Every year the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which takes place in Las Vegas during January, showcases the newest and most innovative tech products from all over the globe. Home cinema systems, cars, giant speakers, personal safety devices, software, computers the list really could go on and on (and on and on). However, this year a huge part of the trade show will be dedicated to emerging trends and brand new products in the digital health and fitness space, which has got the team here at Connected Health very excited.
So what can we expect to see at CES next week that could well change the digital health landscape?
1. More personal devices that do everything for us
Over the past few months we’ve seen the launch of a range of small, sleek and most importantly portable products, which promise to act as our own personal health and fitness assistants. Although their features are significantly different from gadget to gadget, many are focused on monitoring activity levels, measuring heart rate, tracking sleep and much more.
The beauty of these products is they’re easy to use, can be carried around throughout the day and act as a one-stop-shop for health and fitness monitoring, making the general public much more likely to use them on a daily basis.
Although we’ve seen plenty of these devices recently, like the FitBit, the Jawbone UP bracelet and the Striiv, at CES we can expect to see a range of new gadgets that give us more advanced, accurate and accessible readings and recommendations that are valuable to regular people, not just fitness fanatics.
2. Gadgets to help us exercise efficiently and achieve more
If you’re not feeling motivated to work out you can download an app to get you moving, sign up to Nike+ to set fitness goals, or go treat yourself to lots of new running gear to make you more likely to actually get off the coach.
However, what happens when you’re out there, you’re dedicated and you want to get better and achieve more? There are so many apps, gadgets and services designed to get us moving that there now needs to be a focus over to products that can monitor every tiny detail, but then tell us how to improve and achieve even more in a way that makes sense.
These kinds of devices could also be more tailored to each individual too depending on their personal needs, so maybe a shift from a one size fits all approach to get us moving and more of a focus on tailoring our work outs and really honing our bodies so we’re the best we possibly can be could well be the future of fitness gadgets.
3. Understanding sleep for better physical and mental well-being
We all know that a good night’s sleep generally means we’re likely to perform better mentally and physically the next day. There are countless gadgets and apps to help us wake up in a calm and peaceful way and recently we’ve come across gadgets that monitor our sleep and brain activity to give us precise readings and data about what our minds and bodies got up to during the night.
At CES we’re expecting to see gadgets that present even more advanced ways to track our sleep. To ensure we’ll actually use them, it’s essential that these methods are as convenient as possible, strapping a big device to our heads may seem OK for a night or two but will start to get irritating by the end of the week, so it’ll be interesting to see how that problem is tackled in the future.
It’s also not just data and undecipherable readings that we need either, but recommendations that go much further. After all, stats telling us we didn’t sleep well don’t mean much, we want to monitor our sleep and then find out what we can do to improve it and our health in the long run. So far gadgets have been able to give us the hard facts, but we need new methods that turn them into actual actions and recommendations.
4. Smart phones to become more and more like our own personal health assistants
Although many people already use the personal devices we mentioned above (like the FitBit and the UP), the smart phone is still the champion when it comes to monitoring digital health because it’s always with us, it’s so easy to use and it doesn’t mean we have to part with anymore of our pennies.
There are now all kinds of apps to track everything, from our diet to our periods, our mental well-being to our physical activity. To make these apps even more valuable, we’ve seen a few devices being launched that team up with our smart phones to give us readings that a few years ago we wouldn’t have dreamed of, like the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor or the Medisana ThermoDock, but this is something we can expect to see more and more at CES and over the next few years. Smart phone technology can give regular users so much more than a calorie counting app or a run tracker, they can now be used to get precise and important data directly from our own bodies, giving us more freedom when it comes to controlling our own health and personal well-being.
5. Patient monitoring from afar to become even more advanced
In many ways this final point is linked with the last, if smart phones and devices become even more advanced and easy for normal people to use, this in turn will have huge implications for those living far away from medical help, or those unable to travel to get the attention that they need. This puts more power and freedom into the hands of remote communities or individuals living with health problems.
At CES we expect telehealth to be a key topic and think that smart phones will play even more of an important role. Companies have been seeking to develop even easier ways for people to not only carry out tests and gather results on their own, but also give them the technology to then send these results reliably and quickly to a medical health professional.
They’re just a few of the emerging trends we’ve noticed over the past few months that we expect will play a key role at CES this year, but keep checking Connected Health over the next few weeks for our write-up of the most exciting new digital health developments directly from the trade show floor.