Apple and IBM will provide tablet hardware and custom software potentially to millions of elderly Japanese citizens through a program run by Japan Post Holdings.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

May 1, 2015

2 Min Read
Apple, IBM, Japan Post to Supply Tablets to Elderly Japanese

Apple (AAPL) and IBM (IBM) said they will provide tablet hardware and custom software potentially to millions of elderly Japanese citizens through a program run by Japan Post Holdings, a government-owned entity managing some 24,000 post offices, banks and insurance companies.

The collaboration calls for Apple to provide iPads and IBM to deliver apps and analytics software to connect millions of Japanese seniors with services, healthcare, community and their families under the national Post Office Watch service. IBM will write software that alerts Post Office Watch customers to take their medicine, provide them with exercise and diet information and assist with tasks such as grocery shopping.

This latest collaboration for the once bitter rivals Apple and IBM is an extension of the enterprise mobility deal the two signed in July, 2014 that so far has produced 22 business mobile apps in the IBM MobileFirst portfolio across 10 industries.

“We are joining with two of the world’s most respected leaders in technology to bring our elderly generation into the connected world, expand our businesses by deepening relationships, and discover new ways to strengthen the fabric of our society and economy,” said Taizo Nishimuro, Japan Post Group chief executive.

Initially the partners will conduct a pilot program providing about 1,000 iPads to seniors free of change starting later this year. The plan ultimately calls for the Japan Post Group to expand the initiative in phases to reach up to 5 million seniors in Japan by 2020.

However, with seniors comprising about 25 percent of Japan’s 127 million population–a constituency expected to grow to nearly double in the next 40 years–the program’s potential service base is colossal.

“This initiative has potential for global impact, as many countries face the challenge of supporting an aging population, and we are honored to be involved in supporting Japan’s senior citizens and helping enrich their lives,” said Tim Cook, Apple chief executive.

The elderly watch service currently serves about 100 people for a nominal charge a month. Japan Post said it will convert the service program officially into a business by this time next year. 

“What we’re starting today draws on IBM’s long heritage of innovation at the intersection of technology, business and society,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM president, chairman and chief executive. “The potential we see here–as broad as national economics and as specific as the quality of life of individuals and their families–is one example of the potential of mobile-led transformation anywhere in the world where issues of an aging population exist.”

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About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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