CES 2016: Home and Health

| January 6, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterLAS VEGAS — Many of 20,000+ new tech products on display here relate to two key radio listening venues. Yesterday’s column described a car less-futuristic than you might think, and a dashboard many broadcasters find intimidating.  ICYMI, click here.

Keys are now obsolete.

Among (literally) acres of smart-home products:

  • The Schlage Sense Smart deadbolt lets you tell Siri to unlock your door.
  • Fenotek’s “Hi” is a video doorbell – HD of course – with a motion sensor and alarm.  So you can greet and admit visitors from anywhere in the world, on your smartphone.  It’s one of a bunch of “virtual butlers” on display here. Some let you sign-for-deliveries remotely.
  • Products like these deepen users’ bond with smartphones, where smart broadcasters are also publishing.

Once inside the house, you’ve entered “The Internet of Things,” meaning devices-talking-to-each-other.  The number of things-connected-to-the-internet exceeded the-number-of-people-on-the-planet back in 2008; and by 2024, more than 50% of Internet traffic to homes will be from appliances and devices.

Meantime, that same smartphone already lets you remotely control appliances, climate control and lighting….although THAT is already old-school.  A big buzzword here is “home automation.”  At the pace we’re presently replacing home appliances, it is forecast that in eight years, your home may be managing as many as 500 smart connected devices.  If it rained last night, your sprinkler won’t go on at the usual time.  And by sensing weather, smart-home systems will will auto-adjust heating and cooling more efficiently than you can, and save energy.

Local, Local, Local.

There’s consensus among broadcasters canny-enough to attend CES (and I congratulate each of the too-few I meet here): New-tech in-car and in-home systems deliver information and music, staples that – as commodities – are now lesser radio franchises.

But AM/FM radio will remain vital if it’s delivering something unavailable elsewhere, local information, and music hosts whose personalities and (grab the arm rest, consultant buzzword) “curation” make the show more than a jukebox.

We’re all getting older.

BEING-home is a big deal with the average cost of a nursing home private room now over $90,000 a year. And as Baby Boomers with elderly parents know, Mom and Dad would rather be home. For as little as $40 a month, monitoring systems like HeyMomDad.com let ’em! Many seniors are wary of pushing the I’m-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up button if it simply calls 911.  So in these new systems, the button connects with family, who are OK’d to look-in via webcams.

“We have a chronic shortage of primary healthcare providers, doctors and nurses” we’re told in the session “Connected Health: Doctors Without Wires.”  As-is, docs spend lots of time seeing patients who don’t require medical care. Often these are what’s called “rejection visits,” as in “call me if it doesn’t get better.” And scheduled check-ups only offer a snapshot of how-you-are that particular day.  But sensors in wearable technology collecting data on an ongoing basis can alert you, and your doc, to warning signs of more serious problems long before your next annual physical. As a result, doctors will see patients less –yet know more about them — because, unlike patients, data doesn’t fib.

Aging Trekkies can now tote Qualcomm’s “Tricorder,” which – like its namesake Star Trek walkie-talkie — is handheld, and can diagnose more than a dozen health conditions (from anemia and allergies to tuberculosis and strep throat) and monitor vital signs including temperature, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Live long and prosper.

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Holland Cooke is a media consultant at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet; and he covers conventions for TALKERS and RadioInfo. Follow his real-time Tweets from CES @HollandCooke, and hear his radio reports at www.HollandCooke.com

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Category: Analysis