Google Apocalypse/Google Topia

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Google Apocalypse/Google Topia

Google apocalypse • The internet now has over 1.94 billion websites (and counting). • 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. • The rate at which we generate INFORMATION is something never before seen in human history. • And we consume more information than ever before, too. • The average American consumes 34 gigabytes worth of content a day, including a whopping 100,000 words of information and Millennial content consumption can be up to 18 HOURS per day. WE ARE LITERALLY DROWNING IN INFORMATION… BOMBARDED BY IT EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY, EVEN AS WE SLEEP... You could say we’re “hooked”, and it’s not making us happier, healthier, richer, or more fulfilled. It's just the opposite. Cases of depression have ballooned almost 20% in a decade, making depression the leading cause of disability worldwide. The “GoogleTopia” that we were promised, where all of this information would make the world a better place and improve people’s lives… never actually materialized.

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My Thoughts Highlights from CTA's U.S. Consumer and Forecasts Report

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My Thoughts Highlights from CTA's U.S. Consumer and Forecasts Report

Highlights from CTA's U.S. Consumer Sales and Forecasts Report

Entertainment finds itself in the midst of digital disruption, which will be amplified once 5G internet begins to hit the mainstream. The trends included here illustrate shifts that are not only changing the consumption of entertainment, but also creating new distribution channels and devices to engage with content.

Older systems are being replaced by younger ones more suited to the new environment, but some previous generation systems are still surviving, even if on the decline. Others, like video games, have reinvented themselves and are generating more revenue than ever before.

With many elements of the industry changing, one essential thing remains the same: people haven’t stopped wanting to be entertained. This report highlights the main ways this will continue.


1. Subscription streaming video services continue to grow.

Video continues to comprise over two-thirds of the total revenue for subscription streaming services (music accounts for just under a third) and are predicted to keep increasing at a strong pace for 2020, up 24% to $21.9 billion.

The growth of subscription video is multifaceted, and not only credited to the rise of the original big three services, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. With Netflix’s growth plateauing, the predicted market increase will come from elsewhere.

A number of high-profile subscription streaming services will be debuting in the remainder of 2019 and 2020, namely Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and NBCU’s unnamed service. These will help account for the steady rise in consumer expenditure within subscription video, as the number of major products available to consumers will more than double soon.

It is also important to note that there are several Streaming Video on Demand (SVOD) sports platforms out there for consumers to purchase. DAZN, ESPN+ and B/R Live all launched in 2018, joining NBC Sports Gold, among others. As networks increasingly migrate content onto their SVOD services, spending will increase as fans maintain access to their favorite sports and leagues.


2. Streaming media players unit sales are catching up to traditional set-top boxes.

Satellite set-top boxes are experiencing a precipitous decline in units sold, and are predicted to fall in 2020 by 30% from levels seen in 2015. By comparison, cable boxes are only seeing moderate declines, down 4% from 2015. Together, traditional set-top boxes (STBs) are forecast to sell 23.7 million units in 2020. Streaming media players (SMPs) will see 20.7 million units sold.

If sales patterns continue, it will be only a matter of time until SMPs sell more than STBs. In 2015, for every set-top box sold, there were 0.53 streaming media players. In 2020, that’s predicted to reach 0.87. SMPs are catching up, and this year crossed the threshold into majority status, in 51% of American households.

This doesn’t necessarily indicate a service swap. With Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) now offering some subscribers the option to stream channels via SMPs instead of STBs, some of the growth will be due to MVPD subscribers switching out their cable boxes for a Roku.

Others may find the interface of streaming media players easier to use for accessing free and subscription streaming services, despite STB manufacturer attempts to create single access devices.


3. Streaming device sales have replaced disc players, but disc legacy remains.

CTA estimates there will be 3.3 streaming media players sold for every DVD/Blu-ray player sold in 2020. This number was 1.1 in 2016, and it represents the stunning shift in the consumption of streamed, mostly rented (either directly or via a subscription) content, versus the traditional ownership of a physical copy.

The number of streaming media players sold is estimated to continue to grow, by 4% in 2020 to 20.7 million. In contrast, 6.2 million disc players will be sold, suggesting there is still a market for physical copies of entertainment, even if it’s nowhere near what it was at its zenith.

New sales of disc players may not represent an appetite to buy new discs, but the desire to play existing content without paying for it again. With the demise of UltraViolet, and because Vudu’s Disc to Digital conversion program is no longer available on non-Vudu platforms, the 64% of homes with a disc player remain without a cost-efficient way to convert fully to streaming.


4. Smart TVs continue to grow.

CTA predicts Smart TVs will make up 74% of all new TV sets sold in 2020, up 4% from the estimated total for 2019. The increase in ownership of these devices has grown from 24% of households in 2014 to 60% in 2019 and are expected to rise again in 2020.

