I’m a bit of a technology geek. So it’s no surprise my family gave me some of the hottest new tech gadgets for Christmas. Here are a few of the presents I found under the tree:
- Amazon Echo is a personal assistant that plays music, answers questions, reads the news, gives traffic and weather reports, and turns the lights on and off in response to voice commands. I’ve been using it as a Bluetooth speaker, playing ambient sounds like rainfall to help put the baby to sleep.
- Philips Hue is a personal wireless lighting system that lets me remotely turn on and change the color of the lights in my house. A motion detector can also see when we enter the room and turn on the lights automatically. I’ve mostly been using Hue to drive my wife crazy by turning the lights different colors when I’m out and she’s in the house.
- Nest Learning Thermostat not only customizes temperature settings based on when we wake up, leave for work, and go to sleep, but also monitors smoke and carbon monoxide levels. I was at the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day watching Michigan pummel my Florida Gators when I received an alert on my iPhone that there was smoke in the house. Knowing my wife and the baby were home, I sent a text asking if everything was OK. When Allison confirmed she had burned something in the kitchen, I entered a command to silence the smoke alarm before it woke up the baby.
Apple HomeKit brings it all together so I can control everything right from my iPhone. I’ll admit that noodling around with my home automation devices hasn’t changed my family’s life in any major way. And I can’t compete with Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s resolution to build my own personal butler this year. But I am excited about the enormous implications these consumer technologies hold for the future, particularly in the healthcare space.
Taken together, today’s consumer devices are greatly broadening the scope of what’s possible. Leading companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into developing technologies that will make the devices we use every day “smarter” than ever. The Internet of Things, the emerging space of voice-driven personal assistants, the integration of multiple technologies from different vendors … all of these developments will start to bleed into the healthcare ecosystem and drive some spectacular changes, just as smartphones are driving major changes in the way caregivers communicate.
Trey Lauderdale is Founder and CEO of Voalte.