What Trends are Driving Market Opportunity in Age-tech?

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In two recent posts, we explored the concepts of Aging in Place and Caring for Caregivers and how wireless carriers and cable operators can provide technology solutions that add value to the daily lives of this growing demographic of digital consumers.

According to the International Society for Gerontechnology, Gerontechnology focuses on “designing technology and environment for independent living and social participation of older persons in good health, comfort and safety.” Essentially comparable to Gerontechnology, Age-tech is a term and an industry that originated in Silicon Valley around 2012 and is focused on creating and bringing to market any type of technology that improves the lives of aging adults.

One of the leading voices in this industry is Dominic Endicott, a veteran VC investor that recently founded 4Gen Ventures, an Age-tech focused investment fund. According to the 4Gen Ventures website, “by 2025, the 2.1 billion over-50s will represent more than 25% of the global population, 40% of discretionary income and 75% of global wealth; and at the same time, they will be the fast growing demographic.”

According to an interview with Endicott published by Age-tech-focused media outlet Longevity Technology, communication service providers (CSPs) such as Comcast and AT&T are the early leaders of this flourishing industry – a market that 4Gen Ventures currently forecasts at $1 trillion with $2 trillion upside. In the interview, Endicott says of CSPs:

“Many companies actually are very well advantaged to serve the older customer. In fact, as noted earlier, the communications players are already amazingly well-positioned and are among the largest Age-tech players because they have digitized their networks and have a large base of older customers. However, somewhat paradoxically, many corporations take these older customers for granted, and are failing to develop new services as the tech giants, and thus are at risk of falling behind.”

While tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google currently lag behind CSPs in terms of total Age-tech revenues, Endicott believes that they could soon surpass CSPs as the dominant providers of Age-tech products and services. According to Endicott:

“My view is that the tech giants – Apple, Google, Microsoft, and even Facebook are becoming very strong, but to me the dominant player is Amazon. Jeff Bezos understands that Age is the final frontier, both in terms of how long a human can live, but also in terms of the user experience frontier.”

Age-tech: Trends Driving Demand

Our three-part infographic series overviews the macro trends driving demand for Age-tech:

Our aging population combined with the rising cost of healthcare will continue to drive steady demand for cost-efficient technology solutions that improve the quality of life for older people. The rapid growth and expansion of the Age-tech market over the last decade supports this logic.

As discussed earlier, CSPs are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this attractive market with many already doing so. In the last two years, smartphone adoption among older adults has demonstrated healthy growth, jumping from 70 percent to 77 percent (AARP). According to eMarketer, older Americans are driving the growth of the wearables segment, with 8.2 million Americans age 55 and older using a wearable device in 2019. While many older people took longer to incorporate connected devices into their lifestyle than younger generations, adoption of technology like smartphones and wearables continues to grow and should continue especially as these devices add more health-related features and services.

As the connectivity engine that powers our digital lifestyles and the smart devices that comprise them, CSPs can continue to lead the Age-tech market with innovative products and services that enable (and enhance) independent living, remote health monitoring and telehealth practices. The majority of seniors desire to stay in their homes and age in place, and will use digital technology to realize this lifestyle. According to AARP:

“Three in four older Americans want to stay in their homes and age in place, and technology that allows them to get help in an emergency or track their health virtually can be critical to helping them achieve this goal.”

Smith Micro's SafePath platform helps wireless service providers deliver digital lifestyle solutions to connected families . Learn more>>