CES 2017

January 4-8, 2017; Las Vegas; Preview


Conference Website

Lifestyle Technology Schedule (Wednesday)

Fitness Tech Summit Schedule (Thursday)

Digital Health Summit Schedule (Friday and Saturday)

As usual, our team will kick off our 2017 conference schedule with a trip over to Las Vegas for CES, where we’ll learn about the latest in digital health (data, connected devices, sensors, software), precision medicine, and musings on the broader healthcare environment. This year’s conference is packed with plenty of relevant digital health sessions, though the presence from diabetes leaders overall looks smaller than in previous years.

On a very positive note, Omada CEO Mr. Sean Duffy will participate in a session about how business, policy, and investors are supporting digital medicine. Notably, we’ll also hear from Verily Life Sciences’ Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jessica Mega (a fitting last name for a powerhouse), new digital weight management player Healthimation (animation studio background), and a large cast of other stakeholders in a panel on “Tackling Greatest Healthcare Challenges of Our Time.” This includes cancer and addiction, but 45 minutes (the longest portion of the session) will be dedicated to the “Terrible Trio” – obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. We know Verily is very active in the diabetes arena, with Dr. Howard Zisser as Clinical Lead, but the company has been very stealth on its partnered projects with Dexcom (next-gen CGM, first launch in 2018), Sanofi (Onduo), and Novartis (glucose-sensing contact lens). We’ll be listening carefully from other panelists with connections to diabetes, including UnitedHealth Group’s Dr. Deneen Vojta and Philips CMO Dr. Jan Kimpen.

Two Lifestyle Technology sessions really stand out to us: In one, we’ll have our eye on Proteus and Qualcomm – Proteus has an embedded pill sensor to track adherence (they presented encouraging data at the American College of Cardiology meeting last April) and Qualcomm is developing next-gen professional CGM for type 2s with Medtronic. In the second, a group including Fossil Group CMO Dr. Matthew Diamond, Verily’s Dr. Michael McConnell, and Dr. Kimpen will talk consumer health data and how doctors should use it.

Wearables and precision medicine will occupy much of the fitness and digital health summit time, as in previous years. In wearables, Fitbit CEO Mr. James Park will participate in a “Fireside Chat,” while Fitbit Group Health VP and GM Ms. Amy McDonough will talk about coaching and analytics in a later session. Fitbit recently partnered with Medtronic on professional CGM, and we’ve been wondering how else it might play in diabetes.

We’ll be excited to hear Neurometrix CEO Dr. Shai Gozani participate in a panel on the meteoric rise of personalized healthcare. The company will also unveil upgrades to Quell, its wearable pain relief device, including more personalization, app calibration, and better battery life. (Read diaTribe’s test drive on this device that helps people with diabetes substantially.)

To be sure, it’s a tough comparison against CES two years ago, where Dexcom showcased the G5 app on an iPhone and CGM data on an Apple Watch for the first time, and CES last year, where IBM and Medtronic showed the first progress on their mobile app (now known as Sugar.IQ, though the first version doesn’t include the three-hour-in-advance hypoglycemia prediction feature showed at last year’s conference). It looks right now like Dexcom and Medtronic will be absent from this year’s proceedings, though we’ll have be listening in case we missed something.

In the exhibit hall, we’ll be stopping by Neurometrix, iHealth, Vigihealth (“diabetes management A.I.”), Fitbit, Fossil Group (Mr. Sonny Vu is the head of the connected devices division, whom many know from diabetes), BioMindR (biometric sensing for athletes, including glucose), UpWell by Alliance Health (disease management platform), United Healthcare, along with 81 other health and wellness exhibitors and 88 other fitness and technology exhibitors. Medtronic and Dexcom are not exhibiting in either hall. We will also stop by the Innovation Awards Showcase, where we’ll see K’Track G (a wrist-wearable that utilizes 0.5-mm-long microneedles to sense glucose in the blood) and Diabnext’s Clipsulin (a connected insulin pen attachment with dose capture). We’re not familiar with either of these products, but will share our impressions in the coming days.

