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Bloomberg has a story about how Best Buy is testing a new in-store concept - Assured Living - which sells and installs geriatric care products designed to help folks of a certain age monitor their health and stay safe and comfortable within their homes.

“Best Buy Co., better known for hawking TVs and computers than for selling geriatric-care products, is wiring it all together,” the story says. “ The electronics retailer, which sells an entry-level package of gear for $389.96 (installation costs an extra $199), also provides a monitoring service for $29 a month.” Currently being tested in Minneapolis and Denver, the concept could be rolled out nationally if it finds a strong reception.

The retailer is not alone. Bloomberg writes that “Best Buy is one of a number of consumer and tech companies jockeying for position in a race for a likely $50 billion market to remotely look after grandma … Google, Microsoft, and Samsung are all going after the smart-home market with networked gear such as security cameras and thermostats that can be managed by voice controllers or smartphones. Inc. has already introduced a smart-home installation program in several West Coast cities. All of these systems could easily be tailored to keep an eye on the elderly.”

The demographics are compelling. “Fueling the interest in monitoring aging relatives remotely are some compelling demographics,” Bloomberg writes. “By 2020 about 45 million Americans will be caring for 117 million seniors, spending on everything from food delivery to safety and health monitors. Research by the AARP and consultants Parks Associates found that caregivers will spend an average of $509 annually for each person they tend to by 2021, a 69 percent increase from 2016. That number is only likely to rise … Three out of four caregivers want to use technology to make their duties easier, but only 7 percent have actually done so, according to a 2016 study sponsored by AARP and others.”
KC's View:
To me, the most interesting part of this story isn’t the catering to an aging population, though that’s fascinating … more and more companies are going to find that they may be able to get traction by offering products and services to this demographic group. No, to be the really interesting part is the fact that it is services in addition to products … understanding that more and more, they have to reach out beyond the store’s walls if they want to be both relevant and resonant to their shoppers.