Global Coalition on Aging  

Press Release: 11/29/17

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

The unique one-day event brought focus on active and healthy ageing ahead of Slush, Europe's largest startup conference

HELSINKI, FINLAND (November 29, 2017) - On November 28, the second-annual Digital Silver Forum convened nearly 400 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 ageing for the $15 trillion silver market. Digital Silver brought focus to the increasing recognition and response to the growing influence of consumers over 60, of which there will be 1 billion by 2020. Researchers have previously discovered that Europe's consumption growth is coming from the 60-75 age group, demonstrating the relevance of this consumer group to the business sector. The forum also supports entrepreneurs who are 55 and older - representing more than 23 percent of new business leaders according to data in the U.S., which is likely a reflection of global trends.

“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. At Digital Silver we saw impressive approaches to meeting the needs of the emerging digital silver market.” 

Digital Silver was the official pre-Slush event focused on health and technology innovation for the rapidly growing silver market and brought together business leaders from across multiple sectors and global policymaking institutions, including Bayer,  BioSig Technologies, Bordeaux Institute of Technology, EasyCare Academy, GlycoLeap, the Government of Finland, Inria, Intel, IBM, Kela, Nokia, OP Financial, Sitra, Sky Labs, Tekes,  University of Jyväskylä, Vertical Health Accelerator,  and many more. Digital Silver was also proud to have prominent public policy leaders, including Dr. John Beard, Head of Ageing and Life Course for the World Health Organization, Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, European Commission, and Annika Saarikko, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services in Finland. 

“In little more than two 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.”

“We are trying to tackle the attitudes that are pervasive across society on ageing at the moment and realign health systems so they are much better oriented to the needs of older people.  Every country on the planet needs a system of long term care and age-friendly environments," said John Beard, Director of the Department of Ageing and Life Course at the World Health Organization (WHO). "We need a global consensus on how we are approaching ageing societies, and how we define success. The private sector is a critical stakeholder, and the Digital Silver Forum has moved this agenda forward as a place to share ideas and push the boundaries of innovation.” 

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

  • Interviewed by Esko Aho, Former Prime Minister of Finland, EasyCare Academy’s co-founder Peter Nicholson, spoke about the ambitious new social enterprise and its plans to use data and a cutting-edge technology platform to enable the world to meet its rapidly growing need for high-quality elder care.
  • Speakers from Bayer, Nokia and Kela discussed how major companies are viewing the challenges and opportunities in creating new products and adapting existing ones to meet the needs of older consumers in ways that reflect the diverse and unique needs of this group.
  • Ryoji Noritake, the Executive Director of Japan’s Health and Global Policy Institute shared important insights into what our future will look like, and how we can prepare based on Japan’s experience on the leading edge of grappling with a rapidly ageing population.
  • Leaders from Intel, IBM, Sky Labs, Holmusk and Inria provided demonstrations to attendees of technologies for seniors that may enable them to stay healthy and active, live independently for longer, or simply exist to bring delight. 
  • Ambitious new start-ups looking to break into the Silver Market competed for prize money and mentorship in front of a panel of judges from Bayer, BioSig Technologies and Icecapital Securities.

Digital Silver was organized by the Global Coalition on Aging and Verbatum Oy, and sponsored by OP Financial and EasyCare Academy. The event was supported by Tekes, Tela, Bayer, Nokia and Vertical, with additional assistance from Helsinki Business Hub, Sitra and Evondos. 

For a full list of speakers and expanded commentary from WHO's John Beard, please visit www.digitalsilver.eu.

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