Global Coalition on Aging  

Press Release: 12/08/16

Digital Silver Forum Showcases Technology, Policy, and Business Innovation for $15 Trillion Silver Market

The Unique One-Day Event Brought Focus on Active and Healthy Aging to Slush, Europe’s Largest Startup Conference

HELSINKI, FINLAND (December 8, 2016) – On November 29, the inaugural Digital Silver Forum convened nearly 300 leaders from global businesses, startups, NGOs, governments, and policymaking organizations for a day-long event in Helsinki to connect digital innovation and healthy and active aging for the $15 trillion silver market. Digital Silver brought focus to the increasing recognition and response to the growing influence of consumers over 60.

“Europe, like much of the world, is experiencing a rapid change in our societies,” said Esko Aho, former Prime Minister of Finland and co-organizer of the event. “Increased longevity and plummeting birth rates mean that we must dramatically rethink how we organize our societies, plan for the future, and do business. I’m thrilled that the young leaders of the global Slush conference recognized this opportunity and invited us to create the Digital Silver Forum to highlight innovation in the emerging digital silver market.”

Digital Silver was the official pre-Slush event focused on innovation for the rapidly growing silver market and the first such event at the massive European startup conference. Digital Silver was also the first global event to bring together business leaders from across multiple sectors and global policymaking institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO), with startups, all with a shared focus on how aging and longevity are powering change and innovation in organizations large and small, public and private.

“In little more than three years, there will be one billion globally over the age of 60,” said Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging and the other co-organizer of the event. “Older consumers will control an ever greater percentage of disposable income, as much as 70% in the United States. A diverse group with varying needs, desires, and abilities, the over-60 consumer presents a challenge to our traditional thinking, but more importantly, a tremendous opportunity for businesses and for policymakers,” he said.

Digital Silver showcased some of the most innovative initiatives to meet the needs of older adults from policymakers and business alike. Highlights include:

  • Home Instead Senior Care Vice President of Technology Jim Hood spoke about how the company reinvented care itself and continues to elevate the quality of elder care delivered around the world.
  • In a conversation with the WHO’s Alana Officer, Peter Nicholson, Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Nestlé Skin Health, spoke about the company’s success in transforming the public’s understanding of skin and its influence on overall health.
  • Dilruk Yahathugoda of MAS Holdings, one of the largest global textile manufacturers, discussed the company’s growing focus on wearables and health sensors that enable consumers to manage their own health and wellness.
  • In his final public appearance as CEO of Pohjola Terveys, Harri Aho spoke about parent company OP’s bold decision to expand from finance into healthcare and their unrelenting focus on patient satisfaction.
  • Legacy technology leaders like Nokia and IBM and newer globally pervasive brands like Uber shared the stage to highlight how their organizations are creating new solutions in response to demographic change.
  • Throughout the day, attendees explored the expo hall where the best and brightest Finnish and other European-funded startups demonstrated their newest products and services.

Digital Silver was organized by the Global Coalition on Aging and Verbatum Oy and sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care, IBM, Nestlé Skin Health, OP-Pohjola, and Nokia. The event was also supported by Aging 2.0., the World Demographic and Ageing Forum, Tekes, Sitra, VTT Technical Research Centre, the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and Skolkovo.

For a full list of speakers, go to www.digitalsilver.eu.

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