CEWeek NYC (Part 1): health tech moves to the front

CEWeek NYC, Metropolitan Pavilion/Altman Building (@CEWeekNY)

Part 1

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) stages events in New York twice yearly–at the start of both summer and winter, the latter as a preview of International CES in January. CEWeek NYC is a bit of an overstatement–it’s Tuesday-Thursday. It was apparent on today’s main day (Wednesday) visit that beyond the lead dogs of ever-larger HDTVs, in-car audio/smartphone integrators and marvelous audio speakers small and large, something else was different. Health tech was right behind them in prominence, including related areas of robotics and 3D printing. (This builds on CEA’s own trumpeting of the 40 percent growth of the ‘digital health footprint’ at this year’s CES. Hat tip to Jane Sarasohn-Kahn.)

Presentations got the Gordon Ramsay treatment and were re-plated as bite-sized sizzling steak tips. Also different was the format. Instead of a long, dozy general press briefing several flights up at the huge top of the Met Pavilion at 9am, then rushing to the show floors before the crush of buyers, the floors opened to press only for a generous two hours. Then fast-moving keynotes and conference presentations of no more than one hour started at 11am in an intimate downstairs room. Alternatively, the centrally located demo stage between the show floors hosted 15 minute presentations. Other than occasionally having to wait in a narrow hall as the downstairs room emptied between presentations, both were wise moves. Very workable and very low on the Tedium Scale. Three of the eight Wednesday presentations were robotics or health tech-related, not including the closing FashionWare wearable tech show. The proportion is the same on Thursday.

Notable on the show floor:

click to enlargeThe latest fitness band/watch is not a brick, mercifully. Withings formally debuts tomorrow the Activité watch (left) which looks like a fine Swiss analog chronometer, not a slab on the wrist. It’s a man’s watch size on a woman, a bit slimmer and simpler than a Breitling, and connects to your smartphone using the Withings HealthMate app to track activity, swimming and sleep monitoring. You also get time (analog, yes!) and alarm clock, all powered by a standard watch battery so none of the recharging shuffle. Available in the fall at $390, but if you are a dedicated QS-er with style…. Also VentureBeat.

click to enlargeStopping by the Qardio booth since this Editor’s first visit at CEWeek 2013, CEO Marco Peluso pointed out that their stylish blood pressure monitor, QardioArm, recently gained FDA 510(k) clearance, in addition to earlier CE approvals, and will be on US sale very shortly via their website for $99 and later in select stores. Even more stylish are the seven colors the unit comes in (left), including Lightning Red, Racing Yellow (for the heart?) and trendy (just) Gold.

Nonnatech integrates telecare and telehealth. This Editor viewed an early presentation by CEO Gary German at Health 2.0 NYC last year. This system features an exceptionally wide monitoring capability integrating as needed room motion sensors, bed/chair/bath/water sensors, cameras, and a ‘Nonna button’ (which looks like a Staples ‘easy’ button) that alerts for emergency. ADL data then flows to a platform with trending and custom alerts for changes in behavior=changes in health or emergency. The system claims that the sensors are the only ones of their kind which communicate with other devices in a ‘smart environment’. Mr German is marketing to both individual homes and to LTC communities, which poses the usual question: is this too wide a market for a small company? DTC pricing is also steep at $299 and up for additional features, plus a top rate of $89/month monitoring.

….to be continued in Part 2

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