Post COVID-19 Era: Empowering Ageing Population with Voice

February 02, 2022
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The US, Canada, France, Japan, and Germany are just a few of 34 countries where more than 20% of the population will be over 65 years old by 2030. Most older adults live either alone or with their partners. [1] COVID-19 showed the importance of living arrangements for their physical and mental well-being. However, the growth in the number of caregivers and healthcare providers does not correspond. As a result, we see increasing interest in this space to fix this supply-demand problem. The market for eldercare assistive devices is expected to be $1 trillion in 2025. [2]

Big tech has started tapping into the age tech market with new offerings such as Alexa together by Amazon [3] and Nest Hub Max by Google. [4] Startups and investors have seen the market potential; US startups have focused on eldercare and home healthcare has received $1.1 billion investment in 2020. [5] Robots are also gaining popularity. In Japan, 60% of nursery homes adopted robots as of 2020. [6]

Although products and services target various use cases such as geriatrics, companionship, and communication; from the older adults’ perspective, digital literacy and privacy are the biggest barriers to adopting new technologies. 83% of them are not confident whether their online activities remain private or not. [7]

Voice user interfaces enable easy access to technology to tackle digital literacy. A recent study concluded that voice interfaces enable easy access to digital technology for seniors, as most participants found voice interfaces easier to use than traditional computing devices. However, the study also found that challenges such as device time-outs before completion of voice commands and dependencies on internet connectivity hindered the experience and limited use for older adults. [8] Voice is also linked with privacy concerns due to big tech smart speakers’ notorious “eavesdrop''. [9]

Relying on the cloud for voice recognition cannot fully address the digital literacy and privacy issues, which are identified as the biggest barriers for older adults to adopt new technologies.

Picovoice is the end-to-end platform for adding voice to anything on your terms. The self-service Picovoice Console enables organizations to train AI models instantly. Training voice AI models instantly shortens the time-to-market and allows continuous improvement based on end-user feedback. On-device voice data processing streamlines the user experience and offers intrinsic privacy by eliminating connectivity dependency.

To tap into this $1 trillion market, design and develop easy-to-use and private voice products with Picovoice! Watch this one-minute demo for a voice-enabled motion detection camera made for Raspberry Pi. Picovoice empowers voice products that run across platforms from tiny MCUs to web browsers without sacrificing user experience or privacy.

Picovoice’s free tier offers anyone with an email address or a GitHub account to train voice models and deploy them on up to 3 devices, even commercially, for free. Start building!