Alexa – What was at CES 2019 for consumer health technology?

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Simbex CTO, Jeff Chu, and I attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.  This year, CES had 180,000 attendees focused on the “next best thing” across too many industries to list here.  What is an exciting event can also be overwhelming without a plan.  Simbex attended to meet with potential customers, talk to suppliers, and ensure we stay on top of the latest consumer healthcare trends.  Here is what we observed:

Voice Control is Key
Exhibit at CES without voice control? Not a chance. Alexa – Where can I find a restaurant reservation before 11PM? Hey Google! Find me a relaxing massage pod. This technology is being integrated into Health Bots (robotic home health assistants), and will be particularly impactful for patients with disabilities.

CES attendees in massage pods

Seamless User Interface
Those of us missing the window cranks on our cars are really out of luck. CES exhibitors have determined knobs, buttons, and sliders as things of the past.  Touch is the only way to go.  Jeff, my colleague, CTO and product development guru, pointed out that touch screens have many advantages: no buttons to break, no sliders to stick, fewer parts, no holes, and less labor.

Biometrics are ubiquitous
Everyone has oxygen saturation, heart rate, HRV, blood pressure, respiratory rate, ECG, temperature, blood pressure, glucose, etc. The interesting part is how it’s being measured: HR and Cardiac Rhythm without even touching the body, sensors embedded in fabrics, sensors incorporated into hearing aids, etc.  And how small that you can make the sensor?  The size of a grain of rice is the answer.  Alexa – What’s my blood pressure?

IoT and connected technology is an expectation
From refrigerators to toasters, from home security systems to cars and televisions – everything is connected in the Internet of Things (IoT). However, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) still seems fragmented and disjointed.  People are doing it, but where the data is going is anyone’s guess (App, Dashboard, EMR). Which leads me to…

Health systems are getting in the game
Health systems are trying to figure out how they incorporate all of this data into the medical record system to get a holistic, real-world view of patient health. Monitoring for prevention or exacerbation is becoming universal in healthcare. We see this in ECG via the Apple Watch, sensors in inpatient hospital beds, and continuous glucose monitoring for diabetes. Putting the power of wearables into the hands of consumers can make a meaningful difference.

Is big data old news?
My last observation was that “Big Data” is old news.  Now, we are talking about RGD (Ridiculously Gargantuan Data) as companies start to tout the benefits of 5G (potentially 1000 times 4G) so that we can collect every heartbeat, every oxygen saturation measurement, and every trip to the restroom 24/7 at 5000 samples per second.  Okay, maybe not trips to the bathroom, but everything else will add up to a lot of data.  My prediction: in 5 years we will be talking about how we make sense of all of this data. Enter: Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine-learning.

This blog was written by Greg Lange, Chief Business Development Officer for Simbex. A company’s inclusion does not imply endorsement by Simbex, LLC.

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