Below, we’ve provided an overview of the most notable sessions at CES 2017. The preview is organized by day, with the time and hyperlinked conference track appearing in parentheses.

We’d love to see you in Las Vegas if you’ll be there – let us know if you’ll be present!

Wednesday, January 4

  • (10:15-11:15 AM; Lifestyle Technology) Prescription for Profits: The Value of Connected Health. A panel including Qualcomm Life VP and CMO Dr. James Mault,  Proteus CEO Mr. Andrew Thompson (Proteus has an ingestible sensor and patch that tracks treatment adherence), and Philips Connected Care and Health Informatics CEO Mr. Jeroen Tas will discuss the business side of connected health products: What avenues of revenue and growth do they open? We hope Dr. Mault will touch on Qualcomm’s partnership with Medtronic to develop a next-gen type 2 CGM. Philips previously announced a digital diabetes platform but we have not heard updates since.
  • (10:30 AM) C Space Keynote Panel. Top marketing executives, including J&J’s CMO Ms. Alison Lewis, will participate in a panel discussion.
  • (11:30 AM-12:30 PM; Lifestyle Technology) Consumer Health Data Goes to the Doctor. How does data from a fitness tracker get to providers? How does a doctor use it once it gets there? Fossil Group CMO Dr. Matthew Diamond will be joined by a cast including Verily Cardiovascular Health Innovations Head Dr. Michael McConnell, and Philips CMO Dr. Jan Kimpen on this very relevant panel for connected diabetes devices. Providers are already stretched so thin as is – what can we expect from them in a world where patients are wirelessly transmitting hordes of activity, diet, sleep, and biometric data?
  • (1:00PM-2:00 PM; Lifestyle Technology) Tracking the Next Steps in Wearable Fitness. The very insightful Fossil Group Connected Devices President and CTO Dr. Sonny Vu and Adidas “Innovation Explorer” (now that sounds like a fun job) Mr. Jon Werner comprise half of this panel, which will focus on the use of wearables beyond step tracking. How is all of this data being used? What will drive the future growth of wearables? We’d also love to know if the data for step tracking is being used in the traditional medical system, and how it could be used.
  • (3:30PM-4:30 PM; Lifestyle Technology) Biotech Beyond the Buzz. What factors are driving growth in biotech? How will advances influence businesses, industries, and people? We are particularly interested in hearing from Validic CEO Mr. Drew Schiller, who demoed a cool new mobile app at CES 2016 (VitalSnap) to record data from non-connected devices via a smartphone camera. Notably, the Obama administration chose Validic to participate in the $200 million Precision Medicine Initiative; in February, the company committed to creating a feature in its platform to make it easy for patients to share their data with the government initiative for research.

