#CES2017 & Beyond: Where Has The Consumer Gone?

What I Was Doing…

Well, #CES2017 is history! This past week over 175k people ascended on the Las Vegas Strip to see the coolest and newest technologies for 20gallery-1483544485-hair-coach-photo-1-credit-withings17. I have to say, in three days, I walked over 50k steps and saw some amazing technologies. I mean, who doesn’t love drones choreographed to the macarena or a personalized hair coach. Or, the amazingly new sleep number 360 bed. And of course, my new sleep machine by ResMed the S+. I have used the S+ for two nights, and my sleep score is not good at all. Time to decompress and start focusing on my sleep habits.

I had the honor to sit on a panel for the Digital Health summit and as well, moderate a panel during the TransformingEDU summit. As I moved between both ballrooms, I splus-androidheard innovators and industry leaders within healthcare share innovations around attacking cancer, conquering chronic conditions and even one company, Omron Healthcare has a “moonshot”  for zero heart attacks or strokes.

I then looked at connected health, artificial intelligence, and how messaging will be the backbone of healthcare connectivity. In education, I witnessed how virtual reality and augmented reality could change the education experience.

Now, these are incredible ideas – but I could not help but wonder if this exciting maker movement is a trend, a fad –  or is it here to stay? I had witnessed all of these amazingly cool things, but I kept asking myself one question: Where has the consumer gone? 

What I Learned…

Why was I asking myself that question? I wasn’t sure, but then at dinner that night, a colleague of mine asked the same question. Here is my learning:  We have amazing, life changing technology both in the wings and in the marketplace – however, if the consumer is not involved in creating it, testing it, and using it – it is nothing more than technologyThe value in technology is at its highest when it is inextricably linked with the consumer experience.

As I was on the plane home, I read a recent report put out by, Startup+Health. The report shows the amount of money being invested in the digital healthcare space and the areas of interest. Here are a couple of graphs:



As you can see, there is still a huge demand on patient / consumer experience. The healthcare industry continues to struggle to get it right – to put complete focus on the #consumer. Yet, we as consumers, demand more and more every day from the industry.

Further, the correlation of healthcare to the education industry is mind-blowing. The biggest question I ask is, when will we actually treat students like a consumer and not some second class citizen? Educators need to understand who is paying the bill. In April of 2016, there was an article written about the Ed Tech Cool Down, and it had reached an all time low from an investment place. I am anxious to see where the year ended.

What I Will Do…

This is simple! What I am going to do in 2017 is to keep saying, YES! 

Yes, to innovation! Yes, to the consumer! Yes, Yes, Yes! 

I will listen to the consumer! I will spend more time with consumers, patients, and members! I will take time to hear their story. Remember this, we are all humans. We all have a story to tell – whether it is in healthcare or education – we must involve the #consumer in everything we do.

From the beginning to the end of the process: We need everyone’s voice. I have said it numerous times in my blog. Know Me! Surprise Me! Make It Easy! Focus on this and we will all win!

Spend time this week with your customer, consumer, patient or member!


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