Apple to aid Japan's elderly with iPads in latest fruits of IBM alliance

Posted:
in iPad edited April 2015
Japan Post has forged a deal with Apple and IBM that will see iPads put in the hands of elderly Japanese under the care of the national Watch Over service, the companies announced on Thursday.




Apple will provide the iPads, while IBM will develop custom software over the next year, the three parties involved revealed. Watch Over is a niche service started by Japan Post in 2013, under which mail carriers check in on elderly clients, provide consultation, and share information with family members.

Calling it a "first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at improving the quality of life for millions of Japanese senior citizens," the program will include IBM apps that will connect the elderly to services, healthcare, community, and their families. Japan's population includes 33 million seniors, representing about 25 percent of the country's total.

"This initiative has potential for global impact, as many countries face the challenge of supporting an aging population, and we are honored to be involved in supporting Japan's senior citizens and helping enrich their lives," said Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. "iPad is incredibly intuitive, easy to use and has accessibility features built in, making it a perfect device for any generation to be connected and engaged."

There are currently only 100 people in the Watch Over program to date, for each of whom it costs 1,000 yen ($8.40) per month, according to The Wall Street Journal. Later in 2015, however, a six-month pilot program will provide 1,000 iPads to senior citizens at no cost. If all goes well the initiative will turn into a business in April 2016, although fees haven't been decided.

The goal is to reach 4 million to 5 million Japanese by 2020. Demographically Japan is a rapidly aging country, with one quarter of its 127 million people older than 65.

"We are joining with two of the world's most respected leaders in technology to bring our elderly generation into the connected world, expand our businesses by deepening relationships, and discover new ways to strengthen the fabric of our society and economy," said Taizo Nishimuro, CEO of Japan Post Group.

The IBM software will remind elderly people to take their medication, suggest diet and exercise changes, and help with tasks like grocery shopping and job matching. The company will also be providing many behind-the-scenes services, such as system integration and training.

"What we're starting today draws on IBM's long heritage of innovation at the intersection of technology, business and society," said Ginni Rometty, President, Chairman and CEO of IBM. "The potential we see here--as broad as national economics and as specific as the quality of life of individuals and their families--is one example of the potential of mobile-led transformation anywhere in the world where issues of an aging population exist."

According to the companies, the initiative includes:
  • iPad and its intuitive built-in apps, capabilities and features including FaceTime, Messages, Mail, Photos and iCloud Photo Sharing, along with access to rich content in the App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store. iOS 8, offering award-winning accessibility features, including settings for low vision and hearing impaired users.
  • Custom-built apps specifically for the elderly by IBM Global Business Services for reminders and alerts about medications, exercise and diet, along with direct access to community activities and supporting services such as grocery shopping and job matching.
  • Exclusive cloud services of the IBM MobileFirst for iOS platform, for data integration and security, analytics, and management of millions of devices; along with systems integration services and training for Japan Post Group employees.
  • Pioneering text analytics and accessibility technologies, many invented in IBM Research - Tokyo, including Japanese natural language analysis and tracking to guide seniors and make the experience more natural.
  • The nationwide infrastructure of Japan Post Group and its ability to cover the "last mile" to virtually every citizen of Japan. In addition to 24,000 post offices and a workforce of 400,000, Japan Post Group has existing financial relationships with nearly all of the 115 million adults in Japan.
The Japan Post deal stems from Apple and IBM's MobileFirst partnership. Together the companies have developed a range of template iOS apps and services for enterprise, with split support responsibilities when organizations agree to a contract.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,183member
    Robots, nursing homes and/or remote care will be the only options for so many seniors soon. Worldwide demographic shifts are quite unfavorable for the aged and infirm.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    The last paragraph in Reuter's story on this had to get a Watch dig in.

    [quote]Cook touted iPhone and iPad sales in Japan but notably made little mention of the Apple Watch, his first new product since taking over the company after Steve Jobs' death in 2011. He touted the iPad as an integral tool for improving care of elderly family members and patients, and said Apple has seen a "significant uptake" of the iPhone and iPad in Japan.[/quote]

    Why do I get this feeling a meme is being created to suggest Cook is unhappy with the Watch. On the investor call someone questioned him on it saying they didn't think he sounded sufficiently excited about it. And now this Reuters story. This is an iPad initiative. Why would Cook be touting the Watch at this event?
  • Reply 3 of 12
    rogifan wrote: »
    The last paragraph in Reuter's story on this had to get a Watch dig in.
    Why do I get this feeling a meme is being created to suggest Cook is unhappy with the Watch. On the investor call someone questioned him on it saying they didn't think he sounded sufficiently excited about it. And now this Reuters story. This is an iPad initiative. Why would Cook be touting the Watch at this event?

    Because John Scully would have touted it. :rolleyes:
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    The last paragraph in Reuter's story on this had to get a Watch dig in.

