All in good health? Today’s and tomorrow’s healthcare market – and interview with Paul Lunow, Part 1

Our previous blog post took a look at facts and figures in the context of healthcare market action, before now moving on to our interview with Paul of the company Nepos to discuss a fascinating subject. Nepos developed a digitisation platform for seniors. Our interview will tell you more about its implications in the context of healthcare and healthcare properties, among other things.

RealCast is a podcast series by fiveandfriends for the real estate industry. RealCast discusses relevant topics and mega trends of our day and age, the focus being on the communication and marketing of sustainable investment solutions.

Paul Lunow and his fascinating biography

The life of Paul Lunow has gone through several phases, all of which were defined by entrepreneurship. He combines business acumen with a knack for turning ideas into start-up companies, being basically a textbook example of a gifted entrepreneur. A programmer by heart, he has made it his business to create technical solutions whenever they do not exist yet, and some of these are spun off into companies. Some time ago, he set-up an exciting start-up enterprise called Nepos. Most recently, he became a mentor under the Tech4Germany program of the Federal Government which provides assistance with agile project and with the search for better solutions for our day and age.

Stefan Stüdemann: Paul, tell us a little bit more about Nepos. What is Nepos? What is the idea behind it, and what sort of vision or mission to you have?

Paul Lunow: Nepos is not really a start-up anymore, since I have been preoccupied with the subject for the past five years. Due to my profession as programmer, I double as the family’s system admin. In my immediate family, we are closely networked, but older people with little affinity for technology tend to feel excluded. So we had the idea to give my grandma an iPad. It is the easiest way to interact with the digital world. It was only when I started to explain everything that I realised that things are not quite as simple as they seem.

“So, the idea was born to create a products that is optimised for the needs of a targets group that did not grow up with this kind of technology and who have a hard time seeing the point or understanding the purposes it could serve.”

After all, digital technology as a whole is comparatively young and keeps changing at break-neck speed. It can be quite tough to try to keep up and to familiarise yourself with everything. But at some point you simply have to take a deep breath and deal with it. In our day and age, it has become more important than ever, especially for elderly people, to put technology to good use, and this is precisely the aspect we are working on. Our USP is to offer a uniform user interface that you can use for any digital purpose once you have familiarised yourself with it.

Stefan: Nowadays, certain services are virtually impossible to get anymore without the use of technology. So, it sounds like a fantastic idea to me to provide access and support to an older target group and to take them aboard for the digital journey, at least to some extent. Tell us specifically where things stand today and what you guys at Nepos are up to these days? What are Nepos’ commitments?

Paul: Exactly. You can now find us on the Internet at All those who want to see for themselves may use a generally accessible platform free of charge. The best way to test the link with elderly relatives is on an endpoint with a 10’’ screen or larger. That way, you can see for yourself how they are coping. On the corporate level, we are in the process of entering into all sorts of collaborative ventures, always with a focus on the objective to find products or services that are mainly or exclusively available in digital form. Another focus is on the things that seniors find hardest to participate in. After all, we want to resolve actual issues, highlight the actual usefulness of the product, and enable elderly people to keep interacting with a given subject the way they used to. It is very important to realise in this context that the difficulties have less to do with age than with human biology above all. The older you get, the lower your level of fluid intelligence, which is responsible for familiarising yourself with new facts and circumstances. This is where the challenge comes in that technology poses with its ever faster and increasingly drastic changes while we remain virtually rooted to our spots and try to keep up. Principally, we all face this conundrum, and it is not about to change, because that is how we are hard-wired.

Stefan: That means you guys are scouting possible issues for the elderly target group. We keep saying today that the older target groups did not grow up with the technology that we and our children are used to. But the question is, of course, whether this issue will be irrelevant in future as we, who are familiar with the technology, get older. You suggested that there is a biological issue involved. Does that mean we, too, will sooner or later turn into your target group?

Paul: Yes, of course. I’m not actually saying that it is a biological issue, but rather that it is biological fact that older people tend to rely on their wealth of experience and no longer wish to change everything, which is quite sensible. This means, just like you said, that we may in turn watch our grandchildren handle state-of-the-art nano-robot technology. I’m quite sure that we will want to make do with our smartphone and prefer not to have computers implanted in our bodies. And our grandkids will roll their eyes and say, “But Grandpa, how are we going to communicate?”

“This is precisely the long-term vision of Nepos as a trust-based brand – bridging the technological gap so as to let people participate in the world out there. And to differentiate between mature technology and technological frills for them.”