Swimming in a Sea of Gadgets and Confusion at Consumer Electronic Show

The closest thing I can compare to my arrival at CES was my recent experience taking the Virtual Dementia Tour!  I was immediately hit with huge crowds, confusion, noise, bright lights, varying grades of carpet and surfaces, etc.  I tried to orient myself with the maps and directory, but it was hopeless – I decided to “wander” to get the lay of the land.

Ironically, one of the first things to catch my eye was a display for CB Radios!  I had to double check and make sure I wasn’t in a historical display!  I never thought about it but when I was a young boy the CB was being used the way we use email and the internet today.

I wandered for nearly an hour and then I thankfully arrived at press conference organized by Living in Digital Times   This group has convened several “summits” that center around health, fitness, aging, education and children and relate to technology.  This event spotlighted about 50 companies at CES, giving each of them 2 minutes to pitch their offerings.  Normally I would have headed for the door at something this commercial, but given my wandering experience – this is just what I needed.

A few notable topics and companies include:
Qualcomm – the technology giant has a developed a “nickel sized device” that can deliver health care data anywhere.  This device is integrated into several of the other exhibitors products.

MPERS (Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems) – These are the next generation of the “I’ve fallen and cant get up devices” that provide access anywhere and via devices like phones, watches, or pedometers.  Two companies had offerings in this area including LifeComm and an application for the Jitterbug phone.  This is a space with lots of competitors, I know there are should be several more exhibiting here including AFrame Digital.

Easy to Use Computers My Gait and Telikin are offering easy to use alternatives to the traditional computer for seniors.  I agree that this is need here, but if they can create an easier to use computer – wouldn’t people of all ages want to use it?

Products for Hearing Loss Clear Sounds and Sonic Alert focus on technology in this space.  As I have written extensively, hearing loss is a huge issue that we need more technology and training.

Overall excellent overview to make me feel more comfortable in this massive trade show!  The only sad thing was hearing the language that some of the presenters were using when referring to their customers.  Several of the speakers would refer to “them” as though they will never be growing old themselves.  I know its not intentional, and these are people doing good work – a little attention to sensitivity and language can go a long way to effecting change in our culture.

Hopefully I can dig up some more information today!

1 Comment

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    Hi Steve, thanks for posting! I couldn’t agree more! The idea is that it is easier for anyone to have the complete computer experience in a non traditional way – think about how even the iPhone and iPad have changed our lives..my 2 and 4 year old learned how to use both in about 2 minutes and now are fluent iPad users!
    The same can be thought of for our aging or disabled population. And if the product is cool and helpful enough – anyone will want to use it, removing the stigma of a “senior” only device. We have a GrandCare System at my house to remind us when it’s time to take vitamins (yep – flinstone gummies) and it also automatically turns on a light in the hall if anyone gets up to go to the bathroom. I also am set up to revive a text if anyone goes into my house during the day (Which is highly unusual). It’s easy to see why all ages could benefit from a system like this. Perhaps we are the ones that need to be the early adopters and show the way!!! Laura Mitchell, GrandCare Systems

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