There are more smart TVs sold per year than streaming media players, despite the latter being a much cheaper purchase. This suggests that consumers prefer integrated solutions and shows the wisdom in Roku and Amazon Fire making deals to embed in smart TVs from some manufacturers.

The preponderance of streaming-capable devices in the home has three main effects on the current TV business:

  1. The growth in Connected TV (CTV) advertising

    will continue as more and more people have the means to watch via CTVs or connected devices.

  2. Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) services like Pluto TV, Xumo or Tubi may see increases in their user bases, as more people are able to access them (and, being free, they have zero barriers to entry for sampling).

  3. With some smart TVs now including built-in digital antennas, Over the Air (OTA) households will continue to grow. The new “free bundle” of OTA + FAST will be available in more homes, putting increasing pressure on existing pay TV subscribers to cut the cord.


5. 4K is beginning to get big.

CTA predicts 4K Ultra High-Definition TVs (4K UHD) will make up almost 50% of new TVs sold in 2020, the highest proportion of sales in their history. This represents an increase of 10% on the estimated total for 2019, and it may be due to the average unit price falling for the second straight year.

In January 2019, more than one in three homes in the U.S. had a 4K TV, which is monumental growth considering only 1% had them in 2014. With this comes an increased demand for content available in 4K.

Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu; Transactional Video On Demand (TVOD) merchants like Apple; and video game console manufacturers Sony and Microsoft all offer 4K content. The holdout is traditional pay TV. If the pay TV providers are serious about keeping their remaining customers, matching the video output from their online rivals will be essential.


6. Gaming is bigger than you think.

Revenues from video game software continue to rise, with 2020 predicted to bring in double that seen in 2015. For context, the software gaming industry is estimated in 2019 to be 2.2 times as large as subscription streaming video.

In-game purchases have driven the increase in software spend since 2017 and now account for around a third of all gaming revenue. The amount spent is beginning to tail off, with only a 14% growth predicted for 2020, compared with the 92% seen in 2018.

The amount spent in total on actual games (downloaded and physical media) is fairly steady, with an expected 2% increase. Digital games continue to grow though, accounting for 5.7 times the spend versus physical discs. The growth in digital revenues is a boon for console manufacturers and developers, who have seen huge revenue streams emerge.

These earnings may ultimately be threatened by the arrival of new gaming subscription services. We are past the nascent stage, but with Google and Apple entering the subscription arena soon and the adoption of 5G internet, revenues generated from cloud-based gaming could soon blow up in a similar fashion to ingame purchases.

This could see more new entrants to the cloud gaming world, along with video game manufacturers and developers creating or significantly increasing their own subscriber products.


7. 5G is about to land.

Long promised, 5G internet is arriving. This will have an effect on three key areas: in-home internet, smartphones and entertainment.

In-home internet: Revenues from sales of home networking options, including Wi-Fi routers and wholehome solutions, broadband gateways and 5G home gateways, will total $5.3 billion in 2020.

Of this, 24% will be attributable to 5G devices. As well as representing homes free from the local cable/satellite monopoly, the majority of these homes will likely be heavy Internet of Things users, with advanced smart homes.

Smartphones: 5G smartphones are predicted to boost the total number of smartphone sales in 2020. Levels will remain below the 2018 high, as consumers tend to keep their handsets for longer.

Of smartphones sold in 2020, 12% will be 5G handsets. Those early adopters will not be spending the extra money on a handset just for show. They will use the lightning-fast speed to drive demand for the emerging cloud-based technologies, most notably playing video games, which used to be limited to consoles or highend PCs via the cloud.

Entertainment: 5G networks will have an impact upon all aspects of entertainment. As 4K UHD content becomes more common, 5G download speeds means mobile viewers will not have to settle for a downgrade in quality as they watch. 5G will also mean that cloudbased subscription gaming services don’t have to be tethered to the home.

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR)-based technology will be boosted by the rise of 5G, as download lag times vanish. For handset users, better battery life will be a necessity, and could become a liability for manufacturers known for quick performance declines in new batteries.


8. VR and AR may finally realize their potential.

The growth in VR/AR eyewear stalled in recent years, following the high of 2016. Growth rates either declined or were sluggish in the years since, but 2020 is predicted to see double-digit growth for the first time in four years.

This is no doubt in part to the emergence of 5G, which makes for a better VR experience due to the reduction in loading times. VR growth has also been aided by the introduction of all-in-one headsets, which don’t require connections to video game consoles or high-end PCs.

But VR headsets may remain a niche product, even with 5G. Currently in 15% of homes, they remain expensive (with an average retail price of $349) and cumbersome, being a piece of equipment strapped over the head.

