Hightech-delight rather than technology frustration

FUTUREZONE met members of the Vienna Initiative of Green Seniors to test technical devices

The generation of 60 plus can no longer be considered to be outdated. Laptop, iPad, Navigator and digital camera inspire also older people – as shown with a test of technical devices in the FUTUREZONE. For seniors fair prices, good value for money and a personal added value are important.
Seniors cannot cope with modern techniques, they cannot cope with fast progress, computers are too complicated: so much for current clichés. But it is different in real life. FUTUREZONE met with members of the Vienna Initiative of Green Seniors in order to test technical devices: different products – from mobile phones for seniors to digital cameras to iPads – were thoroughly tested by the participants. There was a lot of enthusiasm. “I definitely want an iPad for Christmas”, says Birgit Meinhard-Schiebel, chairperson of the senior association and grabs it. The rest of the group – even those who had never heard of an iPad before – was delighted by the intuitive touch screen application and the design of the device. Only when they hear about the costs (from 500 Euros upwards), some lose interest.

The seniors are especially fascinated by the iPad

Christa Lettner admits, “it is always a question of priority. For all devices it is important to get good value for money.” She is the only one in the group who is immediately convinced about the current Emporia mobile phones for seniors. “You can argue as much as you want – but when you get older larger keys are a big advantage”, says Lettner. The reason why she does not have one yet is the price. The device costs approx. 100 Euro, depending on the dealer. “I don’t want to spend more than 30 Euros on a mobile phone.”

Technology yes, loss of control no

Also the navigator, a Garmin Nüvi 1490 TV with DVB-T meets a lot of interest. Nobody has problems using it; they quickly discover the TV function. “Of course, such devices have to be used carefully”, says Fritz Machac – responsible for the Senior Initiative’s website – and alludes to drivers who do not think independently and then sometimes get stuck in narrow alleys.
Laptop, digital camera, mobile phone – such devices are standard in the association of seniors. Also on-line banking, facebook and the production of on-line fotoalbums – such as Flickr or Picasa – are known to the participants. A special wish by the seniors: language controlled programmes should be extended. With increasing age it becomes more difficult to put texts into the computer and especially into mobile phones. “Talking is usually possible for a long time”, says Meinhard-Schiebel.

Silver Surfer

According to the Austrian statistics bureau, approximately half the people over 60 have access to the internet. Although the percentage of those using the net daily is lower – it will take some time until the digital gap will be closed. But the increasing numbers of the past years show: the so-called “silver surfer” generation increasingly uses the internet. In the year 2003 only 20,3% of 55 – 64 and 4,3% of the 65 – 74 year old persons, respectively were online, today the first group has risen to 52,8 % and the second to 28,2%.
KURIER, 26 November 2010

Editor: Claudia Zettel

Translation: Kitty Weinberger


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