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At a recent Microsoft UK, Local Government Partner event, there was some excellent insight on the Digital Agile Aging Market.


The key note speaker Ian Spero, Founder of the Agile Aging Alliance, recently published a paper called ‘Neighbourhoods of the Future” in collaboration with McCarthy & Stone. The purpose of the report was to connect digital innovators with an aging society.


This alliance consists of a diverse range of expertise, which have come together in an open innovation collaboration forum to influence and shape the future.


Some interesting insights showed that Digital Agile Aging has emerged as a distinctive and arguably leading consumer and business market segment: -


  • According to Innovate UK, Britain’s over-50s spent £320 billion in 2015; 47% of all UK consumer spending.
  • According to Forbes, Baby Boomers account for more than 51% of the spending in the United States and have a total annual economic activity of roughly US$7.6 trillion.
  • 49% 52- to 70-year-olds spend 11 hours a week online (2015), compared with 42% of 19-t0-35-year-old millennials.
  • Two-thirds of UK Baby Boomers say that technology is a vital part of their lives and over 50% believe that technology has made their lives easier.


And, as a leading digital market segment it is increasing in size over time.


  • 65+ year-olds increased from 14.1% in 1975 to 17.8% in 2015
  • By 2045, the 65+ aged group is expected to reach 25% of the population


The Digital Agile Aging Market is not short of problems to address. For example, 60% of over 65 years old have at least one-long term health condition. This is expected to reach 18 million by 2025. Such a strong economic market segment with lots of problems is a fertile ground for innovation and opportunities.


Naturally, the problems around health is a worry for every country. The World Bank states that global health care in 2014 reached 9.9% of the World’s GDP. Though these percentages vary country by country. Here is a sample:  

  • USA      17.1% GDP
  • UK        9.1% GDP
  • Russia   7.7% GDP
  • China    5.5% GDP
  • India     4.69% GDP


One of the long-term health conditions for the Older Adult is back pain. This is an area that a syndicate led by Anglia Ruskin University is exploring the use of Chatbots. The idea is using Chatbots to provide personalised advice in the home to reduce demands on the NHS. To achieve this involves deconstructing and reconstructing practical knowledge in a way that enables simple step-by-step conversational advice that used to be locked away in the heads of health experts or written in content form that is difficult to use and measure. This is a fundamental shift towards upskilling at the consumer level to increase self-service and self-sufficiency.


With this approach, the subject matter does not need to be restricted to health as other areas such as finance are also critical to address as part of ‘treating customers fairly’, which is being driven by the Financial Conduct Authority.


It does not stop there, as it also means organisations can upskill their own people leading to greater transparency, efficiency and effectiveness, whilst continuing adapting to change.  This shift towards a blended workforce of people and chatbots will eventually set new socioeconomic benchmarks, including revitalising productivity that has been stagnant for so long!  


This is all part of an open innovation challenge towards industry-scale delivery that will eventually impact every government, industry and practice.








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