The real boost may be for AR. Increased internet speeds means post-2020 may see a real boost in AR adoption. Areas such as retail, which may use AR to project new clothes onto the user, and beauty could be first adopters of the tech from a consumer standpoint, as could TV shows and advertisers, with AR offering new ways for consumers to interact with a show or brand.

 

Conclusion

The year 2020 looks set to be another year of disruption for established media and entertainment companies. The emergence of new distribution channels and entertainment formats will create opportunities for innovative new entrants to disturb once-locked markets.

In particular, the potential that 5G will bring as its adoption grows will present the right set of circumstances for forward-thinking companies to become one of the first to market in areas which are set to boom in the coming years (AR, subscription gaming, 4K mobile video distribution).

Opportunities will be available for anyone willing to adapt to the new normal, unlike traditional media’s track record in the 2010s. Understanding the consumer trends within entertainment which point to money-making potential will become even more essential.


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Does Your Business Phone Weigh 1000 Pounds

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Does Your Business Phone Weigh 1000 Pounds

Does Your Business Phone Weigh 1000 Pounds?

Fear of talking on the phone can cause your profit prospects to dissolve right before your eyes. It prevents you from building the types of relationships that can result in long-term benefits to your bottom line.

So what is a person to do to move beyond fear of talking on the phone to a place of enjoying the possibilities that every single call can offer you?

Here are a few strategies to consider:

Strategy #1 – Escape from the Deep Freeze of Cold Calling

In other words, stop cold calling. Among its many downsides are the following:

  1. Cold calls generally irritate everyone who gets them, not exactly the optimal mood to create with potential clients or customers.

  2. Cold calling places you in the position of a business beggar, and totally negates your status as an authority or expert in your field.

  3. The results absolutely do not justify the time and effort required.

  4. It is the most discouraging and non-productive method possible of using the phone for business.

Strategy #2 – You Have 2 Ears and 1 Mouth – Use Them Proportionally to Build a Relationship First

No one enjoys having someone talk at them. Ask questions instead. People will respond much more positively if you show a genuine interest both in their business and in what kind of issues they are facing.

And remember this one powerful fact: The person who asks the questions is the person who is in control of the direction of the call.

Strategy #3 – You Are Looking for a Fit, Not a Sale

Not everyone is your optimal client or customer. Asking questions will help you and the person with whom you are talking to see if you have the answer to their issues.

Sample questions can include:

  1. What are your goals for your business this coming year?

  2. What obstacles do you need to overcome to reach those goals?

  3. What are these obstacles costing you?

  4. How committed are you to overcoming them?

The answers to the above questions will let you know if your services are a good fit or not. If they are, the answers also give you the right language to use in presenting your offer.

Strategy #4 – Create a Warm Connection BEFORE Making a Call

Creating a warm connection before making a call not only vastly improves the results of your calls, it also goes a long way in helping you to overcome your fear of talking on the phone.

Warm connections can be created in a variety of ways:

  1. Speak to groups

  2. Offer free seminars

  3. Attend networking events

  4. Upload videos to YouTube

  5. Provide valuable information via podcasts, blog posts, email and snail mail

  6. Offer a free consultation

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Like Follow and Share Sync Media Network on Youtube and Facebook

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Like Follow and Share Sync Media Network on Youtube and Facebook

Follow us Sync Media Network on Youtube and Facebook

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How Veterans Can Leverage Their Communities and Benefits for Success

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How Veterans Can Leverage Their Communities and Benefits for Success

If you’re a veteran, you might be wondering what your options are for moving forward after military life. Maybe you want to start your own business. Perhaps you want to return to school. Maybe you aren’t quite sure what your next step will be. Fortunately, no matter which branch of the military you served in, there are several ways you can leverage your benefits for success. Here’s what you need to know.

Resources for Starting a Business

If you’re interested in starting your own business, but you aren’t quite sure how you can afford it, you might be surprised to learn that the VA does offer business loans to eligible applicants. Consider applying for a loan in order to jump start your new business. This can give you the leverage you need to get started doing what you really want to be doing.

Resources for Furthering Your Education

The VA offers educational benefits through the GI bill, which will enable you to pursue a college degree at the school of your choice. You may use your GI bill benefits for either an undergraduate or graduate degree. Note that this benefit covers the cost of tuition. You will also receive a stipend for housing and for books. The rates for these benefits vary based on your location, the type of school you’re attending (online versus on-campus), and the number of credit hours you’re enrolled in.

Resources for Training

Did you know that much of your military training translates to the civilian world? If you’re an expert at something and received solid training in the military, you may be able to utilize this training to pursue a career in a new field. Don’t make the mistake of thinking things you learned don’t apply in non-military positions. They do! Chances are you’re more qualified for local positions than you think.

