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Putting People In The Tech Picture At CES 2017

Between fake news, hacked shopping sites, and the fragility of the Internet of Things, we’re starting to hear from consumers who are a bit skittish about the connected lifestyle. Nestled among the fabulous tech at CES’s Tech West, Living in Digital Times’ conferences, events and marketplaces are designed to provide a consumer-directed experience highlighting how this year’s new products fit in the the context of a lifestyle.

Digital Health, Fitness Tech, Fashion and Wearables, Kids, Family and Education, Digital Money: No matter what the subject is, the top trends at CES in consumer adoption stay pretty consistent.

Personalization: The perfect example is in the fitness world. Activity trackers do so much more than count steps. Depending on the brand, they’ll look at your unique body parameters: heart rate, stride, cadence, blood oxygen levels, and more. Jabra Sport Pulse, showcasing in the Valencell booth, are sports headphones that measure many biometrics. Want to know your heart rate? Just put on your headphones. In the BabyTech marketplace, Project Nursery is showing a new wearable that allows new parents to make a quick personalized entries about feedings and diaper changes. In the world of education, companies like Kaplan and Cerego are personalizing learning for individual needs.

Visualization: In all things tech, we’ve become much less likely to read the F**@! Manual. Many companies like Lego use augmented reality so its customers can snap a photo and see what’s in the box. Lose It, a weight loss app, snaps a photo of your food and shows you how many calories you’re consuming. YouCam, scans your face and lets you try life out with different hairstyles and makeup.

Vocalization: Whether you’re talking to Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Google you can control a variety of things from your banking to your music to your calendar. Voice input is big! Couple voice with AI learning, and you’ve got a product that knows you better than you know yourself. Even toys like Cogni, a talking dinosaur, uses IBM Watson to help conduct a dialog with kids.

Wearables, Hearables, Feelables: From desktop to laptop to mobile phone, form factors continue to shrink. Companies like Xenoma and Lumenus, both in the Wearables Technology Marketplace, make outdoor sports clothing with tech built right in. Designers like Pauline Van Dongen incorporate body sensors into their fashions.

Big Data and Machine Learning: Now that every IoT product and wearable is aggregating data about our collective well-being, we can start creating smarter diagnoses, smarter cities and forecasts for everything from traffic jams to epidemics. Medication manager AICure uses artificial intelligence to confirm that you’ve taken your meds by snapping a photo of your mouth and recording the pills before you swallow.

VR and AR Flourish: VR is being used everywhere, especially in health. Drug free alternatives are managing stress and pain with VR glasses. Osso VR trains real-world surgeons with VR. BrainPower uses neuro-assisted devices to tackle autism.

As products like these are more and more accessible in the real world, the benefits of the connected lifestyle for real people becomes evident. To find out where you can see all these solutions visit

Robin is an author, editor, magazine publisher, blogger, and TV and radio personality who has spent the past 30 years exploring what it means to be “living in digital times.” She also serves on the board of the CTA Foundation.