Thursday, January 5

  • (1:00-1:45 PM) Fireside Chat with Fitbit: From Inspiration to IPO. Venture capitalist Mr. Brad Feld (Managing Director, Foundry Group, Boulder, CO) will sit down with Fitbit CEO Mr. James Park to talk about the evolution of Fitbit, and the challenges encountered along the way. This will be fantastic – Mr. Feld is one of the smartest investors we know! Mr. Park will surely have a lot of advice for startups on how to succeed and eventually go public, but more importantly, we’re hoping he’ll discuss Fitbit’s plans to move into traditional healthcare. Just a few weeks ago, Medtronic and Fitbit announced a partnership to integrate Fitbit activity data into the iPro2 professional CGM (blinded, retrospective). The iPro2 myLog app launched on Apple iOS and Android, allowing patients to manually log fingersticks, food, and exercise (plus auto-sync with a patient's own Fitbit tracker) over the six-day blinded iPro2 CGM wear.
  • (2:15-3:15 PM; Fitness Tech Summit) Wearables on the Rise. This session features representatives from innovative wearable companies: Spire (a “mindfulness and activity tracker” that uses breath rate and step data to provide state of mind insights), Ming Young Biomedical Corp. (integrates ECG, breath, body temperature, gait, and posture sensors into the cloth in clothing), OrCam (a smart camera that clips onto glasses or behind the ears identifies objects and people, reads out loud from any printed text), and Firstbeat (heartbeat analytics – insights into stress, exercise, and sleep). How much of our lives and decisions will be tracked, and what will be done with this data? Will we all soon be wearing clothes that track our movement? How far will this all go? This is going to be fascinating …
  • (3:15-4:30 PM; Fitness Tech Summit) Beyond the Step Tracker. What else does the tech world have in store in terms of coaching, analytics, and wearables? Included on the panel are Fitbit Group Health VP and GM Ms. Amy McDonough and United Healthcare Digital VP Mr. Craig Hankins. Fitbit announced today that it will now integrate with UnitedHealthcare’s Motion Program, allowing participants to earn up to $1,500 in annual rewards for hitting three movement goals per day. This Program was a major move when it was first announced in March 2016 – a payer clearly voting with its wallet on digital health – and we’re glad to see Fitbit jumping on board. This panel will most certainly discuss this partnership and hopefully share more of the payers’ views on how the Motion Program has been going. Read more on UnitedHealthcare’s page here.

Friday, January 6

  • (9:00-10:00 AM) Qualcomm Keynote Address. Qualcomm CEO Mr. Steve Mollenkopf will deliver a CES Keynote on Friday morning. Mr. Mollenkopf has been CEO for almost three years, and has pushed the company into new sectors such as wearables and healthcare (see the partnership with Medtronic to establish a next-gen type 2 CGM). He is a very smart man, with a solid background in engineering, and we greatly look forward to his talk.
  • (9:00-11:15 AM; Digital Health Summit) Tackling Greatest Healthcare Challenges of Our Time. This is one of the sessions that our team is most looking forward to at CES: Verily CMO Dr. Jessica Mega, UnitedHealth Group’s Dr. Deneen Vojta, the Healthimation team (a cool new healthcare animation studio offering a virtual version of Joslin’s WhyWAIT weight management program), and 12 other panelists who will discuss opportunities for digital health in the context of today’s biggest health threats. Early-stage startup Healthimation will present a “first look” at its program, currently in beta testing, in a 10-minute slot – we’re excited to hear what the team has to say, as their unique approach to patient engagement leverages Joslin clinician Dr. Osama Hamdy and two former Warner Brothers executives, among others. A sub-session entitled “Tech Combats the Terrible Trio: Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease” will be chock full of insights into how people from different sectors of healthcare are viewing digital health. We recently heard Dr. Mega, formerly a prominent Harvard cardiologist, speak at AHA 2016 about Silicon Valley’s perspective on precision medicine. She advocated for three key catalysts for the convergence of technology and healthcare toward the vision of precision medicine: (i) Innovation in how health information is collected; (ii) Improved organization of massive amounts of health data; and (iii) Activation of health information to engage patients and providers. She even went so far as to ask: “Can we make healthcare delightful?” We agree – “Delightful” and “Healthcare” rarely share the same sentence.
  • (11:30 AM-12:30 PM; Digital Health Summit) Waking Up to the Sleep Tech Movement. Our friend, noted speaker and author e-Patient Dave deBrokart (“e-Patient Dave”), sits on a panel also including Dr. Mehmet Oz (of The Dr. Oz Show fame) to talk about tech solutions for sleep. There is no question that sleep interacts with attention, blood sugar, obesity, depression, and quality of life – so how can sleep be better tracked at home, and more importantly, how can sleep quality be improved? We’ve noticed a lot more attention to sleep at recent digital health conferences and wonder whether it will gain prominence like step tracking.
  • (1:o0-2:15 PM; Digital Health Summit) Laser-Focused Medicine: Precise, Hyper-Intelligent and Personal. Since President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative, individualized healthcare has been all the buzz. What progress has been made, and where will it take us in the coming years? This session will also discuss “hands-free healthcare” (e.g., via voice interaction with an Amazon Echo), an area with high potential for both HCPs (less note taking) and patients (a device to talk to).
  • (2:15-3:15 PM; Digital Health Summit) The Meteoric Rise of Personalized Healthcare. J&J Health Technology Strategy and Business Development’s Mr. Marc Leibowitz and Neurometrix CEO/President Dr. Shai Gozani will participate in a panel about the Consumer Age of Healthcare – how digital health tools are empowering patients to take control of their health. Dr. Gozani and the Neurometrix team will also set up shop in the exhibit hall to “unveil innovative upgrades to the company’s 100% drug free wearable pain relief technology,” Quell. The company announced earlier today that remote upgradability, enhanced battery life (now requiring a charge every ~5-7 days), calibration from the app, improved personalization of therapy, and progress measurement are among the updates that will debut at the booth. The company is clearly moving to make its flagship product more user-friendly – we will be back with our impressions in the next few days. Neurometrix first debuted Quell at CES 2015 and alluded to this showcase in both the 2Q16 and 3Q16 financial update calls. This device has so much potential to help patients in our view. See the Test Drive from diaTribe.org from last year. As a reminder, Quell was the winner of the Wearable Tech category at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Innovation Awards last year.
  • (3:00-4:00 PM) Under Armour Keynote Address. Under Armour founder and CEO Mr. Kevin Plank was selected to deliver one of CES 2016’s keynote addresses. Under Armour has pivoted from a pure clothing company to one that is clearly interested in moving deep into digital health. Last year, it acquired Endomondo (fitness app), MyFitnessPal (food and calorie tracking), and Gritness (find local workouts). The company also announced a partnership with IBM Watson at last year’s CES to develop the UA Record app (4.5 stars on the app store): “a personal health consultant, fitness trainer and assistant ... providing athletes with timely, evidence-based coaching around ... sleep, fitness, activity and nutrition, including outcomes achieved based on others “like you.’” The app provides insights into how the user compares to peers in exercise, nutrition, and biometric information, and also educates the user about evidence-based outcomes (e.g. “90% of people who lose weight and keep it off for at least five years exercise at least an hour a day”). We can’t wait to hear what Mr. Plank and his company have up their sleeves (as it were) come January 6th.

