. Instead, Age-Tech looks to revitalize and encourage happiness, wellbeing, and longevity in what is soon to be one of the largest demographics on the planet.