Forget the Alexa-powered toasters at CES, these innovations will really shape 2018


As CES rolls out troves of new Alexa-enabled toasters, mirrors and even shower heads, the gathering has become just another symbol of Silicon Valley’s disconnect with the needs of everyday people.

Meanwhile, we had recently challenged Silicon Valley to find new solutions for life stages where we could all use a little help, including: 1) graduating with student loans, 2) moving to a city and paying rent, 3) becoming a parent, and 4) living comfortably post-retirement.

2018 is the year we can finally look forward to exciting developments in each of these categories. In the coming year, we’ll see major shifts, including the biggest brands competing for the attention of baby boomers, not millennials; new apartments in cities like NY charging half the rent you’re paying now; and even checking your fertility becoming as easy as swiping right.

Unfortunately, none of these innovations are things you will be hearing about at CES. And so at the turn of the year, I sat down with Dr. Oz, Bobbi Brown, President Fox and others on our Kairos board to map out the big changes we expect to see in 2018.

Here are some of the things we predict will happen:

Prediction 1: Baby boomers will become the new millennials

Consumer brands will shift focus to the boomer generation. Boomers are tech savvy. They’re active on social media (72 percent are active Facebook users), they use smartphones (>60 percent) and they’re now accustomed to the convenience of on-demand services like Uber, grocery delivery and more. With more than 10,000 people retiring each day, this is the year we’ll see the growth of new lifestyle brands/services competing for the attention of boomers, not millennials.

Boomers will find part-time jobs with a purpose. Don’t expect retiring boomers to be sitting around at home or playing golf all day. This generation, like millennials, wants companionship and the opportunity to engage in purpose-driven work. Expect to see an influx of new businesses built around seniors offering services with meaning. Examples include housing solutions where seniors rent out rooms in their now-empty homes to students or where seniors offer daycare services for neighborhood kids.

Healthcare will transition from the hospital to the home. Boomers are the first wave of retirees comfortable using digital technology in their daily lives. And because of this, expect tech-savvy boomers to lead the charge in moving healthcare out of the hospital and into the home. They will be accustomed to using fitness trackers and home diagnostic kits to monitor their health. And when hiring at-home elderly care for themselves or their parents, boomers will expect nurses to use the latest technology to improve treatment, track outcomes and reduce costs. This transformation in the elderly-care industry will mean more seniors will be able to live healthier, happier lives in the freedom and comfort of their own home.

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