Saturday, January 7

  • (9:00-11:15 AM; Digital Health Summit) Betting Big Business on Digital Health. In Saturday’s leading session, we look forward to hearing from one of the field’s most admired leaders, Omada Health CEO Mr. Sean Duffy. There will also be a 20-minute block during which Philips’ Mr. Jeroen Tas shares his company’s global connected health solutions – we’re intrigued.
  • (11:30 AM-12:30 PM; Digital Health Summit) Employers Swipe Right: Game On Digital Health. This is a fascinating area of healthcare for us, where employer’s offer incentives or pay for services to keep employees active and healthy. What are the new advancements in employer-provided health and how will this drive broader use of novel diabetes technologies?
  • (1:00-3:15 PM; Digital Health Summit) Keeping a Bullseye on the Megatrends. This monster session will focus on the aspects of healthcare that get the most attention (wearables, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, transformative hospital tech, chat and messaging, caregiving tech, etc.). We’re especially excited for the last two sub-sessions, on AI and immersive healthcare technology (augmented and virtual reality). AI has huge potential to sift through the troves of diabetes data, particularly as CGM becomes more widely used and combined with other contextual information.
  • (3:30-4:30 PM; Digital Health Summit) Trump’s Unchartered Healthcare Changes Ahead. We’ve written at length about the healthcare transition under President-elect Trump – but this session will specifically ask, “What does a Trump administration mean for digital health?” The very smart and accomplished panel includes journalist Mr. Dan Munro, Qualcomm Senior Director of Government Affairs Mr. Robert Jarrin, ACT Executive Director Mr. Morgan Reed, and Crowell & Mornig Partner Ms. Jodi Daniel.

-- by Brian Levine, Adam Brown, and Kelly Close