While the choice to leave the military can be a tricky one, rest assured that you have many available options for moving forward and succeeding in the world around you. Whether you want to start your own business or simply develop the skills you need to become a business professional, it’s possible to find the help and the assistance you need to get started. Begin by considering your personal goals and then explore what particular options and benefits the VA has to offer you. You might be surprised at just how much you’ll be able to do.

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4 Foundations of a Scalable Business Model

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4 Foundations of a Scalable Business Model

If you have decided that you want to build a scalable business, you’ll need to quickly learn how to lay down the proper foundations to support it. Not all profitable businesses are able to climb up the business ladder quickly. To build up a business, you need a business model that can quickly multiply revenue at a minimal incremental cost. For example, a piece of software takes a lot of labor to develop, but once developed, it can be copied repeatedly with the same minimum cost. However, a family restaurant is vastly different. Labor and fresh ingredients are costly, and while a family business can grow well and be profitable, it would be a poor business model. Here are some ideas on how to lay the proper foundation for a rising enterprise.

Set Your Business Plan

One of the most crucial mistakes when building a scalable business model is not starting with a business plan. Eventually, businesses will need to begin searching for investors and having meetings with bankers. Your business plan should be ready to go. However, a business plan is more than just a description of your product. Your business plan should contain information about the problem you’re solving for your target market, your solution, how your solution will benefit your target market, and the financials and forecasts to back it up.

Automate Wherever Possible

One of the key requirements of a scalable business model is that there is a set system for accomplishing tasks, and everybody follows the same system. Automating as much of your mundane tasks, such as data entry, is one of the first things you should set up so that you can save on hiring additional employees. You can also automate email responses and appointment reminders. At instances where automating is not possible, consider hiring a virtual assistant instead of a full-time employee to manage routine tasks. This will save you time and resources so that you and your key team members can focus your attention on the clients, product development, and potential investors.

Intelligent Sales Software

Many software solutions such as CRM and POS can help generate more sales, improve customer experience, and scale your business. When searching for software solutions, try to search for those that have integration functions so that you can integrate as many applications as you need into an application suite. Not only are application bundles usually less expensive, but software from the same family are also usually more powerful when synced together. In addition, adequate training and education on existing software can help about your retail stores

The Corporate Shield

Setting up your business as the right business entity can save you a lot of hassle and headache. While there are many business entities types available to register as LLC and LLP are the main business types that can help protect your business assets in the event of legal proceedings.

Building a scalable business model is a hefty enterprise that requires a lot of preparation beforehand. If you are thinking of building a business or is interested in making your current business profitable, make sure you follow these tips to build with a solid starting foundation.

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6 Ways to Tame Your Farts

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6 Ways to Tame Your Farts

6 Ways to Tame Your Farts

Benjamin Franklin stated that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. However, we think he failed to mention a third: flatulence, farts, gas… you get the idea.

Whatever you call it, we all do it. In fact, the average person farts between 5 and 15 times daily — with the more excessive ones happening after meals.

Yet, for such a normal and frequent act of bodily release, we can still get extremely shy about it.

We’ve all sat at work and desperately tried to hold a fart in or been out with friends and hoped nobody will comment on the sudden dubious smell. But we’re drawing the line at holding in gas to the point of twisting pain.

So, the next time you want to avoid a gas hold up, here are some easy steps you can take. Time to encourage the winds of change, baby.

1. Skip fiber = calm farts

You’ve embraced high-fiber greens — foods that’ve been labeled so-good-you-should-eat-them-everyday. But eating them in excess can often be the biggest culprits for pent-up gas.

Our digestive system has to work a little harder to break down beans, lentils, rye, apples, broccoli… foods high in the FODMAP (short-chain carbs that bypass digestion).

“Fiber is not easily digestible, and we rely on the bacteria in our gut to break it down via fermentation in our large bowel,” explains Dr Anthony Hobson, clinical director at The Functional Gut Clinic. “A bi-product of fermentation is gas; hence why high-fiber foods can cause flatulence.”

Another little-known fact? High-fiber ingredients could be the case behind your constipation, too. Thus, if you’ve got a date or an important meeting, hold off on the loaded bean burrito.

Psst — if you’ve experienced the classic “spicy fart,” we don’t have to tell you what caused it. Just as eating beetroot or rhubarb can turn your urine pink, the naturally hot components of spicy foods can irritate your bowels and anus.

Heads up: Don’t mix these foods!

The combo of fiber with processed sugar, trans fat, refined oils and carbs, alcohol, and processed meats can be potent. Especially for folks with chronic gut conditions, like IBS or other food intolerances. The levels of uncomfortable gas and bloating after eating these foods is going to be high.

