Grandpad Senior Tablet – Consumer Cellular Inc. has spent years carving out a profitable niche in the wireless industry: selling cellphones to senior citizens. Now the closely held carrier is seen to apply the formula to tablets and smart home appliances. The idea is to offer technology that is easier to use, both for consumers who are not smart and those who are physically challenged.
The company’s expansion began this month with the addition of GrandPad to its ranks. Touch screen tablets are designed for older customers – people who might be intimidated by the iPad. The interface allows users to hold video chats with family members, view photos or check news.
Grandpad Senior Tablet
Later this year, the Oregon-based company aims to follow up with a network of motion sensors and wireless hubs for homes. That would let caregivers monitor their loved ones remotely, Co-Founder of Cellular Customers John Marick said in an interview. And more products can finally be connected to the hub – maybe something that reminds seniors to take their pills on time, for example.
“Once you have a wireless hub at home, you can connect all kinds of things there,” Marick said.
Caregiving products are a new direction for 23-year-old companies, and one that is expected to help avoid a slowdown in the wireless industry. Consumer Cellular has posted sales growth of 20 percent to 30 percent, and seems to reach $ 1 billion in revenue this year, Marick said.
But the market for senior citizen technology soon became more crowded, especially when baby boomers reached their golden years. Best Buy Co. sell Assured Living – a network of sensors to track seniors in their homes and related applications for caregivers – in certain markets. Some companies have also exhibited robots that help homes.
When trying to compete, Consumer Cellular will rely on a customer base of 2.85 million customers. The company aims to sell 15,000 GrandPads this year. And in three years, 500,000 people can use at least one of their new care products, Marick said.
Consumer Cellular resells wireless capacity from T-Mobile US Inc. and AT & T Inc. Not having a shop, only four call centers that answer customer questions. The company ranks include flip phones with large buttons, and Apple Inc. devices. and Samsung Electronics Co. usual.
The GrandPad touch screen has large digital buttons, such as “calls”, “photos” and “new emails.” Only approved sender messages will enter the e-mail box, weed out spam and fraud.
This summer, a specially designed version of the Lyft Inc. application will be added to the screen too: This will allow seniors to press the large button that says “church” or “home” to capture the vehicle to the specified address. This application will also be able to notify caregivers that their costs arrived at their destination safely.
Cellular consumers invest in California startups that make GrandPad in December, and operators will become exclusive distributors of products in the US, Marick said.
The motion sensor system, meanwhile, is still being tested. The accompanying software and mobile applications will use artificial intelligence to draw conclusions from sensor data: For example, they will notify caregivers if a senior who always wakes up at 8 am is not driven by 9. The company works with Samsung on its services, Marick said.
This approach is similar to how the company first entered the mobile market, said Marick. It takes wireless technology and makes it mainstream.
“In many ways, it’s like returning to our roots,” Marick said. “Let’s take mobile to the masses.”