To Grandmother's House We Go

Issue 10-09-17   |   Reviewer:   Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.


The market for monitoring our senior citizens has grown dramatically since the days of "I've fallen and I can't get up" advertisements. Today, we have tools that can monitor everything from eating habits to sleep patterns and automated access systems. Many firms have offered products to enable concerned people to feel safer about the status of their elderly loved ones, but successfully establishing a market foothold has been elusive. The electronics retailer Best Buy Co. has now entered the fray offering products, installation, and monitoring services.

In many ways, this fits with their prior successful strategy of moving into a service-oriented as well as product-related value proposition. Their Geek Squad strategy has been quite successful. Indeed this new foray actually uses that success in the long-term care market. By partnering with a large health care provider, they have established a degree of legitimacy and created a training path for their Geek Squad to better understand the increased complexities of providing technological solutions for the elderly. For example, they had to train employees to better understand issues of learning for patients that may have degrees of dementia.

It is noteworthy that other entries into this market have failed, and some of them had a dream team in their entrepreneurial team. It will be intriguing to follow this effort by Best Buy as they seek to tap into a potentially huge market that has an emotional twist. It is known that many investors love to tap markets that allow parents to seek benefits for their children. In this case, they are dealing with the other end of that model, where busy children are asked to provide a safe haven for their aging parents.

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