Tech firms tap into the silver economy by combining functions with aesthetics

Technology for the elderly has long been big, beige and boring. It’s time to change that.

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Tech firms tap into the silver economy by combining functions with aesthetics

With many countries from different parts of the world stepping into ageing societies, the “silver economy” is emerging with a prospect. More and more tech companies started making products tap into the trend, with Apple being one of them.

The company launched its latest Apple Watch in September 2018, and has been highly praised by many industrial insiders for its functions like medical diagnosis and health monitoring. Steve Blank, the godfather of entrepreneurship, complimented the three inbuilt apps, namely “fall detection”, “IDE”, and “ECG”, claiming that they are “applicable for the elderly”.

Though Apple Watch is mainly used by young people, with the degree of ageing deepening in many countries, it will become an important tool for the elderly to deal with physical emergencies.

Apple Inc. can be regarded as a company pursuing perfection in product design. According to Joseph Coughlin, the founder of AgeLab, MIT, for a long time, the products designed for the health of the elderly on the market are of a clumsy shape and incompetent functions. Such products think of functions overs aesthetics, such as overly-simplified cellphones and large remote controls. And they are usually big, beige and boring.

As tech tycoons started adopting “applicable-for-the-elderly” designs, we could expect those products would be greatly improved both functionally and aesthetically.

KRA Comment: Artificial intelligence, voice Assistant and many other applications lower the threshold for the elderly to use techie products. However, the design and experience of such products are often times overlooked with attention usually only paid to functions. This is a competitive edge that has been neglected by many market players.