As I attend the AGE-WELL third webinar today, titled Building an Innovation Hub: A Case Study, it is timely also to mention that last week the finalists were announced for the AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge: Start-up Edition. Like last year’s technology design challenge, this acknowledges and awards companies working on technology-based solutions that can make a difference, augmenting the daily lives of older Canadians and their caregivers.
Fifteen finalists, five each from Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto will make their pitch over six weeks until July 25. The winner of each regional competition will receive $15K in cash plus in-kind prizes. These entries range from low tech to high tech, such as…
HomeEXCEPT (Montreal), non-intrusive monitoring solutions – no cameras, listening devices or wearables, using smart sensors, putting privacy first, to
Luxsonic Technologies (Vancouver) with their interactive virtual reality (VR) training tool to help family caregivers learn how to identify and manage pain in older adults with conditions including cognitive decline and dementia, and
Just Vertical (Toronto), with an indoor vertical garden system for older adults who are home-bound with restricted mobility.
As you read descriptions for each of the other Start-up Edition entries, it is of note as with so many technology-based pitches these days that some products are of direct consumer usage and others are more business to business such as Tenera Care. Their monitoring and analysis tools apply to senior living facilities to help reduce risk giving them the best possible setting to provide care to residents, and better work conditions for staff.
This is a significant thing to watch as we should ask about each business start-up – who are they targeting, who is the direct customer making the buying decision? The end-user or beneficiary of these products is primarily still the same – older adults and their caregivers.
Meanwhile back at the webinar, I’m listening to the story of innovation hubs across Canada. The case study features an Ottawa-based hub, which focuses on Sensors and Analytics for Monitoring Mobility and Memory (SAM3). It’s becoming more evident that over the next decade, there will be a whole lot of older adult monitoring going on (as if there isn’t already). Maybe investing in sensors is a smart move?