Jan 07, 2022

Health sensors galore

Health sensors galore Featuring The No Normal Show of Revive

Heart sensors. Sleep sensors. Stool sensors. Neural sensors. CES 2022 had it all. Which health technologies made a splash, and what are the lasting implications?


CES took place during the recording of this episode. The No Normal team reviewed the health trends and technologies featured at the event. 

A health perspective on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 

  • Health had a more prominent presence at this year’s CES than in previous years. For the first time, a healthcare executive took the main stage.
  • Abbot CEO Robert Ford delivered a keynote presentation on human-powered health, talking about topics such as at-home testing, biome-based medical nutrition, and wearable sensors. 
  • This spotlight on health at a consumer goods conference is interesting because it demonstrates the blurring of lines between healthcare, retail, and the consumer world.
  • Whereas medical devices used to be associated with healthcare alone, brands commonly feature these technologies at major consumer electronics events. 

Health technologies that made a splash at CES

  • Senglad Smart Health Monitoring Light: The WiFi- and Bluetooth-connected Lightbulbs track consumers’ heart rate and sleeping patterns throughout the household. This technology is an alternative to on-body sensors.
  • Withings Body Scan Smart Scale: Withings’ scale goes beyond standard measurements, offering users insights into body composition per body part. It also makes ECG measurements for atrial fibrillation, vascular health, changes in nerve activity — all of which users can send to doctors directly from the scale.
  • Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed: Sleep number debuted changes to its 360 Smart Bed. The bed, which already detects movement and makes adjustments automatically, could detect illnesses and disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, or cardiac events in the future.
  • Toto Wellness Toilet: Toilet retailers have presented at CES for the past few years. This year, Toto launched its Wellness Toilet, which scans the user and “key outputs” to determine the individual’s level of wellness. 
  • Mind-controlled earbuds: These earbuds use a neural interface to control music and answer calls by detecting users’ neural or facial movement activity.
  • With all of these advancements, the health industry still has a long way to go. In fact, 70% of U.S. hospitals still rely on fax machines to communicate patient records.

Personalization meets privacy

  • Consumer preference for personalization has been a hot topic for a while, but what’s interesting now is how the trend increasingly clashes with consumer privacy concerns. 
  • According to Forrester, 72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages tailored to their interest, but 86% are concerned about data privacy. How do we meet both needs when they work against each other?
  • In this new world of consumer health sensors and a growing amount of consumer health data, privacy concerns will likely become an even larger topic of discussion.
  • This weight on privacy is also evidenced by the whopping 96% of users who deny applications access to cross-tracking on Apple devices.
  • Enforcers are also cracking down on data privacy. In fact, France recently fined Google and Facebook millions of dollars for failure to obtain proper consent for data tracking.
  • Which organizations do consumers trust the most with their data? Around 50% of respondents identified Amazon as the most trusted data steward, above Apple, Google, and even banks.
  • We explore the personalization of healthcare — what we call the Copernican Consumer — and its relation to privacy preferences in our upcoming book, Joe Public 2030

Splintered societies

  • Our book, Joe Public 2030, also predicts The Rise of Health Sects, splintering societies based on political affiliation related to health. 
  • This phenomenon is commonly referred to as political tribalism. However, tribalism may not be the correct term as the language connotes ancestry, race, or culture. 
  • In-group and out-group dynamics dramatically shape individual value systems and political views. When individuals belong to a group, they will look to those they trust — their group — for signals on how to think.
  • The way someone thinks or acts on a health issue is highly correlated with their political affiliation. We’ve seen that with masking and vaccination, and other health-related issues. 
  • In 2022 this trend will continue, which will have implications for brand strategy, creative, and business in general. 
  • Historically brands have focused on speaking to “universal truths.” In this new age of splintered societies, we can no longer group our audiences as we have in the past, just based on age or demographics. We need to go beyond traditional consumer segmentation and lean into the power of group influence.
  • As marketers, we need to reevaluate how we partner with trusted entities across different groups.