Each year I’ve been impressed by the growth of Digital Health at CES. However, this year has blown me away far more than any year before. In previous years, the health presence was so small that it was almost indistinguishable. In fact, it was so small that it was really easy for it to double and triple in size. Now that it’s gotten much bigger, it’s still doubling in size and the impact is even greater.
The space for Digital Health takes up a very large portion of the Sands Convention Center (Venetian Hotel) this year and that’s saying something for how large it’s really become. Plus, many of the booths were massive in scale. That’s not something we’d really seen at previous CES conferences in the Digital Health space.
Here’s one example of the massive iFit booth:
Yes, there’s basically a full stage for their booth with half a dozen people dancing and working out at their booth. Plus, after the dance performance, they are paying other models (I guess that’s what you’d call them) to work out on the equipment as well. It was quite the spectacle and the picture barely does it justice. (UPDATE: You can also check out this video of the Digital Health space at CES I did.)
In my initial CES Observations post on EMR and HIPAA, I commented on the number of new wearables, the beginning of ambient sensors with wearables, and the variety of new “jewelry” like wearables. Yes, there was a Swarovski jewelry booth right next to the Misfit booth.
On the other side of the equation were booth like the HP Matters booth:
They had three images which talk about Healthcare in a Box (telemedicine), Data Analytics is Not Just a Buzzword, and Medical 3D Printing Comes of Age. I’m not sure how many people would have thought HP for any of these three areas.
I also found it really great that CES put the Health & Wellness, Digital Health and Fitness, Robotics, and 3D printing areas all right next to each other. No doubt there are a bunch of interesting robotic and 3D printing applications for healthcare.
While I’ve started to see a maturing of the devices and sensors at CES, I’m still waiting for a breakthrough company that does something powerful with all of this new found data. There are still a few edge cases where a Fitbit will help you lose weight by just encouraging you to reach a 10k step goal. Or the calorie counting app which makes you more aware of the food you’re eating. Those have their place in the current ecosystem, but that’s not really leveraging the data into a seamless change for people’s lives. In many ways, we needed all these sensors to mature to the point that we can innovate on top of all that data. Hopefully we’ll see more of it next year.
I did see one partial example of that this year. Fitbug has put together these Kiqplan programs. They’re essentially 12 week programs that try and address real problems that people are trying to solve: Slim + Trim, Beer Belly Blaster, Healthy Baby Bump, and Goodbye Baby Bump. In many ways this is just packaging, but I believe we need this type of packaging in order to attract people to using it. No doubt this is a simple first evolution, but I’d like to see where it goes.
No doubt wearables that relate to health and fitness have exploded at CES. However, I think we’re still just at the very beginning of seeing the amazing results from these wearable devices. The foundation is laid. Now we need to put up some walls and make it look nice.