Despite working in tech related industries since 2008, I’ve never been to The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It is the largest trade show in the world, spanning multiple convention centers in Las Vegas with over 4,000 exhibiting companies and more than 2.6 million square feet worth of exhibit space. In a strange twist, working for Mobo, a company that emphasizes health and fitness over tech, gave me my first opportunity to be one of the over 180,000 attendees at this year’s CES.
Of course, technology is a now big part of health and fitness. People wear devices on their body to track different metrics such as heart rate, steps taken, blood sugar level, etc. In the cycling industry you have bike computers with built in GPS sensors to track location, speed, distance traveled and even give directions. Judging by what I saw at CES, this trend will not be slowing anytime soon. Companies are trying many different ways to integrate tech into workouts. The goal of encouraging more active lifestyles by making working out more fun seems to be a common theme. Another is gathering as much data as possible from all these smart devices to help athletes train more thoroughly and efficiently.
One thing that dawned on me as I walked from exhibit to exhibit was how unnecessary most things were. Professional athletes will welcome any advantage these new gadgets and technology can give them. However, for the rest of us, if technology is to be of real value they have to add to the experience rather than be a distraction. A ride along the beach should not be spoiled by technical issues. Same goes for a ride at the park or around the neighborhood. Thus, care needs to be taken when integrating new technology into products. That was the biggest thing that I took away from the show.