If that turns out to be the case for you, check with your doctor to make sure it’s not just a matter of too much fiber.

2. Drink, oh drink, drink

Before you get excited, we’re not talking about alcohol (sorry) but good ole H2O.

Drinking enough water daily has numerous benefits, from helping our kidneys function properly to improving our skin; but, in the case of gas, water is what will show it the door.

As dietician Sejal Jenkins explains: “Dehydration can impact your bowel movement and how food moves in your gut. Sufficient fluid intake will help regulate your bowels, which aids in preventing constipation and excess gas production.”

Sure, when your stomach has expanded to its max, the last thing you feel like doing is filling it more. But do your farts a favor and drink — right now, and every time you’re thirsty — because the long game here is to help your liver.

Hot tip: Adding ginger (1200 mg) to your water may help with getting the gas out faster.

3. Walk before the big date

Yeah, walking boosts heart health, increases immunity and burns calories — but the real reason you’re going for a stroll is to clear the air. Literally.

Studies show that walking helps with keeping the gas at bay, and exercising regularly stifles bloat.

Just think of pebbles trying to make their way through a twisted hosepipe. Move to help untangle that mess and get your gut decomposing before it builds up into a stench house.

Also, as in many cases, a little movement sends a message to your noggin. “Your gut and brain are constantly communicating with each other,” states Jacob. “Exercise like walking helps calm your brain — subsequently helping calm the gut and improving bloating and flatulence.”

4. Knock back some probiotics

A gut on duty is a gut that gets gas out of the way (or at least produces a less offensive smell). And sometimes the gut wants a little assistance when it works.

Fortunately, it’ll accept in the form of probiotics. If you haven’t heard by now, probiotics are the good guys that boost your digestive system.

“The microorganisms in your gut play a very important role in digestion. When there’s an imbalance in your gut bacteria, pathogenic (bad) bacteria can cause issues like bloating and wind,” explains Jacob. “[Probiotics] help balance the good bacteria.”

Including fermented foods into your diet — such as kimchi and kefir — is another great way to boost good bacteria.

While many natural probiotics include sugar, you might want to avoid the added kind because they can slow the army down a little.

5. Take it slooooooow

Unless, like Ross Gellar, you’re trying to beat a teenage Monica to the Thanksgiving turkey, eating and drinking is a marathon — not a sprint.

If you inhale that plate of tacos, you’ll take in more air, which — you guessed it — “can get trapped and increase flatulence,” Dr Hobson says.

Plus, “chewing properly helps us to be mindful of our portion sizes and avoid a full stomach,” adds Jacobs. A stuffed tum puts extra strain on your digestive system, leading to that troublesome foe, gas.

So unless you want to become a resident of Gasville by the time you leave the table, pace yourself.

6. Single out your stress — and relax

Our daily lives can be full of overlapping stressful factors. Stress and anxiety can come in like the worry warts we didn’t invite and, apart from taking a toll on our mental health, these anxious thoughts can impact the gut, too — encouraging a fart party.

“When you experience stress, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, causing non-essential activities, like digestion, to shut down,” explains Jacobs.

Luckily, life created time-outs, and you’ve earned the right to take one if you need to.

“Meditation, yoga, and keeping your circadian rhythm in check by sleeping and waking at a consistent time, all act as stress reducers,” she adds.

Deep breathing — slowly, into your diaphragm — can quickly reduce feelings of anxiety too. Doing so signals to the brain and body to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and generally take things down a notch.

It’s pretty clear that farting is natural and A-OK.

Flatulence is, most of the time, an indication that your body is doing its job at clearing out crap (pun intended) it doesn’t need. That’s definitely something to be happy about.

But we get that you might not be announcing the presence of a fart in a crowded room anytime soon — so if you feel a bit of bubbling going on, excuse yourself and let loose where only God can hear you.

Chantelle Pattemore is a writer and editor based in London, UK. She focuses on lifestyle, travel, food, health and fitness.

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7 New Tech Devices for Elder Care That Helps seniors live Happier, Healthy Lives

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7 New Tech Devices for Elder Care That Helps seniors live Happier, Healthy Lives

7 new tech devices for elder care that help seniors live happier, healthier lives

KEY POINTS

  • New devices that use VR, robotics and other technologies have hit the market that help the elderly live longer, healthier lives.These innovations include VR headsets for seniors with Alzheimer’s and cloud-enabled fall detection watches.

  • The active-aging industry in the U.S. — which includes safety and smart-living technologies, health and remote care, and wellness and fitness technologies — is expected to triple in the next three years, to nearly $30 billion.

Those ages 50 and older in the U.S. generate $7.6 trillion in economic activity, according to AARP, representing a huge financial force. That trend will grow as the number of older adults more than doubles by 2050, representing over 20% of the population.

