2020 was certainly an interesting year, and one that most people are happy to see move to the rearview mirror. I believe that when historians look back on the COVID-19, coronavirus outbreak, they will look at it as a period that brought forward the use of technology that allowed us to stay connected with each other.
Surprisingly, video conferencing has become a way of life for many of us. We watched teachers learn to deliver classroom lessons online. We learned to do doctor visits via tele-health through our smart phones or tablets. There was a learning curve involved with each of these. However, the technology that allowed us to stay connected in a world of social distancing and quarantines has been developing for years.
This has been extremely important to retired Americans. Utilizing this technology has helped them feel less isolated and more connected to their friends, family and the rest of the world. This was not an accident. Companies have been developing this technology for a number of years. They have been meeting with AARP since 2015 to help design technology tools for aging populations. They expect the market for these technologies to continue to grow exponentially. There is a lot of potential benefit in voice enabled, virtual assistant devices to help an older population manage their health care needs, including tracking medications and nutritional requirements.
Voice enabled devices coupled voice recognition and artificial intelligence (AI). Based on your behavior and preferences, it helps you do things that previously required the help of another person. Retirees are embracing this technology at an astonishing pace. They are using it to listen to music, check the weather, or do research. By calendar year 2022, experts estimate that more than 55% of US households will have at least one voice activated smart device.
As we look ahead, we are thankful for the technology we had that allowed us to stay connected to our friends and loved ones when we couldn’t visit them or be in the same room. As always, there are challenges with new technology. There is a learning curve, and sometimes frustration or confusion. The folks at Saturday Night Live captured this in a recent skit about a special, voice-activated device that they claim was developed especially for retirees. We thought everyone could use a laugh as we continue “Moving Life Forward” into this new year.
© 2021 Jesse Hurst
The link for the SNL skit is below, enjoy!!