Last week, Best Buy Health announced its new senior-focused flip phone dubbed Lively Flip, as the big retailer continues to dive into digital health efforts. This news comes roughly two years after it purchased senior-friendly phone Jitterbug’s parent company GreatCall.
The new phone is positioned as an “evolution” of the Jitterbug and is connected to Amazon Alexa voice services. This means that users can make calls, write texts and check the weather with verbal commands. Like the Jitterbug, the phone has a large screen, big ergonomically designed buttons and louder speakers.
The phone service also offers access to GreatCall’s Urgent Response agents, and medical staff via an urgent care line. There is also a GreatCall app for caregivers to connect. The phone also supports wireless emergency alerts and can be connected to the GreatCall Rides service.
The phone is priced at $99.99, with a $35 activation fee. There is also monthly plan fee and plans that come with the health and safety feature
WHY IT MATTERS
As people are living longer, the number of seniors is growing. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, in 2030 the number of people over 60 will grow by 56%. We are seeing an emergence of technologies that assist healthy aging. These have included everything from remote monitoring to chatbots. Best Buy Health is pitching this tool as a way for seniors to connect more easily.
“In addition to making it easier for older adults to stay connected to loved ones, it offers an entire response team, from personal operators to tech support and urgent response agents,” Bill Yates, chief marketing officer of Best Buy Health, said in a statement.
“We know that our customers value the simplicity, reliability and easy access to our health and safety services. What we’ve done with the new Lively Flip is increased the accessibility of that connection and support with voice services through Amazon Alexa.”
THE LARGER TREND
In 2018 Best Buy purchased GreatCall from private equity firm GTCR for a whopping $800 million.
The next year the company bought remote senior-monitoring service Critical Signal Technologies (CST). At the time, the company said that it would use the platform to push into the Medicare Advantage space.
But Best Buy’s experience in senior care hasn’t been all smooth sailing. In 2019, Best Buy subsidiary GreatCall quietly and voluntarily recalled some portion of its recently launched Lively MobilePlus devices, and halted the sale of new units. The exact nature of the defect was not clear, but GreatCall referred to the recall in letters to purchasers as an “important safety recall.”
In February, the company launched the Lively Wearable2 and Lively App by GreatCall, packaged in a wrist or neck-worn device that includes fall detection, a step counter and the ability to call an emergency contact.