Disclaimer: My dad worked at IBM, I am an Apple fan-boy, and my full-time job is at a seniors facility – so this news hits close to home in many ways.
As you may know, Japan has a super greying population. The population pyramid is actually doing a somersault. While the worldwide percentage of seniors is currently 11% and expected to grow to 21% by 2050, Japan has been there and done that. The current percentage of seniors in Japan is already at 25% and is expected to be 40% in the next 40 years!
Today, nearly 180,000 people in Japan between the ages of 15 and 29 provide care for a family member.
The Japan Post offers much more than postal services here in Japan – it offers insurance, and financial services as well. There are over 24,000 post offices and a workforce of 400,000. In fact, Japan Post Group already has financial relationships with nearly all of the 115 million adults in Japan.
One service that the Japan Post has already started is called Watch Over. For a monthly fee, mail delivery personnel will check in on the elderly relatives of family members separated by distance to make sure they are doing well.
This service is to be expanded with a new partnership with IBM and Apple including the following initiatives:
- iPads with their incredible accessibility features
- Apps built by IBM with reminders and alerts about medications, exercise and diet, along with direct access to community activities and supporting services such as grocery shopping and job matching
- IBM infrastructure support and security
- Text analytics and accessibility technologies, including Japanese natural language analysis and tracking to guide seniors and make the experience more natural
- Last Mile support by Japan Post
I think this is a great idea and I hope that it can be expanded to help people with disabilities as well. Not only have the iOS accessibility features helped me, I know they have helped a number of my disabled friends as well.
What are your thoughts?