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2022 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day丨Digital Technologies for Older Persons and Healthy Ageing

Date:2022-05-25 00:00:00

‘Digital Technologies for Older Persons and Healthy Ageing’ is the theme of 2022 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The elderly, after the disabled, minors, and women, mark the fourth special group focused on by the theme of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. This is also a joint topic for the global village with many countries stepping into an ageing society.  

According to the data from QuestMobile, of the total number of Internet users, people aged 50 and above take up one-third, whose amount totals more than 100 million. With a growth faster than any other group, they have become an important impetus for the expansion of mobile Internet users. Based on the research report jointly established by yuqing.people.cn and Tencent, 30% of middle-aged and elderly people surf the Internet more than 3 hours a day, and nearly 10% more than 6 hours a day. In recent years, under the influence of the pandemic, the elderly’s online consumption capacity shows a sharp upward trend.  

It is imperative to renovate intelligent terminals to fit the needs of the elderly and lower the usage threshold of intelligent terminal devices, enabling more older persons to benefit from the conveniences and joy of digital technologies. 

 

Jointly Promoting Elderly-Oriented Intellectual Terminals

According to the data from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China, in the year 2021, 483 models have been listed in the domestic market, and in the first two months of 2022, 56 models have been listed. There are even more in the market stock. On the road of Elderly-Oriented Intellectual Terminals, our tasks remain heavy and our course long. 

Xiao Yaqing, Ministor of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China, said that the course of elderly-oriented renovation is of no bounds. This year, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will continue to well conduct relevant work, which includes organizing a new group of apps and websites, and advancing renovations focused on elderly orientation and information accessibility, so as to set a series of benchmarks for renovations on elderly orientation and information accessibility. 

In the field of intellectual terminals, this year Department of Digital Information of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will strengthen top-level design, improve standard systems, and take faster steps on elderly-oriented renovation of intellectual terminals based on various terminal categories, elderly care scenarios and life fields. On this basis, the ministry will research standard systems and formulate key standards related to domestic health management and life assistance according to people’s joint needs. 

The Ministry will popularize the idea of elderly orientation and further promote the results achieved. The Ministry will popularize the elderly-oriented design philosophy of intellectual terminals, and encourage qualified enterprises to invite older persons to participate in the design and R&D of elderly-oriented products. Enterprises are supported to set up discovery zones for elderly-oriented products and foster benchmarks for elderly-oriented renovation. Multiple promotion channels should be used for results for elderly-oriented renovations of intellectual terminals, so as to support older persons in bridging the digital divide. 

Zhao Yan, Director of Consumer Electronic Laboratory of Electronic Information Institute of CCID, who is also a senior engineer, suggests that localities carry out promotion on elderly-oriented products and organize a Consumer’s Day, while offering an amount of subsidies. She proposes to establish policies on special coupons for elder users to boost consumption of elderly-oriented intellectual products. Relevant government departments and associations are suggested to strengthen promotion and popularization of standards on elderly-oriented products and conduct authentication on relevant products, guiding elder consumers to correctly choose and use the products.  

It is expected that with the deepening of elderly-oriented renovation of intellectual terminals, more and more older persons will be able to enjoy the fruitful results of digital technology and a high-quality later life that is peaceful, satisfying and healthy.

 

To make terminals more elderly-oriented remains a major responsibility 

According to the data from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, by the end of this March, the total number of mobile phone users of China’s three big carriers (China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom) is 1.66 billion, among whom that of mobile internet users reaches 1.44 billion. This signifies that around 220 million Chinese mobile phone users are using 2G terminals that are unable to connect with mobile internet, and older persons take up a majority of those users. Despite the fact that many older persons have bought smartphones, a large part of them are afraid to use the devices due to the complexity of operation. 

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Zhao Yan, Director of Consumer Electronic Laboratory of Electronic Information Institute of CCID, who is also a senior engineer, said that the operation of intellectual terminal products is still relatively difficult, which should be simplified. Also, with a lot of inducing advertisements on the user interface, there is a great possibility for older persons to make unintended touches which can pose risk to their property. Besides, the terminal’s speech recognition accuracy should be advanced for more dialects to be recognized. 

Therefore, it is the shared social responsibility of the terminal industry chains to allow barrier-free usage of smartphones for older persons.

 

Beijing: helping older persons enjoy a beautiful smart life 

In 2021, Beijing carried out the first group of elderly-oriented and barrier-free renovations on 51 websites and 26 apps closely related to the work and life of older persons and people with difficulties. These renovations aim to address the problems older persons and people with difficulties faced with when using intellectual technologies such as the internet, and promote building an information society that fully considers the needs of older persons and people with difficulties. 

In 2022, Beijing Mobile introduced 10086 video services, which can help the elderly ‘face-to-face’ and provide personalized and considerate services through video means. Beijing Unicom launched the Union Pay Card and the Filial Piety Card that bridge older persons with digital life, and the elder's daughters and sons far away can care for the elderly at any time through functions of ‘Remote Share’ and ‘Unicom Home Monitor’. Beijing Telecom opened ‘Elderly-Assistive Micro Lectures’ for older persons, teaching the elder to use smartphone apps, and disseminate anti-fraud knowledge jointly with universities for the aged under National Bureau of Statistics, helping the elderly to keep their ‘money bags’ safe and sound... 

Technological upgrade enables older persons to embrace Digital Time, and make them able, capable, daring and willing to use smart products. Meanwhile, more explorations on reverse thinking in daily life and heartwarming intellectual services better befit older persons’ living customs, unfolding the scroll of digital life before older persons through their real experiences. 

(Source: China Ageing)