Boomers and Millennials: Tech Can Bridge the Age Gap

June 7, 2016
By Monta Monaco Hernon - College students coming home for the summer might have a technological adjustment to make - from the super ...

College students coming home for the summer might have a technological adjustment to make - from the super speeds and ubiquitous WiFi access they're used to on campus back to their parents' Internet.

"When students are on campus, they have access to IPTV, streaming, high speeds and a TV for gaming. Speed is important to them, and they use apps to access content and to make their lives easier. We believe when they go home, they might find that they do not have the same speed," said Adrian Adriano, Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) VP of strategic initiatives, XFINITY Communities. One of the products under the purview of his division is XFINITY on Campus, which among other things delivers live streaming TV to students' IP video devices.

The good news for Millennials is that Baby Boomers are not far behind in their understanding of technology. "[Boomers] embrace technology. We just use it differently," Adriano said.

Millennials are on social apps, while Boomers use e-mail, for example. Millennials don't think it is rude to have a phone in front of them at the dinner table and are using speed for watching TV and gaming. Boomers are uploading pictures and downloading movies.

"Both Boomers and millennials are addicted to information," Adriano said. "Millennials are the first digital native generation and take it for granted. They may not be more tech savvy than us, they just grew up with it."

Another interesting difference is that Millennials haven't shown an interest in owning things, just using them. They are living in downtown areas where they are not pressured to buy a car. They are renting housing instead of buying. MDUs can have managed WiFi so access can be customized, and buildings can provide great access in the laundry rooms or swimming areas, like on campus, Adriano said.

How to bridge the gap between Millennials and Boomers? Adriano says that overall the similarities are greater than the differences between the generations, with the bridge being the wish for a good experience with technology, no matter what it is being used for.

"If the home has the right speeds and the right service, that is going to provide a solution for everybody in the family," Adriano said. "New applications and new products and tools can increase family interaction."

For example, apps that sync calendars can make sure everyone is on the same page and knows where to be. Home security can send picture texts every time the door opens to keep the family in the loop.

"If someone forgot to let the dog out, the family will know," Adriano said.