How the Internet of Things will benefit older and younger generations – The Property Chronicle
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How the Internet of Things will benefit older and younger generations What’s more important? Your fridge telling you to buy some milk on the way home, or your floor recognising an older person has fallen and notifying the emergency services?


Having recently hosted an event at MIPIM 2018 on the topic I can confidently say the Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay and is set to make big differences in the way we live, work and shop.

You can look at stats such as there being a predicted 20.4 billion connected things in use globally by 2020, or the value of the industry being set to be US$138 billion by 2023. However, I look to the simple fact that from primitive man to the present, as a species we have always pursued increased connectivity.

When it comes to the home IoT is already here with over 40% of homes having a connected device within the UK. However, we firmly believe the biggest impact is going to be initially made with seniors. It’s great that anyone can adjust their heating or lighting from their phone but it’s not a true game changer. However, how IoT can help older people live for longer in their homes truly is.

We carried out a survey with the over 70’s which threw up some key insights into this field. After deteriorating health, losing their independence was the biggest concern. This concern involves moving to a retirement home, but eventually, IoT is what could make the difference to accomodate people to stay in their existing home for longer.

77% of respondents also felt technology can make living at home easier. When we probed further it covered a variety of reasons:

  • “It takes away a lot of the problems”
  • “It makes me feel safer”
  • “Things are mentally and physically easier with technology”
  • “Technology is useful when you have mobility problems”
  • “I have alarms and CCTV which assist me and give me peace of mind in case I have a fall”
  • “I have Alexa and it’s amazing. It saves me energy and makes everything easy”
  • “Having an intelligent home is amazing”
  • “I think how it was for my parents and how much easier it is for me, which is pretty much all down to technology”

Adoption of smart home technology within the UK residential property market has been slow and fragmented thus far. It has largely been led by customer acquisition rather than any focus on the part of developers.

However, we’re teetering on the brink of this changing. While we may associate the adoption of technology primarily with younger generations, interestingly it is senior citizens who are leading the charge when it comes to certain types of smart home tech. Losing their independence is the second biggest concern of the over 70s, based on our research, and with the population of over 80s set to double by 2027, IoT technology has become a key part in the drive to maintain independence.

As mentioned previously, voice activation will form 50% of all search within 3 years. The elderly or those that are movement limited will be the ones to really benefit. Being able to instruct your door to lock, the kettle to boil, or the window to open is going to make staying at home for longer that much more achievable. 


About James Fenner

James Fenner

James Fenner is founder and MD of Silk Road James set up Silk Road four years ago to shake up the property marketing landscape. Previously James’s only property experience was running the marketing for the highly successful Fitzroy Place scheme. In the fifteen years prior to this he’d worked with brands such as: Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Citibank, Schweppes, Southern Comfort, Habitat, Audi, Volkswagen, Rio Tinto and Unilever. He brings knowledge of how other sectors work to property, endeavouring to haul it into the twenty first century.

Articles by James Fenner

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