Apple, IBM team up with Japan Post for elderly services, support

Japan Post will pilot iPads with custom IBM apps to better connect the elderly to their communities and keep tabs on their well being.

IBM, Apple and Japan Post Group have formed an initiative to help deliver senior citizens in Japan with services, healthcare tools and community tools.

For IBM and Apple, the partnership provides distribution and a showcase for custom apps. The returns will be measured in financial metrics as well as quality of life improvements.

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The plan is to pilot iPads with custom apps for the elderly in the second half of 2015 and then expand. Japan Post Group aims to deliver the Apple-IBM wares to 4 million to 5 million customers in Japan by 2020.

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Japan has 33 million seniors that equate to a quarter of the country's population. Senior citizens will represent 40 percent of Japan's population over the next 40 years. IBM is likely to garner a lot of data from the effort that can also be used for China, a country that is also going to age dramatically in the decades to come.

According to the companies, the initiative includes:

  • An iPad and its usual complement of built-in apps with its accessibility features.
  • Custom apps developed by IBM that will include reminders and alerts about medications, exercise and diet. There will also be connections to community services.
  • IBM's MobileFirst software for Japan Post Group employees.
  • Text analytics and Japanese natural language analysis.
  • Japan Post Group's last mile coverage and ability to reach Japan's citizens.

The Apple and IBM partnership will ride shot gun with Japan Post Group's Watch Over service. For a fee, Japan Post personnel check in on elderly customers and overall well-being. The iPad and IBM apps will complement in-person monitoring.

Japan Post has a history of partnering with innovative tech companies. Japan Post was an early Salesforce partner and uses the cloud company to manage 100 million customers.

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