As these boomers age, they want to do so actively, gracefully and independently. Technology is being viewed as the big disruptor that will allow them to achieve those goals. And that’s presenting a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs developing these types of products.

“We’re already seeing some really interesting ways technology is being used to help people as they age,” said Ben Jonash, an author of The Future of Aging by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

The broader demographic trends will fuel large growth of these types of companies in the coming years, says Jake Nice, a principal in Nationwide Ventures. “We’re in the early innings of what’s going to be a very large market,” he said.

Thousands of companies are chasing seniors in this market, says John Hopper, chief investment officer at Ziegler Link-Age Funds, which has invested $100 million in 25 companies, including Ally Align, a Medicare Advantage plan provider; Include Health, a designer and manufacturer of exercise and rehab equipment specifically for disabled and aging; and Caremerge, which coordinates care among senior-care providers and families. Higher percentages of older people want to be active longer and age at home. “We view technology as a big part of the puzzle of how we provide those services that the senior demographic is demanding,” he says.

Mary Furlong, a leading consultant in the longevity marketplace, agrees. “There’s a spirit about building not just a business but something for humanity,” she said. At the June Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit that she spearheaded, entrepreneurs unveiled a variety of technology products targeted at allowing seniors to live healthier, active lives.

Here’s a glimpse at some start-ups generating buzz in the industry.

Embodied Labs

When Carrie Shaw was 19, her mother, then 51, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She realized that if she could better understand her mother’s disease and perspective, it could help improve the care she provided her.

So in August 2016 she launched Embodied Labs. Two years later Shaw rolled out an immersive program that uses virtual reality headsets. When worn, these headsets offer simulations in which caregivers to take on the persona of an aging person facing a variety of situations, including macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Shaw says that having real insight into a loved one’s condition will enable caregivers to develop empathy for older adults and in turn improve the way they deliver care. And with a projected shortfall of over 1 million direct-care workers by 2020, Shaw claims the Embodied Labs platform will help train and retain employees and improve difficult conversations with their patients.

Currently sold only to businesses, Embodied Labs has 100 subscribing organizations across the senior care, home health and home-care services for older adults, including The Green House Project, Hospice of Southern Maine, Comfort Keepers, the University of California Irvine School of Medicine and California State University Channel Islands School of Nursing.

Subscribers pay a one-time hardware setup fee starting at $2,500 and an annual subscription fee to the training platform based on the number of physical locations and number of employees or users.

The bottom line: The company has eight full-time employees and has raised $1.5 million of investment capital. It’s also received $400,000 in nondilutive funding from groups including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AARP and the Department of Education. It’s backed by The Ziegler Link-Age Fund as well.

Intuition Robotics

This company was founded in 2016 to help older adults avoid loneliness and social isolation, a common problem among the aging that can contribute to poor health. Intuition Robotics’ debut product is a robot called ElliQ, which Dor Skuler, co-founder and CEO, calls “a sidekick for happier aging.”

The proactive cognitive artificial intelligence product initiates conversation to help the senior stay in touch with family or loved ones, engage in healthy behaviors — including nudges to take medication — and stay connected with the outside world.The so-called active aging industry in the U.S. — which includes safety and smart-living technologies, health and remote care, and wellness and fitness technologies — is expected to triple in the next three years, to nearly $30 billion, according to a report by the Consumer Technology Association. While the report finds that health and remote care lead the way, wellness and fitness technologies for seniors is expected to reach $900 million by 2022.

The ElliQ has 117 different ways just to say “good morning,” Skuler says. It may, for example, check the weather, determine it’s pleasant, then ask whether the senior wants to go for a walk. Loved ones can interact with ElliQ as well, sending photos through the app that the senior can see and respond to via a video screen.

The company plans to begin shipping the product in September. It has partnered with companies such as Comfort Keepers, the largest home care provider in the U.S., though individuals will be able to purchase the product. The pre-order cost is $1,500, with the monthly fee waived for the first 12 months; after that the monthly fee is $30.

The bottom line: Intuition Robotics has 74 full-time employees and has raised $22 million in funding, as well as a $500,000 grant from The Center for Aging and Brain Health Innovation for a clinical trial with the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living and Baycrest Health Services in Toronto.

Ageless Innovation

While working for Hasbro, Ted Fischer developed a series of robotic pets that were created with the intention of fostering meaningful connections through play. It turned out that their largest customer base came from the older adult market because of the robotic pets’ unique ability to engage, delight, provide companionship, calm, soothe and, most importantly, promote happiness — especially for those living independently or in care communities.

In 2015, realizing now that play has no age limit, the toy company officially launched its brand of companion pets under the name Joy For All.

