Apple and IBM Announce iPad Plan to Assist Seniors in Japan

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Apple today announced a joint effort with IBM and Japan Post Group for a first-of-a-kind initiative “aimed at improving the quality of life for millions of Japanese senior citizens”, with the help of iPads. After a trial period, Japan Post Group and Apple hope to connect millions of senior citizens with services, healthcare, community, and family.

There are more than 33 million seniors in Japan, accounting for about a quarter of the country’s population, but this figure is projected to grow to 40% over the next 40 years. The Apple–Japan Post Group initiative aims to expand the service in stages with the objective of including 4  to 5 million customers in Japan by 2020.

Among the iPads, the initiative includes custom-built apps by IBM Global Business Services for reminders and alerts about medication, exercise and diet, exclusive cloud services on the IBM MobileFirst for iOS platform, text analytics, and accessibility technologies invented by IBM Research.

“What we’re starting today draws on IBM’s long heritage of innovation at the intersection of technology, business and society,” said Ginni Rometty, President, Chairman and CEO of IBM. “The potential we see here—as broad as national economics and as specific as the quality of life of individuals and their families—is one example of the potential of mobile-led transformation anywhere in the world where issues of an aging population exist.”

“This initiative has potential for global impact, as many countries face the challenge of supporting an aging population, and we are honored to be involved in supporting Japan’s senior citizens and helping enrich their lives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “iPad is incredibly intuitive, easy to use and has accessibility features built in, making it a perfect device for any generation to be connected and engaged.” 

According to the press release, the initiative comes to address an issue the elderly are facing globally. For example, every day 10,000 people turn 65, and 40% of seniors live alone or with their spouse only.

Japan Post Group’s postal operations include the national Watch Over service. Mail carriers check in on elderly customers, and now, with the iPad, can complement the in-person monitoring. Japan Post Group will begin the pilot service in the second half of this year and will be offered in conjunction with the Watch Over service.

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