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2015 io t_summit--smart_aging


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My presentation to the 2015 IoT Global Summit about keeping seniors healthier and happier, in their homes, through a combination of Internet of Things devices

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2015 io t_summit--smart_aging

  1. 1. “Smart Aging” smart tech, smart policy, better living W. David Stephenson Stephenson Strategies 2015 IoT Global Summit I’m excited to talk with you today about a new concept, “Smart Aging,” that I believe has the potential to improve seniors’ health, allow seniors to “age in place” in their own homes, and help both individuals and society deal with the cost of aging. The IoT Global Summit is an ideal place to speak of this concept, because the Summit is the one IoT conference that tries to always feature both emerging IoT technology and the equally important public policy issues accompanying them that must also be addressed. “Smart Aging” will use that technology to lighten the public policy and spending burden.
  2. 2. Something’s Gotta Give • 10,000 baby boomers retire daily. • “..aging..will be the dominant force in spending increases” • 1st year med school enrollment declined since 1980. 250,000 docs older than 55. • By 2020, 1 in 9 worldwide over 60. It’s about time for Smart Aging, because, frankly, we, as individuals and a society, just can’t afford to live without it. Consider a few overwhelming facts: • 10,000 baby boomers in the US now retire every day. Every day! • According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “Through 2037, aging will be the dominant force in spending increases not only on Social Security and health care programs, but also in the overall non-interest budget” • There also ain’t gonna be enough doctors to care for us, either. In fact, 1st year medical school enrollment has declined since 1980. Even worse, current doctors are going from being part of the solution to being part of the problem: 250,000 of them are older than 55, and they’ll also retire soon. • The problem is global: by 2020, 1 in 9 people worldwide will be over 60. •
  3. 3. But, what if… You could easily 
 record daily 
 health data 
 & that might 
 improve your 
 health? But what if there was a radical shift in how we deal with aging? What if a senior could automatically record her most important health indicators, not just on a doctor’s office visit, but every hour of every day, and then share that data with her doctor, so that caring for her becomes more of a partnership, based on real understanding of her daily life? In fact, when I went for my annual physical several weeks ago, when my doctor walked into the examination room, this summary of my recent activity was what I showed her first.
  4. 4. But, what if… Seniors could 
 run their homes 
 — just talking 
 to them? But what if, instead of the current situation, where it becomes increasingly hard for a senior to run his home or apartment’s daily operations as he aged, he could actually control critical functions such as lighting or heating, just by speaking a few basic commands? Instead of being institutionalized, which has been shown to not only radically increase someone’s living costs but also contribute to a decline in his health and sense of wellbeing, he’d be able to stay at home, among his favorite possessions and his neighbors. Less cost for him and for society, more peace of mind.
  5. 5. “Smart Aging” Senior-friendly home and health technology to cut their health and living costs, improve their health & quality of life — & keep them in their own homes. Put these two innovations together, and you get “Smart Aging.” 
 That’s the concept of using senior-friendly home and health technology to cut seniors’ health and living costs, improve their health and quality of life, and keep them in their own homes as long as possible. I believe it can bring unprecedented health and happiness to the senior years — while saving both them and society money!
  6. 6. Two Aspects: • Quantified Self movement • Smart Home Devices While there have been efforts for a while to specifically use technology to improve aging, I believe Smart Aging will instead result from tweaking efforts underway as part of the Internet of Things to improve life for everyone, of all ages. As Joe Coughlin, director of MIT’s AgeLab, says, “Counterintuitively, making home automation mainstream and cool means that it's likely to end up in the hands of older adults sooner than if home automation technologies were only designed specifically for older people.” Two aspects of the Internet of Things combine to make “Smart Aging Possible.” First is the “Quantified Self”movement and wearables in general. The second is Smart Home devices that automate previously manual processes.
  7. 7. Ultimate Test of IoT “… when technology recedes into the background of our lives..” —Mark Weiser When I think about this issue, I think about what Mark Weiser, the “father” of the Internet of Things, said about the third generation of computers, in which “technology recedes into the background of our lives.” It seems to me that “smart aging” is both the ultimate challenge, and, potentially, the ultimate proof of this idea: seniors, even the most tech-savvy, don’t want to fool around with tiny interfaces, and are looking to enjoy their twilight years, not be challenged by them. Thus, IoT devices that are simple to use & can become part of their daily lives without setting them apart or stigmatizing them, as Coughlin said, will really transform the aging process — while making the IoT more appealing for everyone.
  8. 8. BringYour Own Device As bring your own device reshaped workplaces, public policy on aging must encourage and integrate smart home and Quantified-Self devices Since I read a lot of government technology publications, it dawned on me last week that Smart Aging is another manifestation of an issue that government agencies and policy-makers have been wrestling with for several years: how to encourage “bring your own devices” and integrate them both into the government workplace and services to help citizens. Since the statistics I quoted earlier and factors such as the dwindling Social Security Trust Fund mean that we will have more recipients and fewer financial resources in the future, doesn’t it make sense to make IoT devices that seniors and their families will want to buy for a variety of uses and that can be used as part of Smart Aging strategies a key part of senior service planning?