The robotic cats and pups have sensors that allow them to interact with a human companion as they would with a live pet. The cat responds to touch, rolls over and utters 32 different types of purring sounds. The pup’s heartbeat slows down if a hand is placed on its back.

In April 2018 the Joy for All management team left Hasbro to found Ageless Innovation. A month later they acquired the Joy for All brand, assets and business. Ageless Innovation now runs the brand independently and is completely focused on the older adult market, continuing to create new robotic companions.

“Our purpose is to reimagine how we age positively by unleashing the power of play,” Fischer said. He said that studies have shown the pets to be an effective, nontraditional intervention in addressing loneliness among older adults.

The product is sold both to businesses, including senior living communities, as well as individuals; the cat costs $99, while the pup is $119. Ageless Innovation launched companies in the UK and Australia earlier this year. Since 2016, when Joy For All was under the Hasbro umbrella, 150,000 pets have been sold.

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Engaging Diverse Populations in Design

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Engaging Diverse Populations in Design

Engaging Diverse Populations in Design

With nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population reporting a disability, and that number expected to grow as the population becomes older, there is a significant market aimed at people looking for products to help them maintain their independence. Whether it’s software or hardware, engaging people with disabilities and people across the age spectrum allows for greater opportunities to draw in loyal customers for your products.

Engaging diverse populations provides a range of benefits to the overall design of products. People with disabilities and older adults are underrepresented and bring new ideas and viewpoints to the types of products that can serve these groups.

Accessible technology not only serves seniors and people with disabilities, but also the general public. We can experience a temporary disability — whether it stems from a simple broken bone or an illness — at any time in our lives. Statistically, as we all age, we are likely to experience some type of physical and mental deterioration in vision, hearing, mobility, or cognition. It’s important to realize these issues affect everyone, not just the highlighted groups. 

The U.S. market for solutions provided by smart, connected devices is expected to grow from $9 billion in 2018 to nearly $30 billion in 2022. The largest segment of this market will be safety and smart living technologies, which will triple in size during that time. AARP research finds the spending of 50-plus year old Americans amounts to $5.6 trillion and supports nearly 90 million jobs. The American Institutes for Research finds that after-tax disposable income for working age people with disabilities is about $490 billion. 

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Engaging Diverse Populations in Design

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Engaging Diverse Populations in Design

Engaging Diverse Populations in Design

With nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population reporting a disability, and that number expected to grow as the population becomes older, there is a significant market aimed at people looking for products to help them maintain their independence. Whether it’s software or hardware, engaging people with disabilities and people across the age spectrum allows for greater opportunities to draw in loyal customers for your products.

Engaging diverse populations provides a range of benefits to the overall design of products. People with disabilities and older adults are underrepresented and bring new ideas and viewpoints to the types of products that can serve these groups.

Accessible technology not only serves seniors and people with disabilities, but also the general public. We can experience a temporary disability — whether it stems from a simple broken bone or an illness — at any time in our lives. Statistically, as we all age, we are likely to experience some type of physical and mental deterioration in vision, hearing, mobility, or cognition. It’s important to realize these issues affect everyone, not just the highlighted groups. 

The U.S. market for solutions provided by smart, connected devices is expected to grow from $9 billion in 2018 to nearly $30 billion in 2022. The largest segment of this market will be safety and smart living technologies, which will triple in size during that time. AARP research finds the spending of 50-plus year old Americans amounts to $5.6 trillion and supports nearly 90 million jobs. The American Institutes for Research finds that after-tax disposable income for working age people with disabilities is about $490 billion. 

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Self Promotion is Scarry

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Self Promotion is Scarry

Is the thought of self-promotion and being "out there" making you uncomfortable?

I get it.

That's why I LOVE what P.T Barnum said…

“Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!”

Quiet achievers – this one’s for you!

And entrepreneurs, this especially matters for you.

In an ever competitive, socially vibrant and noisy online world, it’s more acceptable (and important!) than ever to be seen and heard.

Before you recoil, let me share a little secret. Being reserved, being shy, acting cool – or whatever we default to as our reason for not self-promoting – does not equal humility. More often than not, it’s the total opposite...

...It’s our ego.

Yep. Our ego.

We avoid self-promotion because we don’t want to welcome criticism - so we do nothing and mask it with an over modest, “Oh, I’m not a self-promoter”.

Let me share with you why there is nothing brave or beneficial about that.

I was in corporate sales for a 35 years and learned over the years that we are ALL in fact selling something, all the time. Every single one of us. Promotion is not reserved for smooth-talking realtors or people rockin' retail careers. Dentists, nutritionists, hairdressers, make-up artists, coaches, even dog-walkers are all unofficial sales people too.

