Apple and IBM test the senior services market in Japan

Apple IBM Japan Post

Apple, IBM, and Japan Post—which runs the Japanese mail system, a bank and the country’s dominant life insurance company—have teamed up to roll out a test market for senior services in Japan. 

Initially Apple will give iPads to 1,000 seniors in Japan, and if the program is successful, has plans to up that to five million, roughly 15 percent of Japan’s elderly population, in the next five years. IBM will supply apps and the cloud capabilities for services designed to enhance the lives of seniors.

The primary uses at the program’s inception are designed around the ability for seniors to stay in touch with family members and manage their daily lives with included health care apps—such as medication reminders and exercise and diet tips—and shopping functions. The iPads come loaded with accessibilty features for those with vision and hearing impairments, and an interface that works with Japan Post's fee-based “Watch Over” program in which postal workers, during their daily rounds, check on seniors and report their conditions to family members.

If successful, the companies anticipate this initiative expanding its services and spreading to other countries.