Increasing Understanding of Technology and Communication

Comcast Low-Cost Seniors Internet Program??


A recent poll reports that 85% of Americans use the Internet, but less than half of Senior Citizens have Internet access at home. While Age is a contributing factor, cost is also a major issue. Many of us use the internet on a regular basis, it not daily definitely weekly and we can’t imagine living without it.

In 2000 only 50% used the Internet and climbed to 85% in 2012 but has not changed since then. Of that persistent 15% that are not online about 40% of them are older adults 65+ and 3% are in their 20’s, this is all according to Pew Research.

Regardless of age, about 14% of those earning $30k to $50k weren’t online, that’s three time more than the number that make $75k or more (42%).  When Pew asked non-Internet users why they weren’t online, 1 in 5 cited costs.

While improved technology has reduced provider’s costs to connect you to the Internet, consumers pay an average of $50 a month, which is $10 more than a decade ago.

In late August 2015 Comcast announced plans to offer low-cost Internet to low-income seniors in San Francisco and retiree-friendly Palm Beach County, Florida. This is an expansion of their 2011 program “Internet Essentials” of which they recently boosted the speed from 5Mbps to 10 Mbps. This is probably just enough speed for grandparents to Skype, it comes with a free wi-fi router and costs 9.95 per month.

At the time this article was written, qualifications for this program were unclear and only a vague identification of the low-income groups this test offer was extended too.

Read Article (Ethan Wolff-Mann | | 08/21/2015)

This announcement is strictly promotional, it really has value only for Comcast. Suffice it to say that savings many providers enjoy, are not passed on to their customers.

Opportunities and possibilities favor the well informed.

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Internet of Things a Seniors Orwellian Nightmare


Older adults have now seen the scary future – and it is behind the firewall. When futurists began speaking about the ‘Internet of Caring Things’ they conjured up images of seemingly useful functionality. Smart objects networked together was a magnetic marketing phrase. Now it’s becoming an Orwellian nightmare, not just because Google can drive while you text. It’s because we know the car has millions of lines of code and is easily hacked by two guys on a couch with a laptop.

Volkswagen’s internal hacking deception to meet emission standards gives visibility to the Internet of Cheating Things, the Internet of Hacked Things, and Scammed Things.

A long time ago in the world of tech for seniors a cell phone just made calls, not easily hacked or invaded by malware. Networked monitoring, devices and hardware communicated in proprietary protocols to base stations/units & analytics were simple. These devices could not wirelessly send info or data anywhere, but this has changed.

Software now undermines the sensor-related industries and is obviously more vulnerable to hacking this year than ever before, all this points to weakness that requires assistance, IT Security consulting. But hospitals, rehab units, assisted living communities, nursing homes, home care and home health agencies are all enterprises that use software. Do they hire consultants? Doubtful.

So what should an Internet of Caring Things for older adults be like? Given the hacking and privacy chaos of today, we should exercise caution before extending the Internet of Things hype to healthcare, home care, or senior housing. The Internet of (truly) Caring Things would only allow devices to network that have been through device security basic training – not today’s retrospective apology of oops, they got in.

Read Article (Laurie Orlov | | 09/28/2015)

Real life is painting a different picture of the Internet of Things, and that picture is nothing like the description of futurists.

Being well informed and being a little tech-savvy can make a huge difference when utilizing new technology, whether you consider yourself a techie or not.

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