Mobile tools for older adults after all

Contrary to the idea many have that the older population is not using mobie devices, I noticed at my Mother in law’s 80th birthday, many of her friends who came to the party were sharing grandkid pictures and dog pictures on their smart phones. The use of mobile devices by the older segments of the population (Boomers and retired) is on the rise.

My mother-in-law is 80, ¬†as are most of these friends at the party. As I walked around to various tables, there were several simultaneous “picture sharing sessions” happening. Only this time it was all pictures on the smart phones. The ability to take pictures with the phones, and easily recall them to show them onscreen, or to send them to family members or friends, indicates the start of a rapid move toward easy to use smart phone apps that bring previously more difficult computer tasks to the simple touch screen/swipe access of even the previously “computer illiterate”. The post here a couple weeks ago regarding “Age of Context” (how it is becoming easier and easier to , through the use of sensors, which are becoming smaller and smaller and thus, more plentiful and commonplace in smart phones, talking to various GPS and location signals, to help us find our way around by using voice commands, or alert us to nearby places or opportunities for discounted services. )

As more smartphones find their way into the hands of older adults, service providers will be creating smartphone apps which operate seamlessly and with practically very little effort on the part of the user. As more older adults become a larger percentage of the mobile device market, even more service providers geared toward older adults will be creating apps that allow access to their services on the go. I can see being one of many service providers who can leverage the growing number of location and sensor driven applications to offer context-sensitive information at just the right time to enable the discovery of a discount on a desired item at a convenient location. Add to this the increasing ability to collect user supplied data, and these services become increasingly social and collaborative as well. This certainly makes for an interesting future.