This morning senior-focused startup Speak2 Family announced its plans to buy fellow voice assistant SoundMind Clients for an undisclosed sum.
Both companies use voice-activated assistants to help seniors in their daily lives. SoundMind offers a voice-activated care concierge, along with activities and information on demand and video calling.
Speak2 Family works through senior’s Alexa devices and uses voice activation to help seniors with messaging, reminders and getting assistance. It also offers personalized content, a community-support feature with tutorials and workshops, and activity monitoring.
According to Speak2 Family, the acquisition was prompted by Amazon’s announcement that its Alexa Smart Properties would support senior living facilities, thus making Speak2 and others available at more geographical locations.
“We are still tapping into all the possibilities it offers to transform the way we communicate and interact,” Jillian Guerra, cofounder of Speak2 Family, said in a statement. “The opportunities available through Amazon Alexa’s voice interface are endless, and both companies are ecstatic, as they are sure it will continue to accomplish their mission of uniting and bridging gaps across generations and caregiving.”
WHY IT MATTERS
The U.S. population is quickly aging. According to the CDC, adults over the age of 65 represented 15% of the population in 2016. However, by 2030 seniors are expected to make up roughly 25% of the population.
Industry experts have stressed the need for more innovation in the senior care and living space.
“It’s critical that we get it right for so many reasons,” Dr. Joe Kvedar, senior advisor of virtual care at Mass General Brigham, told MobiHealthNews in 2020. “In 2050, there will be twice as many people on the planet over 65 as there will be under 5, and it just keeps getting more and more dramatic, because, luckily, we are living longer. But as we live longer, we need more healthcare services.”
THE LARGER TREND
Voice technology is becoming increasingly popular in the senior-tech space. In September, Amazon launched the Alexa Together subscription service that lets caregivers assist and remotely monitor aging family members in the home.
The technology has also been pitched as a way to help combat loneliness, especially during the pandemic. Orbita, a healthcare voice -chatbot maker, landed $9 million in Series A funding in 2020. At the time of the funding, the company reported an increased number of requests due to the pandemic.