Informatics Update: A Visit to the Consumer Electronics Show

Informatics Update:  A Visit to the Consumer Electronics Show

By Drew Cheng, MD

As a member of the UCLA Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine (DAPM) Division of Bioinformatics & Analytics and one of the biggest technophile gadget-freak nerds in this department, I’ve had the privilege of representing UCLA Health as a Consumer Electronics Show (CES) industry attendee since 2017.

The 2024 CES was held this year from January 9-12, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada. For those unfamiliar with this event, CES—organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a standard and trade organization representing 1376 consumer technology companies in the United States—is an annual trade show that showcases virtually every aspect of the technology industry at one single event. Normally held for four days every January, CES transforms the entire city of Las Vegas into the world’s largest trade show/industry event, covering a huge variety of technology product categories, including but not limited to:

  • Entertainment and content creation
  • Broadcasting and mass media
  • Audio/video
  • Semiconductors
  • Gaming
  • Marketing
  • Digital Health
  • Fitness and Wearables
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality
  • Cryptocurrency and blockchain
  • Privacy and cybersecurity
  • Lifestyle and accessories
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Robotics
  • Artificial intelligence and quantum computing
  • Sports technology
  • Automotive technology

This year, CES showcased more than 4300 companies and exhibitors and 1400 startups from more than 150 countries. This was all housed in over 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space in multiple venues around the city, including the Las Vegas Convention Center, Venetian Expo, and Aria Convention Center. 

Additionally, CES features a schedule packed with keynote speeches from industry leaders, new product announcements, and industry-specific conference/lecture tracks spanning all 4 days of the event.   

Still crawling out of the COVID shutdown hole, this year’s show attendance—135,000 people—was lower by CES standards, as pre-2021 attendance was closer to 200,000 with more than 5500 exhibitors. Regardless, it was still one huge trade show, where the exhibit floor was shared by small one-person startups to large multinational corporations such as Intel, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, LG, TCL, Hisense, Canon, Nikon, Abbott, Moderna, Withings, Omron, Dassault, Stellantis, Honda, and everything in between.

Unlike the exhibitors at the annual meetings and medical conventions that we are normally used to attending, the products and services being showcased at CES are almost exclusively focused on the end-user. In the digital health and fitness space, there is an emphasis on products that enhance a consumer’s ability to self-monitor, automate, and maintain their health outside of the hospital and doctor’s office, as well as to communicate with their healthcare provider. Conversely, products are in development that can help improve a practitioner’s workflow and subsequently improve the physician-patient relationship. New technologies in robotics, remote monitoring, network infrastructure, and communication are also being developed to help increase the healthcare provider’s reach to serve remote and underserved populations around the world.

A highlight of every CES is the Innovation Awards Showcase, where the most innovative products in development and that are ready to market from every industry are displayed. These are the products that we may see in our workplaces and practices in the near future.

My favorite place to visit every year at CES is Eureka Street, an exhibit hall dedicated to connecting small startups, academic institutions, and researchers with investors, collaborators, and advisors to help fund, develop, and test new cutting-edge technologies.

With respect to the digital health and fitness space, the current hot topics are augmented reality technology and the integration of AI and machine learning technologies into everything—from patient education, to medical training, real-time clinical decision support, enhanced data visualization, and AI-assisted data interpretation.

If you have an interest in learning how technology can improve your medical practice, or simply have an idea for a new technology product or device but don’t know where to start, please consider attending CES. For more information about this event or how to register, drop by the DAPM Bioinformatics office, send us an email, or stop us in the hallway for a brief chat. It is my hope that we continue to grow our contingent of UCLA DAPM representatives at this incredible event.