2024 CES trends report (Spoiler alert: It’s all about the AI)

By Maya Avrasin, Group Director, Engagement Strategy, FCB Health New York

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 should be renamed “AI Is Taking Over Our Lives,” because that’s what it felt like for me.

Practically every session, exhibitor and installation I went to had incorporated AI in some way — whether the technology was the back-end driver of a product’s functionality, or whether it was the front-end solution. It’s clear we are experiencing an explosion of ingenuity, and with it comes a lot of noise, controversy and fear of the unknown. And while the current buzz term is “generative AI,” I sought out what the next generation of AI would mean for healthcare marketing.

AI gets suggestive

There were hundreds of wearables and devices introduced at CES. Want to prevent a heart attack by tracking how your blood pressure and heart are doing? How about tracking the nutrients released in your urine?  Or, how about wearing a “Brainband” to help you sleep better? Each of these connected devices means collected data, and AI will consolidate and feed off that data to produce actionable insights. 2023 was just the beginning of pattern-recognition training for AI; in 2024, AI will understand these patterns and deliver customized suggestions for patients and HCPs so that meaningful decisions are made to improve patients’ health, treatment and overall care.

Furthermore, as AI continues to advance, healthcare marketers should know that patients and HCPs will expect smarter, seamless marketing solutions because they are going to get used consumer apps knowing more about them and offering up helpful advice. This means the marketer will really need to understand the needs of the customer. The good news is that there will be a lot of collected data to develop these offerings. The potential concerns, however, are going to be accuracy of the data as well as the speed needed to market those data-driven insights. Pharma has traditionally moved at a snail’s pace when it comes to emerging technology, but it seems as though customers aren’t willing to wait too long for results.

Hey Google?

Internet searches may no longer be the first method by which consumers obtain information. Almost every platform, app and even car will now be equipped with chat agents* that can deliver answers to any query. Microsoft announced at CES that it will be revising its keyboard to include a button to its AI companion, Copilot, so that every consumer has the chat agent at their fingertips. Copilot also happens to be the first chat agent to offer sponsored ads within its responses.

This means the eyeballs are scattered even more for healthcare marketers who want to reach customers, but the targeting and reach opportunities are plentiful.

Forget Search Engine Marketing, 2024 will be the year of Snowflake Marketing. With every query being unique to the customer seeking information, marketers will need to revise their strategy to be more action oriented. In other words, when a customer asks for something through a chat agent, the sponsored ad will understand the query and offer up the next best action that delivers on their request — whether it might be booking an appointment, ordering supplies or requesting a telehealth visit.

Sharing is caring

LG is integrating “Affectionate AI” into all of its devices (500 million to 700 million currently distributed worldwide) in order to start collecting users’ physical behavior and emotional life patterns; Bosch is building sensors into many of its wearables, then using the data they collect to optimize its products and help improve customers’ lives; and Instacart wants to be your nutritionist, storing and analyzing the food you buy and then providing healthier suggestions and a stipend (if you qualify). While these advancements will continue widening AI’s capabilities, they are currently built in silos, and as a result, there are disparate data sources that may produce inaccurate predictions. Any healthcare marketer exploring AI-related products needs to be cognizant that they will only be as good as the data that feeds them. Cross-industry collaboration needs to happen for the data to stay consistent and accurate. This may not happen in 2024, but there will probably be numerous AI regulations passed to encourage this type of collaboration. 

AI has already proven over the past year that it isn’t a “shiny new toy” that will lose its value over time. Due to several factors, like its low barrier to entry and adaptive features, it has proven its long-term viability as an influential piece of technology. How we use this technology is going to be the focus in the near term and I’m hoping that we are responsible, transparent and can pivot as quickly as a chat agent responds to a query.

*Chat agents are different than chatbots. The latter rely on pre-determined logic or decision trees to power the responses. A chat agent uses AI to fulfill tasks, based on user queries.