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WHAT BOOMERS AND SENIORS WANT FROM TECHNOLOGY

Why Boomers and Seniors are Embracing Technology

elders_and_technologyContrary to common belief, Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964, as well as seniors are embracing technology.  As a technology adviser and trainer, the one expression I hear more than any other is “Technology helps me live a fuller life.”  As long as it is kept simple, they are always looking for technology to help them discover new ways to enhance their lives.  Below is a list of some of their favorite pastimes.

1.  Video conferencing – Whether it’s Skype or I-Chat (on MACs), keeping up with parents, children and grandchildren has been the biggest incentive for elders to embrace technology.  Weekly video visits has strengthened ties between generations.  How about some of your friends in different continents?  And for FREE!

2.  Sharing photos and videos – Can’t attend a graduation, wedding, or birth of a new grandchild?  These precious memories can be sent to you as the event is occurring.

3.  Want to contact someone who is not available by phone?  Text messages are received instantaneously.  All you need is your cell phone.

4.   Social networking sites have permitted boomers and seniors to reconnect with long lost acquaintances.  Signing up for Facebook will insure that you will be up to date with your grandchildrens’ activities and see the latest pictures.

5.  Eyesight failing?  Electronic reading devices (kindles, I-Pads, etc,) will let you enlarge print and to listen to the audio of your favorite books, magazines, and newspapers.

6.  Want to watch Charlie Rose anytime?  Visit his website for past shows.

7.  Looking for a new job or volunteer work?  Instead of wading through the classified, try searching online.

8.  Widows and widowers are flocking to online dating services.  Gone are the days when the only way you could meet someone was at a bar, social function, or through an introduction.

9.  No need to stand on line at the bank.  Elders prefer online banking to pay bills and check balances.

10. Tracking your portfolio – No need to call your broker. All your financial information is available online.

The list is endless.  However, whether it is researching exotic travel locations, looking to buy a new car, checking movie reviews and times, seniors and boomers have more spending power than any other generation and are more than willing to spend it on new technology as long as it is simple, requiring little maintenance.

10 REASONS WHY COMPANIES SHOULD TARGET BABY BOOMERS

Baby Boomers are not  Luddites!

Baby Boomers in action1.  Baby Boomers number 77 million, over 25% of the US population.

2.  Baby Boomers are the wealthiest, best educated and most sophisticated purchasers of services and products.

3.  By 2030, there will be twice as many people over age 65 as now.  Companies that don’t make their products and services relevant to older consumers will have a difficult time.

4.  The latest research indicates that Boomers and Seniors are expected to outspend younger adults by $1 trillion this year.

5.  The latest statistics indicate that 41% of Boomers regularly visit social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 61% visit websites that offer streaming or downloadable videos.

5. A recent article in the NY Times reported that Boomers show a great deal of interest in purchasing consumer electronics – more than any other age group.

6.  There is a surging number of people starting businesses later in life (baby boomers and seniors).  They will rely heavily on technology and will need to brush up on their basic computer skills.

7.  Boomers embrace technology when researching travel, products and services.

8.  With families spread out all over the world, they will rely heavily on e-mail, social media and video conference to keep in touch.

9.  Boomers don’t want technology products that are complicated and cluttered with excessive features.

10. Remember, Boomers are not just interested in issues such as health care and senior living facilities.  They spend more on traveling, new cars and computers than any other generation.

READY FOR A CELL PHONE UPGRADE?

Why you should consider a “Smart Phone”

Are you a “Mobile Warrior?”

7 Tips for the frequent traveler

Mobile Traveler1.  Are you using a “smartphone?  Upgrading your standard cell phone to either an I-Phone, Blackberry or Android will permit you to communicate by e-mail, text message and depending on the type of mobile device, be able to video chat as well on the go.

2.  Will you need to travel with a computer?  If you are involved with a lot of project work that requires you to use word processing, etc., having a light weight laptop will be necessary.  However, if your needs only involve checking your e-mail, accessing your contact and calendar information, and browsing the Internet, you might want to consider a tablet such as the I-Pad. The tablet market has become a popular tool for travelers.  (Check my blog from April 12th on the pros and cons of the I-Pad).

3.  When booking hotels, make sure that they provide Internet access.  Most major hotels offer wireless connectivity.  Some hotels charge extra for Internet use.

4.  While you will find many places such as hotels, coffee shops, Internet cafes, parks and airports offering either paid or free Internet access, more than likely the network is not secured.  Do not enter any private information such as bank passwords, social security numbers, etc. from these locations since your information is on a “public” network.  Starbucks is a great place to get work done, however when accessing the Internet, you are using the same network as the person at the table next to you, much like sharing a wireless connection with someone else at home.

5.  If you are planning to travel abroad, check with your mobile provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) to determine if your mobile device can be used out of the US and what your charges will be for calling and data services (e-mail, texting, and Internet access).  It might be more cost efficient for you to rent a phone for use in the country you are traveling to.

6.  There are a host of services available to minimize your communication costs when traveling abroad.  Skype is good for calling and video chatting computer to computer (some mobile devices will permit Skype to Skype calls). MAC computers have I-Chat.

7.  Don’t forget your chargers and adapters (and voltage specs) if traveling abroad.

If you have any questions about becoming an efficient “Mobile Warrior,” do not hesitate to contact me.

5 KEY RULES FOR THE USE OF CELL PHONES ABROAD

Global Travelers1.  Check with your mobile phone provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) to see if your phone will work in the country you are visiting.

2.  Make sure that you tell your provider that you are traveling internationally.  Some offer international data plans (e-mail, Internet access, messenger services).

3.  Some mobile providers are placing limits on “unlimited plans.”  Make sure you understand how you will be billed.

4.  Inquire whether your phone can use a SIM card.   SIM cards are small removable smart cards that are used in many cell phones. These cards are used to store  your mobile phone number and address book contacts.  Not all phones can use SIM cards so contact your service provider.

5.  Since placing and receiving calls on your phone while overseas is expensive, you might want to consider renting a local phone for the country or countries who are visiting.  These phones can be rented in the US before you leave.

Below is a link to an article that appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal with some excellent suggestions on how to save money while abroad.

http://on.wsj.com/dOeM68

If you have any questions about how to control your communication costs abroad, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com.


WHAT IS FIOS AND DO YOU NEED IT?

verizon-fios-logoWikipedia describes Fios as a bundled home communications service, (Internet, telephone and TV) operating over a fiber-optic  communications network. This means that you are using one dedicated line into your home or apartment.  In the case of an apartment, you are no longer sharing cable with the rest of the tenants, therefore dealing with varying speeds depending on how many people are watching TV or accessing the Internet at the same time.  In the greater NYC  area, Verizon is the service provider offering a Fios package.

Is the service for you?  As always, there is not a standard answer and it depends on your specific needs.  Chances are that unless you are  currently using a bundled package from your cable company (Time Warner, RCN, etc), you probably have separate providers for your telephone, TV and Internet.

Before making a decision, keep in mind that Verizon Fios is not available in all areas.  The first step is to determine what you are spending for your current services (Internet, TV and Telephone).  I recently switched from my local cable company to Verizon Fios and was able to reduce my bill for all three services by nearly 50%.  I was able to keep my existing phone number, increase the number of premier TV channels and enhance my Internet access speed substantially.

As indicated above, while my result is not uncommon, the decision whether or not to switch will be based on availability, your current usage and cost.

If you are interested in finding out more about fiber optics and if this program is right for you, give me a call (917 921-4518) or send an e-mail to jblue@bluetutor.com.

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