Home Adult site For startup K4Connect, connectivity is more than technical: it connects aging adults with loved ones and beyond

For startup K4Connect, connectivity is more than technical: it connects aging adults with loved ones and beyond

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While it is very true that accessibility is first and foremost designed for people with disabilities, it is also very true that accessibility is not exclusively the area of ​​the disabled. Accessibility literally benefits everyone, from larger texts on computers to foreign movie subtitles, meal kits and more. The discrete set of software features that companies like Apple and Google include in iOS and Android, respectively, is only a tiny fraction of what accessibility means conceptually. This is what makes accessibility so dynamic: as many people have different needs and tolerances, the same can be said of potential accessibility applications.

Consider the senior community. Amazon has devoted considerable resources (including Alexa) to projects designed to help seniors live happier, more independent lives. Over the past few months, I’ve reported on two such efforts: Smart Properties, which helps people living in assisted living communities stay better connected with loved ones and their care team; and Alexa Together, which lets seniors use Alexa to call for help when needed, among other things.

K4Connect is another company that is dedicated to helping the senior population through accessibility. The North Carolina-based startup describes itself as a “mission-driven tech company” that strives to make technology accessible (and therefore empowering) to seniors and other people with disabilities. It does this by unifying disparate software so everything is accessible in one place, rather than a hundred places. “[It’s] really this idea of ​​helping them [older adults] live their life to the fullest, using technology, regardless of their age,” said Scott Moody, Managing Director of K4Connect, in a phone interview with me last September. “So it’s the whole idea of ​​allowing them to live [a] a more independent, healthier and happier life.[That’s] what K4Connect does.

The road from concept to enterprise has not been smooth, according to Moody. “I can’t say it was a straight arrow. It was kind of a circuitous route,” he said. Moody’s formed a separate company, which made its initial public offering, or IPO, on Wall Street before ultimately being acquired. Moody was retired at this time, having made a trip to Rwanda. After he got home, he talked to his wife about the ideas he had about starting a new business that uses technology to help people. Moody was clear in telling me that he never really considered older people or people with disabilities as a demographic, but had the idea to develop an operating system that would link seemingly disparate devices. He imagined it as a software system that would bring together, for example, all the services used in a hotel (reception, concierge, room service, etc.) in an integrated way. This would alleviate the cognitive friction caused by the front desk being one number, the concierge being another, and so on. It wasn’t until Moody met a man with multiple sclerosis that he came to fruition with the idea of ​​targeting the elderly and people with disabilities.

The idea that older people don’t like technology, Moody told me, is wrong. They don’t like technology that is hard to understand. “They love technology that actually helps them live their lives to their fullest,” he said. “When you do that, they use it.”

Moody’s appreciates the efforts made by companies such as Amazon and Apple to help people with disabilities; it’s important work, of course, but Moody pointed out that they’re still relatively siloed. All the things people can access on their devices (food delivery, carpooling, etc.) exist in their own bespoke app, filled with their own bespoke user interfaces. With its K4Community technology, however, K4Connect aims to “bring them [different software] together as one product,” Moody said. The difference is that K4Connect customers are still using the products and services they know and love: Moody told me his company integrates with Alexa devices, iOS devices and more. They just house the functionality under one roof, so to speak. This is important in terms of reducing cognitive load; jumping between apps to just, say, adjust the thermostat can be hard for someone to remember or and How? ‘Or’ What do this.

The average K4Connect user is an 84-year-old woman. Moody thinks the older population is being overlooked when it comes to accessible technology; most are built by and for young teenagers or in their twenties. Still, Moody’s has 40,000 users to date, calling the older generation (65+) a “hugely important market.” It’s important for designers and engineers to realize, he added, that designing for an 80-year-old is not the same as designing for a 20-year-old. Seniors also use the technology, but most prefer a simpler, more streamlined experience. They want To do things, not necessarily gawking at the marvel of technology.

“I particularly believe that this is the goal of K4Connect [to] bring people together who want to serve others, and we can do it better together,” Moody said. “And I can’t think of a bigger demographic to serve.”

In the months since our interview, Moody and his team have been busy. Amazon tapped K4Connect to be a partner in the aforementioned Smart Properties initiative, while K4Connect announced further enterprise integration with Amazon’s Each Show devices. Additionally, K4Connect released two reports on the state of technology and aging adults. The first, the Fall 2021 Quarterly Information Report, examines “how technology accelerates and supports resident safety, well-being and satisfaction.” The second look how technology is a key driver for enriching the lives of residents in living communities, as well as staffing needs and community engagement.