Some weeks ago, IOANNA partner Materia Group, had the opportunity to interview Anna Philippou, Cypriot policy maker, responsible person for the elderly club in one of the Municipal Mutlifunctional Centers in Nicosia in order to discuss IOANNA’s solution and its market potential:
- Could you share with us a few words about you and your experience with older adults?
I am a social worker and from 2008, I am the responsible person for the elderly club of the Strovolos Μunicipal Multi-Functional Foundation. The foundation offers recreational and educational activities for older adults.
- From the perspective of an expert who has experience in older adults, what makes the IOANNA project unique and therefore is its competitive advantage?
I think that the most useful aspect is that the IOANNA system assists older adults in finding easily products and services near them.
- What would you identify as a barrier for market entry currently for the IOANNA product?
Many ICT projects have been introduced to our older members in the past and they were, ultimately, thrown away, or kept in drawers. In my opinion, in order to be used by older adults, technological products should be interesting, have an appealing price-after all, we are talking about pensioners- and be advertised appropriately.
- Is there anything you would change, remove, add to the IOANNA system?
I think it could be enriched with some recreational elements, such as a news-reading section, a calendar, and games. Also, make sure that the businesses listed in the app are appealing to older adults. For example, having access to pharmacies, chemistry labs, and doctors is very important to them.
- In your opinion, in what way can the IOANNA project support older people and the society in short and long-term?
Well, for starters they can have better access to products and services than they have now. Especially people who do not know how to use Google. Another important aspect is that they will be more autonomous and independent and hence, their family and children will be able to assist them less with everyday life activities (such as shopping).
- What do municipalities look for in a product in order to fund it and make it available to older adults?
Two things actually: efficiency and cost. So, about efficiency, municipalities usually look into products that assist them or their citizens to save time and make processes easier. In terms of cost it should be something of a low cost that can be funded in a larger scale or even partially funded by older citizens themselves.
- Do you think the Cypriot (modify per country) government could allocate funds for the IOANNA product and why?
Yes, it could be piloted in the municipalities. Not so much on governmental level but the municipalities could start trying the application for their citizens. Of course, again, the cost of the solution should be affordable. Also, the municipalities would need to be convinced with some hard data about the usability and utility of the solution in older adults’ everyday lives.
Strovolos Μunicipal Multi-Functional Foundation