InsightsPOSTED July 23, 2014

Internet of Things: a saviour or sabotage for boomers?

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The APEX July blog challenge, a generational investigation outside of our own cohort, led us to explore baby boomers. We were intrigued with this generation, partly because our parents contribute to this troop and also because of the influx of research that suggests boomers embrace technology as much as younger users.

 

Statistics Canada identifies a “boomer” as an individual born from 1946 to 1965. During this 20 year span:

more than 8.2 million babies were born, an average of close to 412,000 a year.

In comparison, the number of births in 2008, when the population was twice as large as during the baby boom, was only 377,886.1

 

In addition to being one of the most well-known and largest Canadian generations, boomers are also likely to fall into the sandwich generation as they care for both their children and their elderly relatives. Along with this title, implications on a boomer’s personal life have emerged. How does one juggle it all if the demands of family life are ever present? Is there an area boomers can turn to for support?

One area of technology with the potential to significantly impact the boomer generation is the Internet of Things (IoT). Techopedia describes IoT as a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices. For example, a milk carton that can tell a refrigerator it’s almost empty – which triggers a signal to someone’s phone when that person is near a grocery store. For boomers, this may improve the way they can manage their busy lives, allowing them to focus on spending quality time with family and friends.

This future is not so far away. A study by the PEW Research Internet Project suggests that the IoT will be thriving by 2025. Early adoptions of the IoT today include QR codes and Google glasses. To some extent, even apps like Digifit that track health and fitness in real time then send that information to individuals, doctors and trainers, is evidence of the IoT. Given the fact that boomers are by no means slowing down any time soon, the Internet of Things has the potential to have a beneficial impact on their lives.

The IoT does involve some controversy around privacy, the risk of it being just a fad, and philosophical questions of gadgets thinking on behalf of humans. However, APEX PR is paying close attention to what the evolution of the IoT means to the way boomers – and any generation – behave, think, adapt and consume.

 

As Gen-Xers, Hilary Lawton and Merissa King are intrigued by how different generations consume and share technology and the impact on communications.

Read more about APEX’s investigation on boomers and other generations.


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