Japan is a country that grew rich before growing old. In the countries that we work in, the median age is rising fast and more people live long. Our fear is that these countries will grow old before they amass the wherewithal to support a good life for their elders. Little has been done mobile ICTs for the aged. It is significant that this colloborative effort is focused on Japan, perhaps the country most associated with the problem of an aging population. Poorer countries will have much to learn from it even if direct replication is not possible.
IBM, Apple and Japan Post Group, a giant postal service, bank and insurer, declared on Thursday that they were joining to deliver a new technology service to the fast-growing market of older Japanese adults. The service involves equipping Japan’s silver generation with iPads loaded with software apps to help them communicate with family and friends, monitor their health, and buy goods and services.
For IBM and Apple, the initiative is another step in the partnership they formed last year, mainly to create mobile apps for corporate workers. The project with Japan Post goes beyond the workplace into homes.