Spending on connected health monitoring devices in the U.S. will reach $845 million based on the forecast of the Consumer Technology Association, convening the annual 2021 CES this week in a virtual format.

CTA unveiled the 2021 key trends we’ll see presented this week through the online exhibition hall and in educational sessions on the CES.Tech platform.

Six major themes emerge at #CES2021: digital health, robotics and drones, 5G connectivity, vehicle technology, smart cities, and over all — digital transformation.

All of these have applications in health and health care, especially accelerated in need by the COVID-19 pandemic which has influenced every aspect of CES 2021 and the companies who convene at this huge annual conference.

The coronavirus has turbocharged global tech adoption across vertical markets and enabling platforms, McKinsey’s research found in the early phase of the pandemic:

  • E-Commerce deliveries increased 10 years in 8 weeks
  • Streaming video fast-grew, with Disney+ hitting 50 million subscribers in five months (of course, it didn’t hurt that the program launched with Hamilton!)
  • Remote learning pivoted 250 million students to move to online learning over 2 weeks, and
  • Increase in virtual telemedicine appointments increased ten times in 15 days.

Consumers digitally transformed as a fast response to mandates to #StayHome, #WorkFromHome, go to school from home, and quarantine to avoid exposure to the tricky virulent coronavirus. As a result, people repurposed their homes as “headquarters,” for all aspects of daily living — including health care.

Wearable technology purchases grew, as more people took grew their health citizen muscles paying more attention to health on all levels — physical, mental and emotional, and financial. Wearables were developed beyond the wrist (a trend I spotted at CES back in 2013, discussed here through my #CES2013 lens).

For the U.S., the CTA forecast saw a 73% increase in connected health device spending in 2020, and expects 34% growth in 2021. By 2023, connected health monitoring revenue will exceed $1 billion – akin to a blockbuster drug.

An enabling technology supporting the growth of the connected health data ecosystem is cloud computing. The COVID-19 health crisis “triggered a race to the cloud,” the CTA forecast observed, with 59% of companies expecting cloud usage to exceed prior plans based on research from Flexera’s State of the Cloud Report.

Robots, a key focus in the CTA forecast for CES 2021, are responding to the rescue as CTA calls out — from cleaning interior environments to delivery, inventorying retail, performing home tasks, and ensuring health checks and monitoring peoples’ safety and security at home.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, introduced Day 1 of CES 2021. The CTA forecast quotes him, saying that we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. No sector has seen such digital transformation than health care, which I’ll continue to cover here from virtual CES 2021 all this week here on Health Populi.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Last year live from CES in Las Vegas, I wrote up this summary of the major themes for #CES2020. Those top-line trends included wearables and the growing health data ecosystem, food-for-health trends in the kitchen-tech space, your mouth as a gateway for health (oral health tech), cars as a third space for health, pet-tech for furry loved ones’ wellness, eyes on Big Tech and privacy, and the growing home-as-health-hub phenomenon.

In 2021, these themes have grown in importance in the context of the coronavirus crisis around the world. Safety, hygiene, contact-less-ness, and our homes as places we make health for our selves and our loved ones.

And pets? They became a key focus for our mental health and wellness in the pandemic as Chewy pointed out during the 2020 holiday season with their campaign, ‘Twas the Year Our Pets Saved Us. This reminded us that while technology can help us get through the tough COVID-19 era, love is the killer app above all.

But tech was also part of Chewy’s pet-love strategy, because in the wake of the coronavirus when veterinarians were also challenged with keeping the virus at bay, Chewy launched a pet telehealth service, Connect with a Vet, to enable pet parents and vets to meet up on a virtual platform for triage visits avoiding face-to-face, hand-to-paw contact.

And in 2021 at CES in the era of COVID and beyond, telehealth is now, just, part of the continuum of health care.

To learn more about telemedicine, please join my panel session, Telemedicine Skyrockets to Mainstream, accessible on-demand on the CES 2021 conference platform until 15th February 2021.