  9. 9. Already here! An iPhone 
 Case That
 Can Save 
 Your Life! Smart Aging, without a formal agenda or mandate, is already evolving as part of the general IoT movement. Perhaps the neatest example is this iPhone case. Oh, did I mention that, in addition to protecting your phone, it can also save your life? This is the AliveCor Mobile ECG. The two silvery parts are electrodes that you hold in both hands, and, within 30 seconds, it gives you an ECG. It’s no gimmick: the AliveCor has passed rigorous testing and is approved by the FDA.
  10. 10. Already here! Smart Home 
 devices that 
 automate your 
 house just
 by speaking My favorite Smart Home device that works for everyone but especially well for seniors, is the Amazon Echo, a small cylinder that sits on your kitchen counter, and can be used both to play streaming audio and also control IoT devices such as the WeMo switches or Hue Lights. It’s easy-to-use by people of all ages, and doesn’t shout this is for old guys.
  11. 11. Even better…
 put them together Even better, what if your health devices could trigger your home ones? The Nest thermostat, which has artificial intelligence, learns from your living patterns how to regulate your heating and cooling. The Jawbone UP bracelet includes an alarm function that will wake you at the ideal moment in your sleep cycle to minimize the hassle of waking. Now, the same alarm that wakes you will automatically adjust the Nest, so that you’ll get up in a warm house! Isn’t that incredible? If you haven’t already already used it, play around yourself with the IFTTT site, where smart IoT device manufacturers post their open APIs so that anyone can come up with clever “recipes” to trigger devices and/or combine actions by several devices. I believe this site is absolutely critical to the IoT’s future, because it democratizes the data and allows anyone — including some senior — with a bright idea to extend the usability and benefits of these devices.
  12. 12. How Will Seniors Benefit? Encourage healthy new habits such as more sleep, more walking, better diet. So what will this neat new technology do to improve seniors’ lives? It can encourage them to adopt healthy new habits such as getting more sleep, walking more, because it not only records their activity, but also tracks it over time, so they can quickly see whether they’re making progress toward the goals they set for themselves. They can even choose to share that data with their adult children to reassure them that they’re staying active.
  13. 13. How Will Seniors Benefit? Transform doctor-patient relationship Carrying this data sharing to its logical conclusion, Partners Healthcare is now experimenting with allowing patients (provided they opt in, because privacy and security is so important) to share their Quantified Self device data with their doctors. That probably won’t be widespread for a while, but it is likely to result in better diagnoses, because the doctor won’t just have to rely on a few tests, given months apart, but instead can see what patients’ lives are like day in and day out!
  14. 14. How Will Seniors Benefit? Automate household processes They will be more comfortable because they’ll now be able to manage a variety of formerly manual processes, such as adjusting the heat or turning lights on or off, automatically.
  15. 15. It Won’t Be Easy Security & Privacy Critical! This revolution won’t happen automatically — and without some pain, cost and debate. Most important is making sure that seniors control their own medical and home information. It is absolutely essential that manufacturers build-in advanced privacy and security protections, and constantly update them. NOTHING will undermine public confidence in the Internet of Things and especially Smart Aging in particular than a few well-publicized security breeches. It’s good that the Federal Trade Commission has already made a big thing out of fining one of the companies that disregarded privacy and security.
  16. 16. It Won’t Be Easy Person Must Opt In 
 & Dignity Comes First Similarly, there’s also a big matter of seniors’ personal choices when it comes to Smart Aging. They must be the boss: the default choice with any device or service must be that you aren’t included or you don’t share data unless YOU specifically agree to it, and the terms must be laid out clearly, and simply. And, when it comes, for example, to wearable devices, their design and appearance can’t stigmatize seniors: they must be either inconspicuous or so accepted by the public that anyone would want to wear them and even show them off. Contrast the Holter monitor for heart functions on the right to the Zio patch on the left: which would you rather wear? Which would your grandfather rather wear?
  17. 17. It Won’t Be Easy Health and fitness devices 
 must be accurate You can bet that, as the health and fitness devices become more accurate, doctors come to rely on their data, and as the manufacturers begin to make claims for them, the Food and Drug Administration will become involved, as with the AliveCor Mobile ECG, requiring extensive testing in order for the devices to be certified — and they’ll penalize manufacturers who don’t meet these tests.
  18. 18. Worth It In The End! • Improve seniors’ health & fitness • Cut their medical bills • Build their self-esteem • Cut their living costs • Let them stay at home, safely “Smart Aging” is still in its early stages, but the devices and services are evolving quickly, and “network effects” are already at work: the more of them, and the more they are linked, the more valuable each becomes. Seniors will enjoy multiple benefits. It will: • Improve their health & fitness • Cut their medical bills • Build their self-esteem • Cut their living costs • Let them stay at home, safely. 
 Smart Aging is already becoming a reality, but I believe it also should become a public policy priority, and receive r & d money and active government support. When it is affordable and robust, everyone, from seniors to taxpayers, will benefit. Thank you.
  19. 19. “Smart Aging” For more information: W. David Stephenson
 Stephenson Strategies
 508 740-8918
 Twitter: @data4all