I recently attended the 2017 CES (consumer electronics show) and what can I say, it is an experience unlike any other. The sheer number of people that participate in the event is staggering, but not surprising when you start to look at the quality of innovation they are coming to see or show off.
I’ve been asked by a few colleagues and trusted friends to share my thoughts on this year’s conference, which I’ve now summed up into these four points below. This is far from everything that I took away from my time there, but I hope you enjoy this quick recap of what was an incredible year at CES. I’ve focused on a few topics that are more relevant to Heart Zones, Inc as well as the Heart Zones System.
Wearables and sensors were everywhere.
The trend continues to grow and flow. One of the hot product categories at this year’s event was “activity trackers”. There must have been no less than 40 booths in the fitness tech expo area featuring their brand’s device. For quick clarification, activity trackers use an accelerometer to measure movement – that’s it. They also allege to measure the quality of your sleep based on that movement data. Additionally they count your steps, but that’s about it apart from your normal time of day display and that they connect to your smart phone. Activity trackers are now a commodity, just as measuring heart rate from the wrist or forearm is now becoming normal. The short of the long is that the world of wearables is still growing and expanding. If you are looking for tips on how to get the most out of these new devices check out this article by Heart Zones team member Alex Johnson on the keys to data driven fitness.
Virtual reality devices are growing.
Virtual reality uses a headset type device that you use to see the screen and the software takes you to seeing whatever you choose – from inside your virtual DNA to the virtual moon – it is just incredible. And, I expect that with prices falling as low as $300 for the device that not now, but someday soon, it will be like wearables and be a common commodity. Similarly I believe that accessories like your home assistant – Amazon Echo or the Google Home will eventually be in 90% of the homes in the USA. If you don’t have one of these – I urge you to get a home assistant now.
Step Trackers, Pedometers and the Boltt Global Launch
You may think that the foot pod is “common” but it isn’t. Many of the major manufacturers have dropped the product including Garmin, Adidas, and Nike because they believe that the wrist “foot pod” called an activity tracker replaces it. In my opinion activity trackers shouldn’t replace foot pods. Instead it is our goal is to replace the stale and tired “pedometer” and to get a device such as the Heart Zones Strider that is easy to put on, accurate, and provides robust data. The Heart Zones Strider is a product powered by Boltt, who made a big splash at CES.
Boltt, a start-up company, invested heavily to be at CES. Sent about 6 of their team from India, had a beautiful booth, and hosted a “press conference”. During the press conference I spoke about applications for their product in America as well as showing Mike Mustar’s video of kids loving the Big Board and what we are doing with the Boltt step tracker sensor that at Heart Zones we call the Strider.
Valencell, Chris Esbach, Exercise Scientist
This is the company that makes the chip inside the Heart Zones Blink 3.0. Many companies are licensing their technology to put insider their devices. As an example, Suunto heart rate monitors demoed their optical sensor licensed from Valencell. During CES, my meeting with their exercise scientist, Chris Esbach, further helped to guide us about HRV (heart rate variability) and how to avoid it. He is also helping us to look at body temperature which can be (according to Chris) measured using blood flow and heart rate combined. He also demoed the first ever non-cuff based way to measure resting (not active) blood pressure. Needless to say, he is brilliant and we couldn’t be happier with the team that is helping Heart Zones put out the most accurate and advanced wearable tech in the industry.
There was so much more going on at CES 2017 than I could ever share in this format. If you attended or have thoughts about topics I’ve shared here, please let us know in the comments below. My biggest takeaway is that the world of technology is growing and the opportunities are more exciting than ever. I can’t wait to see where we go next and I look forward to continuing Heart Zones’ mission to help individuals and groups take advantage of these technologies to improve their health and fitness.