We all persuade and influence other people every day. And almost all web authorship is a sales tool too – your Instagram bio, blog LinkedIn profile and yep, the profile photo on your dating app.

Here’s why a little self-promotion is important:

1. It’s the new normal

Do you flinch when you see someone sharing a recent career promotion online or an exciting development in their business? I doubt it. We expect to see these posts and when we like the person (and we almost always do if we are following them), we cheer them on. Other people will do the same for you!

2. You can’t assume anyone is aware of your achievements

A former manager of mine said to me over a martini once, “JT – unless you tell me about your wins and how happy your clients are, I am just not going to know. Help me help you get recognized!”

Everyone has his or her own agenda and to-do list. You have to be proactive and tout your expertise to ensure other people are in the know about it. 

3. It’s a necessary part of creative work

Are you a gifted singer, photographer, graphic designer, personal stylist? How do you expect people find out about you and your talent, exactly? Promoting it gives it the light it needs, which will naturally help it flourish and thrive.

4. It motivates you to do better

Self-promotion means that you’ll only want to put your best work out into the world, as you are accountable for it. It opens up opportunities too.

When an executive is looking for a coach or newlyweds are seeking out an interior designer, who will be top of mind? The people they hear about who are doing great things! Don’t let your self-consciousness prevent you from progressing.

5. Most importantly: it helps other people, too!

If you are confident enough to be seen you unofficially make it less scary for other people to do the same thing.

When your personal brand grows, your power allows you to help other people along too.

Acknowledging and taking ownership of your brand (which exists whether you like it or not) is the very first step in claiming your power. There is nothing inspirational about your comfort zone. And there is nothing arrogant about sharing your light.

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Angel Signs - Feathers and Colors

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Angel Signs - Feathers and Colors

Angel Signs - Feathers and Colors

The angels often send us feathers as signs, or perhaps it is because feathers come from wings which we associate with angels. I do often get asked about the meaning colour with the feathers so I thought this was the perfect forum.

Our angels send us signs to let us know they are listening and working on our prayers and requests. Symbols like feathers are most important when they are meaningful to the person who receives them.  The first question I ask a client when we talk about signs, is “What does the sign mean to you?” and “What were you doing or thinking about when you noticed the sign or feather?”. When analyzing anything, ask yourself first, “What does this mean to me?”

Symbology is only as important as it is to the person having it. Meaning, what it means to you is always the most important, not what another teacher tells you it should mean. I did a bit of research when I was first asked this question and found that most meanings went along with the traditional chakra colours along with some of the colour therapy teachings. It works, so why not use it. It is truly about your intentions and what you assign to them. However, here is some generalized meanings for you to begin to work with while you are learning to trust yourself and the signs:

Feather Colours and their Meanings:

White Feathers white is the most common and often considered the symbol for purity, which is very much aligned with the meaning of angels. White feathers can also be a sign from the angels that your loved ones in Heaven are well, and have successfully crossed over into the spirit realms. White is also a symbol of faith and protection, and when you find white feathers in peculiar locations the message is especially significant. This is often just to reassure you that your angels are around you, working with you, and answering your prayers.

In addition to white feathers, here is a quick look at some of the additional meaning the coloured feathers may have.

Pink Feathers Pink is considered by most to be the colour of love.  Pink feathers are a reminder of the unconditional love that your angels have for you, and a reminder that all things are possible when you are tuned into the energy of love.

Red Feathers signify life force energy, physical vitality, stability, strength, passion, and courage. Trust that your base needs are being met.

Orange Feathers carry messages of creativity, listening to your inner voice, and staying positive to attract success. How do you feel?

Yellow Feathers are often a reminder to be cheerful and light-hearted, to be present, alert, and to stay focused on what you desire to magnetize these blessings into your life. Don’t get caught up in the drama of the world, just be present in the world and pay attention to details.

Green Feathers signify abundance and money, a fertile opportunity, as well as vibrant well-being, health, and love. Are you taking care of yourself?

Blue Feathers brings a calming and peaceful energy. Are you  connected to communication, awareness, and are often a reminder to listen.

Gray feathers are a call to return to peace. Gray is also neutral, and can be a sign that the answer to your question is not yes/no or black/white. Time to go within and find your centre and tap into the void to help you to refocus.

Brown Feathers signify grounding, home life, and stability. There is an energy of respect, groundedness, and balance between the physical and spiritual. The importance of connected with the earth and the now.

Black Feathers are a reminder of the protection of your angels, and a signal that spiritual wisdom, and magic are accessible by you so go within. You need a break from the world. A personal retreat.

Feathers with purple on them carry messages of deep spirituality, transmutation, as well as the opening of psychic and spiritual sight. You are on the right spiritual path and continue on with your studies.

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