    Why do I get this feeling a meme is being created to suggest Cook is unhappy with the Watch. On the investor call someone questioned him on it saying they didn't think he sounded sufficiently excited about it. And now this Reuters story. This is an iPad initiative. Why would Cook be touting the Watch at this event?



    I agree with you. The Watch is not the story, but Reuters will try making it the story. One week after the Apple Watch was delivered to a lot of people, IBM/Apple begin to roll out an iPad Mobile First initiative that had been planned for a while. Reuters has purposely skipped right over this fact in an attempt to give Apple a negative mark for the Apple Watch.

  • Reply 5 of 12

    Apple Watch isn't the story here, but its importance in initiatives like this going forward will be huge. Obviously the health/activity monitoring aspect of Apple Watch and other similar devices will give these type of programs the most important data, esp as they become more sophisticated. It will be the rare senior citizen in 10 years who does not wear a heath monitoring wrist device and the Apple Watch 'should' be the high-end leader. 

     

    But if Tim Cook isn't touting that fact at the moment, it's because their first push is to position it among younger adults as a hi-tech fashion forward accessory. The elderly utility will sell itself.

  • Reply 6 of 12
    Japan Post has forged a deal with Apple and IBM that will see iPads put in the hands of elderly Japanese under the care of the national Watch Over service, the companies announced on Thursday.

    Apple will provide the iPads, while IBM will develop custom software over the next year, the three parties involved revealed. Watch Over is a niche service started by Japan Post in 2013, under which mail carriers check in on elderly clients, provide consultation, and share information with family members.

    Robots, nursing homes and/or remote care will be the only options for so many seniors soon. Worldwide demographic shifts are quite unfavorable for the aged and infirm.

    There is a tremendous business opportunity for anyone * who will recognize i!.

    under which mail carriers * check in on elderly clients, provide [access to] consultation, and [facilitate a means to] share information with family members.

    * any responsible organization that has regular, frequent (continuous?) access to the elderly ... cable and phone carriers immediately come to mind. In some countries the Post Office, govt. programs, etc.

    And including the Apple Watch in the package can greatly improve the quality of life -- and vastly:
    • improve the frequency of contact
    • improve the quality of monitoring and consultation
    • reduce the costs of the services


    Edit:  Since many people here are from the US -- this is a rather interesting site:

    http://www.census.gov/popclock/?intcmp=home_pop

    It's kind of fun to play with the interactive graphs.
     
  • Reply 7 of 12
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



    There is a tremendous business opportunity for anyone * who will recognize i!.

     

    Seniors were the first to use wearables. "I've fallen and I can't get up."  

     

    Are those monitor devices really hot selling items? Their simplicity seems a lot more practical than an iPad.

  • Reply 8 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,183member

    There is a tremendous business opportunity for anyone * who will recognize i!.

    under which mail carriers * check in on elderly clients, provide [access to] consultation, and [facilitate a means to] share information with family members.

    * any responsible organization that has regular, frequent (continuous?) access to the elderly ... cable and phone carriers immediately come to mind. In some countries the Post Office, govt. programs, etc.

    And including the Apple Watch in the package can greatly improve the quality of life -- and vastly:
    • improve the frequency of contact
    • improve the quality of monitoring and consultation
    • reduce the costs of the services


    Edit:  Since many people here are from the US -- this is a rather interesting site:

    http://www.census.gov/popclock/?intcmp=home_pop

    It's kind of fun to play with the interactive graphs.
     

    Since I regularly visit some seniors now, i already know of one group that is already taking advantage of this new business opportunity... SCAMMERS. These predators are all over seniors like leeches as soon as they figure out who lives in a house.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    mstone wrote: »
    There is a tremendous business opportunity for anyone * who will recognize i!.

     
    Seniors were the first to use wearables. "I've fallen and I can't get up."  

    Even earlier than that -- in the 1960s, my paternal grandmother had a hearing aid about the size of a transistor radio with earbud cords to each ear. She tucked that "radio" into her bustier.
    Are those monitor devices really hot selling items? Their simplicity seems a lot more practical than an iPad.

    There is a lot to be said for simplicity, and inexpensive!

    There are also limitations -- no sensors, no remote monitoring ...
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Since I regularly visit some seniors now, i already know of one group that is already taking advantage of this new business opportunity... SCAMMERS. These predators are all over seniors like leeches as soon as they figure out who lives in a house.

    Yeah ... that's very sad.

    I don't know the answer to that except regular contact with someone trustworthy who can explain their options and choices.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member

    My grandmother lives on a different continent than me, so I obviously don't get to see them that often, but thanks to FaceTime, I'm able to video chat every once in a while, thanks to a few iPads. It wasn't that many years ago, that doing something like that would have been incomprehensible.

  • Reply 12 of 12
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Robots, nursing homes and/or remote care will be the only options for so many seniors soon. Worldwide demographic shifts are quite unfavorable for the aged and infirm.

    Japan just doesn't want any immigration or foreigners. There are plenty of people in other countries that will work for nothing. And a lot of them are young.

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