Japan Postal Workers Team with Apple, IBM to Monitor the Elderly

Apple and IBM are partnering with Japan's postal service to help monitor the welfare of elderly people in the country by using iPads. The partnership will enhance Japan's service where postal workers check in on elderly people along their routes by using iPads running IBM software.

iPads to help check up on senior citizens in JapaniPads to help check up on senior citizens in Japan

Currently postal workers check in on the elderly on their delivery routes as a paid service. Putting iPads in the hands of senior citizens will make it easier to check their status and, thanks to the apps IBM is developing, will help them stay in shape and eat properly, too.

Japan Post Group is rolling out the iPads in a test program, and if successful, will expand to include up to 5 million customers by 2020. The program could be offered in other countries, too, depending on how it plays out in Japan.

"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 Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Japan is home to more than 33 million senior citizens, making up 25 percent of the country's population. That number is expected to grow to 40 percent over the next 40 years, making personal monitoring efforts more difficult. Japan Post's partnership with Apple and IBM could help ease that strain and offer a way to proactively work on improving the elderly population's health.

That's how Japan Post Group CEO Taizo Nishimuro sees it, too. He said, "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."

Japan Post plans to launch its pilot program in the second half of the year as part of its current Watch Over service.

[Some image elements courtesy Shutterstock]