The two companies announced a deal with Japan Post Group, Japan’s largest health and life insurance company, to provide Apple hardware and IBM software to serve the needs of Japan’s elderly — which already represent almost a quarter of the population, and will reach 40 percent by 2055. Across the rest of the world, 21 percent of the global population will be over 65 by 2050.
“Among all the nations in the world, the issue of aging generations is most active in Japan. We need real solutions,” Japan Post CEO Taizo Nishimuro said at a New York City event announcing the partnership. The idea is to “deliver iPad with IBM developed apps, analytics and cloud services to connect millions of seniors with services,” added Nishimuro, who is also a former IBM director.
“Sooner or later most every country on face of earth will encounter this issue,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said, adding that the partnership’s purpose was to “build a service that not only we can be proud of, but will leave a dent in the universe.”
Along with standard iPad apps, the specially equipped tablets that will be given to Japanese seniors will get eldercare applications developed by IBM Global Business Services. IBM’s Watson supercomputer, which only recently learned to “think” in Japanese, and its cloud-based analytics will also be a part of the service.
The rollout will start later this year. It will begin by extending an existing Japan Post service called Watch Over, which offers in-person check-ins for people living alone, to include services through the iPad. A simplified interface will include large buttons that link seniors to health care details, access to friends and relatives, and a button to call for emergency help.
IBM said the software will also remind seniors when to take their medications, give them diet and exercise information and help them with their grocery shopping, according to The Wall Street Journal.