Tablet tested and designed for ‘Super Seniors’ made from act of love
The grandPad keeps your digital memories safe as well as ensuring contact with loved ones.
SENIOR LIFE photo
Scott Lien, 52, CEO of grandPad Inc., was inspired by technology since the fourth grade when he scraped and saved to buy his first computer, a TRS-80.
Lien, who has held leadership positions with companies such as Bank of America, Best Buy and Target, has launched an innovative tablet that was designed from scratch specifically for seniors 75 and older.
Lien explained that by the age of 75 most seniors begin to have physical limitation problems, such as hearing, and being able to touch and grasp because of arthritis. The possible beginning of dementia can increase the inability to understand complex concepts such as hooking up a computer. The grandPad addresses age-related user issues.
The devotion to his family, fifth generation Norwegian dairy farmers with deep roots in Decorah, Iowa, is reflected in Lien’s attitude toward business. He fondly calls the age group that helped him test the product, from 75 to the oldest tester at age 114, Super Seniors.
The germination for the product was inspired by an act of love from his son, Isaac Lien, 22, who took after his dad, pursuing an interest in technology. Isaac Lien wanted to solve the difficulties his grandmother was having with her computer.
Father and son worked on the grandPad product concept together at the son’s college, Chapman University in Orange, Calif., knowing they wanted to make staying in touch with family easier for the elderly.
What was birthed from that inception was a working pad, a computer device, to “bridge the digital chasm that exists between senior citizens and their families,” helping seniors get video calls, emails and photos from family members.
The pad supports other features such as playing the favorite music of the user, pre-selected by the user’s caregiver if necessary. Lien told the story of one adult daughter putting 10 of her mother’s favorite spiritual hymns on a repeat loop.
Every detail is well thought out — like packaging for the pad that a 90-year-old could physically unpack on his own. The user can then comprehend and make the grandPad operational without the additional steps it currently takes to make an iPad, the competition, operational from unpacking to use.
The user can send voice email and video chat, enjoy family photos and videos, music and games, and check the weather on the tablet.
How did Lien get Acer, a successful Taiwanese hardware firm, involved?
“It was very serendipitous,” he said, “divine providence.”
Before the product could be birthed, Lien went to Taipei, Taiwan to get the hardware, the physical body for their concept started and developed.
Lien, who had pursued Acer heavily, was willing to fly halfway around the world for what he thought would a be 10-minute opportunity to talk with a couple of employees. Before the meeting, he drank several cups of coffee and prepped himself. He walked into the boardroom to find the whole board and CEO willing to give him two to three hours of their time.
Ultimately, Acer invested in grandPad, and created the hardware, as well, which now can be purchased through the grandPad website at grandpad.net.
The grandPad is only available from the website: grandpad.net.
The grandPad is both a product — the actual pad — and a service.
It has a touch screen and large icons and is easy to hold and use.
It comes pre-loaded. Everything is pre-configured for seniors’ use, which includes room for their photos, music and contacts.
It has no micro USB cable to plug in. The grandPad is charged in its dock.
According to Acer, most seniors have no access to internet in their homes.
The grandPad supports Wi-Fi connectivity. If the user does not have WiFi in their home, grandPad offers cellular internet connectivity (4G LTE connectivity) as part of its $65.50 a month package. A pad comes as part of the service, but is not owned by the user. If the pad breaks or has any problems, a new one is sent as part of the service. The user has around-the-clock access to customer service with a button on the grandPad to connect them, They may ask any question at any time if they get flustered.