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The first cohort of “baby boomers” are now 65 years or older, presaging a massive wave of aging “boomers” that could degrade health care and elder care over the next quarter-century. Cost-effective, high-impact technologies for aging, disabilities and independent living are urgently needed. In this paper, we present our experience in building “assistive environments” for older adults-the Gator Tech Smart House (GTSH) project. Numerous R&D efforts similar to ours are either underway or have recently been conducted. In most of these projects, prototypes have been built to achieve independence, well being, and in general, good quality of life. But prototyping a technology is one thing; commercial proliferation and creating a vibrant industry around such technology is an altogether different proposition. From the lessons learned in the GTSH, we analyze the impediments hindering the emergence of products and services for assistive environments, and present the blueprints of an ecosystem based on requirements drawn from the lessons learned. We believe the proposed ecosystem is an important beginning to providing better conditions for an accelerated proliferation of next-generation smart homes and assistive environments.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2012