The Front End – Part 2 of a two-part series regarding how Google, Amazon, Skype, or other techies firms would run our communities.

By Jacquelyn Kung

Google and Amazon innovators have actually already dabbled in hotel and retirement community operations — and our residents seem delighted!

Room Service

SAVIOKE. Its makers have been piloting this device in hotels like Aloft (of the Westin umbrella). Remember all those times you needed a toothbrush because you left yours at home? Well, now, a SAVIOKE can deliver it to you, and call as it arrives at your room.

Their screen asks you how your stay is going — and you can give instant feedback, which hotels have found very helpful. As a guest, you also avoid the awkward oh-my-gosh-where-is-my-cash-to-tip-you-for-bringing-me-a-toothbrush feeling.


VOYAGE. The father of the self-driving car movement is at Google building Waymo. His protégé started Voyage and it’s operating in the Villages in San Jose. They only have a few cars, which they use as “taxis” to ferry residents to appointments and the store, so they are pretty much at maximum capacity. Seniors love it!

Resident Engagement

ALEXA. Did anyone see Thrive’s Alexa video? It’s awesome. My 80-year old mother-in-law loves her Alexa! One of the biggest complaints that seniors have about their Alexa is that there aren’t enough fitness classes tailored to older populations.

Karli Olson at Front Porch has published about their Alexa demo. Thrive has taken it a step further and built a suite of products around it. Alexa can answer my residents’ favorite question, “What’s for dinner?” No more having to call Faye at the front desk!

How else might Google, Amazon, and other tech innovators refresh our communities? What else might a 72-year old Baby Boomer want or need?

Let’s innovate together! Please leave your comments.