The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is a great opportunity to experience technology from the very simple to the complex. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be at this year’s CES. Not only was I able to walk the show floor and visit a diverse number of new tech devices, but I also attended a special program addressing technology for boomers and beyond: the Silvers Summit.
The Silvers Summit explored innovative technologies that can enhance the lives of boomers and older individuals. One of the more interesting sessions that I attended addressed the question of consumers’ adoption of technology and whether or not companies and other entities have been taking the right approach. One of the panelists, Steve Mayer, Director of J3 – and the co-founder of Atari — suggested that we need to create technologies that are of interest for older people to use and that we need to be careful to avoid stereotypes (for example, he noted that a majority of video game players are actually women). Dr. Aenor Sawyer, of the Center for Digital Health Innovation at UCSF, spoke about the importance of involving older individuals as active collaborators in the design of technology. Stephen Ewell, CEA Foundation, emphasized one critical factor to getting older individuals to adopt technology is to identify the value it provides for this community. The panel raised some important and relevant issues related to the adoption of technology, including a number that Project GOAL has also emphasized as important to getting older adults online.
Back on the show floor, I was impressed with the great number of digital health devices that can help us all stay healthier and fit. There were also devices that will make our homes “smarter” and allow us to age in place. For older individuals with accessibility issues, technology is providing those with hearing and sight impairments an opportunity to more easily use a computer or mobile device. Amazing developments in technology for all consumers, including older adults, were on display at CES and it was great to have a front row seat!