There seem to be more digital health meetings around the globe that I can count and certainly attend. But I’m going to suggest that there is one that is very important and stands out from this illustrious group–CES. Now, I’m not trying to lessen the significant of other meetings, large and small. These also play a critical role in the advancement of digital health, but CES offers a constellation of people and purpose that set it apart. So, let’s take a closer look at what CES offers digital health and why is may becoming the epicenter of thought and innovation.
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A Las Vegas stage like no other (scale). The size of CES is simply amazing. One hundred fifty thousand people gathered in Las Vegas is a bold accomplishment. It’s not easy and the crowds are a real issue. But the throngs of people are part of the event itself and offer a type of collective energy and enthusium that drives the event. In contrast, SXSW provides a similar “human density” but provides less of the orchestration and logistics that are important to success. And in the final analysis for CES, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas! The press, bloggers, tweeters and participants make the stories–large and small– a global event.
The power of innovation (technology). If there’s one central component to digital health, it’s technology. There is no better caldron of technology and innovation that captures the physical and emotional energy like CES. From Audi, BMW and Mercedes to Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony, the voices of the future seems to sing in a competitive yet harmonious.
An eclectic group of innovators (range). I’m included this photo to make a point. And that’s the unique association, engagement, banter and social engagemrnt of like-minded thinkers that go beyond the bounds to digital health. While Daniel Kraft is a frequent and essential voice in digital health, the added value of people like Robert Scoble and many others help make the even a grand opportunity to cross-pollinate.
The magic of CES (vibe). CES is cool. There’s no getting around it. Black tee-shirt cool to Armani style is common and the fashions event make a mosiac that is clear and fun. But beyond the fashion of the day is the magic of thinking that defines the event. Beyond the contention floor, there are countless meetings in resturants, hotel rooms and hallways that spark new ideas and reinforce others.
A one track technological mind (focus). As varied and complex as CES is, it’s also amazingly focused. The common thread of technology, innovation and “cool” build connections between unlikely partners. And there is the simple magic of digital health–connecting innovators, clinicians, patients and many others to a world of imagination and dreams.
So, is CES becoming “the go-to meeting” for digital health? It certainly seems that ideas like wareables and the quantified self are resonant ideas at this year’s event. But perhaps it’s only a flash in the pan? My instincts and a reading of the crowd tells me no. And while cars and TV’s might catch your eye, the innovations of digital health that are presented, conceptualized or even invented at CES will do much more than that 109 inch HDTV–they might just save your life.
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