Apple is joining IBM and Japan Post Group in an initiative aimed at improving the quality of life for millions of Japanese senior citizens. The initiative, built on the partnership Apple and IBM announced last year, will deliver iPads with IBM-developed apps and analytics to connect seniors with services, healthcare, and their families.
Japan Post Group will pilot the iPads and custom apps developed for use by the elders, and will expand the service in stages, shooting for a goal of 4 million to 5 million customers in Japan by 2020.
Seniors currently make up approximately 25 percent of Japan’s population, that number is projected to grow to 40 percent over the next 40 years. Today, nearly 180,000 people in Japan between the ages of 15 and 29 provide care for a family member.
“We are joining with two of the world’s most respected leaders in technology to bring our elderly generation into the connected world, expand our businesses by deepening relationships, and discover new ways to strengthen the fabric of our society and economy,” said Taizo Nishimuro, CEO of Japan Post Group.
The initiative includes:
- iPad and its intuitive built-in apps, capabilities and features including FaceTime, Messages, Mail, Photos and iCloud Photo Sharing, along with access to rich content in the App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store. iOS 8, offering award-winning accessibility features, including settings for low vision and hearing impaired users.
- Custom-built apps specifically for the elderly by IBM Global Business Services for 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.
- Exclusive cloud services of the IBM MobileFirst for iOS platform, for data integration and security, analytics, and management of millions of devices; along with systems integration services and training for Japan Post Group employees.
- Pioneering text analytics and accessibility technologies, many invented in IBM Research – Tokyo, including Japanese natural language analysis and tracking to guide seniors and make the experience more natural.
- The nationwide infrastructure of Japan Post Group and its ability to cover the “last mile” to virtually every citizen of Japan. In addition to 24,000 post offices and a workforce of 400,000, Japan Post Group has existing financial relationships with nearly all of the 115 million adults in Japan.
“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.”