Let’s bring age-tech to SXSW!

What’s missing at SXSW Interactive?

In March 2012 I presented a Panel at South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) on “Transforming Social Media for the Senior Community.”  There is a void at events like SXSWi for entrepreneurs and innovative companies that deal with the aging space. I discovered this in 2011 when looking for Panels at “South By” that would help stimulate my own creative juices, but I couldn’t find even one aging space related event that captured my imagination. 

This year I’ve submitted a follow up Panel for 2013 on “Social Media, Health Tech and Caring for our Elders” that continues last year’s theme but more narrowly focuses on health IT.  When I consider that 60% of Boomers care for elderly parents, and that caregivers in this demographic are one of the fastest growing segments to (finally) adopt to digital media, managing health care in a social media space becomes obvious for my company, Seniors In Touch. 

While the implications of Meaningful Use compliance by 2015 and the coverage options and tools that have been made by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will help stimulate innovation and the creation of new health IT start-ups, there remains a disconnect in how this ambitious future translates into applicable products and successful business models.  For my company, educating families who are responsible for the care of their elders and to provide relevant and easy to use tools and technology to caregivers, physicians and providers is where innovation and application is needed.  

What’s missing from SXSWi is more participation from tech companies that serve the aging populations.  Aside from the exposure to an entrepreneurial community and perhaps presenting your own good ideas, a visible contingency of established and new tech companies serving the aging space helps educate VCs, angels, and industry leaders on why this market segment should be well served. 

So mark your calendars for March 8 – 17 (and book a room, they fill up fast) and let’s “meet up” at SXSWi. If you’re in the healthcare space and need even more reasons to go, see the recent list from Rock Health on Six Events You Can’t Miss for SXSW 2013.  I’ll be attending the Panel on the “Quantified Year: 365 Days of Tracking Everything” by Rock Health Chief Evangelist, Leslie Ziegler.

While you’re thinking about it, check out my session and give me a “thumbs up,” as up to 30% of the decision making process for Panels at SXSWi comes from the community – your participation really does count!


[This is a guest post by Brian Lang, who is co-founder and CEO of Seniors In Touch, a social media and family elder care system serving senior living communities nationwide. He is a serial entrepreneur and best selling book author. For more info, see his company coach bio for the AARP’s Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch event on 9/21 in New Orleans.  He can be reached at brian@seniorsintouch.com, or @brianjameslang.]