Silver Economy and e-Health

© Shutterstock
© Shutterstock

Today in the world, there are 900 millions aging people and the part of this population is in constant growth. We are now at the dawn of a real demographic shift and it is our duty to anticipate the mutations to come.

What is Silver Economy?

Silver Economy is the economy at the service of elderly. The term « Silver » is related to the silver-grey hair of aging people. This is a transverse economy that is based on many different markets, not to say all the markets (traveling, health, security, sport, food, insurance,…).

In France, the government launched on April 24th 2013 the Silver Economy sector with the aim of promoting innovations that will support us while aging and push back the loss of autonomy. The government expects 300,000 job creations by 2020. This Silver Economy is really considered as a promise of growth and employment in the coming years.

Silver Economy in figures

By 2050, those aged over 65 will outnumber children under 5 and will represent a third of the global population, compared to 20% in 2014.

In France, people over 65 are more than 15 millions. By 2030, they will be over 20 millions, that is to say a third of the population.

The growth of French GDP from the Silver Economy is 0.25% per year.

Elderly is a new and powerful consumer class that represents 50% of the consumption expenditure.

Elderly’s main item of expenditure is health.

Investments in e-Health are exploding and should triple by 2017, representing more than 6 billions dollars.

Innovation and e-Health

Life expectancy is constantly increasing but we observe that healthy life expectancy remains relatively stable. That means that we live longer but not necessarily in better shape. This is a real opportunity for Silver Economy to give an answer to this need by promoting the “aging well”.

Nowadays, e-Health can improve the quality of life of seniors, decrease the costs by treating people at home and decrease the hospitalization expenditure.

Seniors are now more and more connected. In France, 70% of the aging population feels comfortable with new technologies and 84% go on the Internet almost everyday. Elderly is now looking for digital health services such as booking medical appointments online and receiving electronic reminders.

However, only 7% of healthcare professionals are offering that kind of services. An innovating healthcare market doesn’t seem to have emerged yet. But, lots of companies are now working on developing and promoting new products and services, such as personal services (homecare and social support) and digital services (connected objects or MtoM products, smart home and electronic pillbox).

On this field, young and innovative start-ups (MyFox, Jawbone,…) are fighting against big industrial giants like Apple, Samsung and Google.

Where Is Grandmother?

MyFox is a French company located in Toulouse, south of France, that is specialized in the manufacturing of connected alarms. With the collaboration of Movea, specialized in multi-sensor data fusion, MyFox is developing an e-Health project called WIG for “Where Is Grandmother?”. This project won the international innovation competition and has been selected in the Silver Economy sector.

It consists of tracking aging people equipped with a connected bracelet. The system alerts the entourage if the person remains lying during the day, identifies what she is doing (walk speed) and gives her care advice via the cloud.

This system is a good way to follow-up the health and to encourage homecare.

Orange Healthcare

Orange, the big French telecommunications company, has recently launched Orange Healthcare. The aim of Orange healthcare is to provide access to people to “up-to-the-minute” information about their health at anytime and anywhere. Healthcare professionals will be able to access patient data wherever they are and to share it with their colleagues whenever it is needed. Patients will have the choice to be cared at home, but still knowing that a healthcare professional is here if he needs to.

Orange is also pioneering new developments in e-Health to help traditional healthcare systems to evolve. The company’s commitment is to provide support for local and regional authorities with an approach based on a “co-construction” of technological solutions, developed with industrial healthcare and community welfare partners. This means a better coordination of care and a focus on prevention instead of cure in order to lower costs while raising quality of care.

As the aging population is exploding, we now need to find solutions to both improve the health and the quality of live, and reduce the costs. Thanks to e-Health companies emerging with very innovative answers, it will be easy to live at home longer and in a better shape in the future.


Sources (janvier 2015):