Last year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was the last big technology event to take place before Covid hit. The following month, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was cancelled, heralding in a year in which the traditional platforms for product announcements disappeared. That hasn’t stopped new products appearing, not will it; the design lead times for phones and TVs are at least two to three years, so even next Christmas’ products will have started off before Covid. The design departments for major high-tech companies are a bit like supertankers – they’re difficult to stop or change direction. Where the absence of exhibitions may be more keenly felt is within smaller companies and startups, who typically use these events to gauge interest in their products and visions.
To coincide with the Medica exhibition I wrote a White Paper called “Trust me – I’m not a Doctor” to explore some of the changes that I think are necessary for the development of usable consumer health devices. One reader came back to me with a very pertinent question – “It’s one thing to say what needs to change, but what steps can manufacturers take in order to keep up with the latest developments in technology?”
It’s a very good question. Much of the medical industry concentrates on gradual evolution. It’s not an industry that is either particularly fast moving, or prone to disruptive influences. Certainly Medica was very much about more of the same and not doing anything new.
That poses a real problem, and to address it I think you have to take a deliberatively disruptive approach by thinking outside the box. Rather than asking how to keep abreast of technology, which is only likely to increase the pace of the current linear evolution, I’d suggest the more heretical view of thinking about what happens to the market when the clinician is excluded from it.