This was my third AgeTech West conference and it was the best in terms of mix of providers, technology innovators and others.

This was my third AgeTech West conference and it was the best in terms of mix of providers, technology innovators and others. I found the presenters and presentations better met the needs of the senior living community. The bullet points:

  • Each year I attend with great anticipation and excitement several events that focus on technology innovation in the aging and senior living space.  Naively, I expect to see some amazing, killer concept, idea or product . . . something that will make a revolutionary difference in the world of senior living or aging in general. I have come to the conclusion that I am misguided in this hope. 

    Don’t get me wrong. I saw some pretty interesting stuff, learned some things, got to talk to some really bright creative thinkers, but no killer idea.  And maybe, in truth, that is how killer innovation really works.

    I would also add that I saw some ideas that made me wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea.

  • While this is the last AgeTech West it is far from the end of AgeTech. The big announcement was that AgeTech West will be folded into the Aging2.0 family. It will continue to receive support from the three West Coast LeadingAge organizations but this shift will allow the conference to have a broader reach in two areas.

    The first is that it will be a much more of a national conference, though next year’s event has already been scheduled for San Francisco.

    The second is that, from my perspective, this shift will likely result in greater participation by for-profit senior living providers in coming years.  Aging2.0 is a strong bridge that is solidly connected to both the for-profit and not-for-profit world. I am particularly encouraged to see this because, for the good of the countries elders and for the health of the senior living industry, there needs to be more of a cooperative spirit between the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds.

  • There was a great presentation by Brannon Zahan who is the Channel Manger for the Microsoft Digital Supply Chain Operations. Most intriguing was a demonstration of the Kinect box and how it has great potential in a number of areas, including biometric monitoring and fall detection and prevention.
  • There was a cool presentation on robots. There is still a long way to go before Robbie Robot becomes a real thing that helps seniors, but progress is being made.
  • One of the speakers asked this question of senior living providers: “How many of you have a different sales strategy for online leads than for walk-in leads?” This was a good question and it was pretty discouraging to see not a single hand go up. More and more leads are coming from digital media and they are very valuable but need to be managed in a very different fashion.

Finally it was a great opportunity to network with leaders in the aging space who are passionate about technology, a still relatively small group.n I hope to see you at the new Aging2.0 AgeTech conference next year in San Francisco.

Steve Moran