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12 Ways to Reduce Indoor Allergens in Your Home

If you suffer from allergies you are not alone. Did you know that over 50 million Americans suffer from indoor and outdoor allergies? It doesn’t matter if you live in a house in Portland, OR or a condo in New York, NY, allergens are everywhere, including inside your home. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, the same variables that cause your indoor allergies can also trigger asthma-related symptoms. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies. You can, however, manage or reduce your indoor allergies with preventive measures. For indoor allergies, the first step is to understand what can cause them and then take the necessary steps to minimize or eliminate those causes. Rather than being overwhelmed by all the possible allergens in your home, it’s easier to take a step-by-step approach through each room to identify and control where possible allergens may be coming from. 

Reduce indoor allergens throughout your house

The best place to start to control your allergies is at the front door. Once the allergen gets inside you have more work to do to keep it contained. Here are some key whole-house allergy prevention tips:

1. Declutter your home

Take a good look around and remove any items that have been collecting dust – and therefore allergens. This list includes tabletop decorations, knickknacks, magazines, and books. If you have children you’ll want to store children’s toys, stuffed animals, and games in plastic bins. Regular dusting is an important part of reducing allergens in your home, and reducing the amount of clutter will help eliminate spaces where dust is more likely to accumulate.

2. Have everyone – family and visitors alike – remove their shoes at the door 

Outdoor allergens like pollen and mold can enter your home on your clothing or the bottom of your shoes. Once inside, these allergens hide in the carpet and make their way into your ventilation system where they are much harder to eliminate. 

3. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter

After you kick up dust or your children decide to walk into the house with their shoes on, the vacuum is your best friend. A vacuum with a HEPA filter gives you the best chance to contain and reduce allergens. A HEPA filter is a small-particle or a high-efficiency particulate air filter.

4. Dust and deep clean your home regularly 

Use a damp rag to help grab the dust particles and prevent them from flying up into the air. Dust mites are the most common trigger of year-round allergies – and they thrive in the dust in our homes. Regular dusting will help you keep the dust mite population at bay and reduce your allergic reactions to dust.  

5. Use a good air-purifying system to reduce indoor allergens

You’ve removed your shoes, busted the clutter, and embraced a regular dust-and-vacuum routine. The next step is to install a high-quality air-purifying system – one that uses a HEPA filter – to catch those pesky no-see-um particles. 

6. Set your thermostat to 70 degrees or lower

Hot, humid environments are proven breeding grounds for insects and mold. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you keep the temperature between 68° F (20° C) and 72° F (22° C) and hold relative humidity no higher than 50 percent, you’ll reduce many common allergens. 

7. Replace your old carpet and eliminate extra textiles

If you continue to suffer from allergy symptoms, it might be time to replace your carpet and take down the curtains. You will reduce the habitat for allergens in your home by replacing old carpets with new ones or hardwood, tile, or vinyl, and also washing any area rugs on a regular basis. 

8. Add air-cleaning houseplants in each room

Certain houseplants can help clean indoor air of pet dander and keep humidity levels under control. Plants can be both beautiful and beneficial. A NASA study found the following houseplants to be the most beneficial: 

  • Areca Palm – Humidifies naturally
  • Lady Palm – Filters ammonia
  • Bamboo Palm – Grows tall in low light
  • Golden Pothos – Requires little maintenance
  • Philodendron – Removes formaldehyde
  • Gerber Daisy – Reduces benzene levels
  • Dracaena – Absorbs and holds allergens

9. Clean your air vents regularly, including your central air conditioning (AC) filter

If you’re not a plant person but want to keep your internal ventilation clean, the next best thing is to get your air vents cleaned regularly and replace your furnace and AC filters. Run external dehumidifiers and air purifiers with HEPA filters to reduce your indoor allergies.

Reduce bedroom allergens

According to the Sleep Foundation, we spend a third of our lives asleep. That equates to approximately 7 to 8 hours spent in our bedrooms per day. Is it any wonder that our bedrooms are one of the largest dust factories in our homes?

10. Put bed protectors in place to keep dust mites at bay

Those pesky dust mites are everywhere. In your bedroom, the best way to control or eliminate them is to put a dust-mite protective cover over your box spring, mattress, and pillow – under your regular bedding of course. Wash sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and comforters once a week in water heated to at least 130° F (54° C). Consider replacing any wool or feather bedding with synthetic materials.

11. Banish cats, dogs, and other animals from your bed to reduce animal dander

Did you know 3 in 10 people have allergic reactions to their pets? We all love our pets, but if you and your family suffer from indoor allergies you will want to keep the animals out of the bedroom. Another good practice is to bathe pets once a week to reduce the amount of dander they shed. Also, to help the transition, think about getting them their own bed to keep them out of yours.

12. Clean your shower head to eliminate mold growth and spores

Showerheads should be cleaned weekly and soaked once a month. This will reduce bacteria and mold buildup. The shower’s hot, humid environment makes the showerhead a perfect breeding ground for mold and other germs that then get sprayed onto your hair and body in the shower. When you clean the showerhead regularly, you’ll reduce this problem. 

Allergies plague millions of people. Take a few steps to safeguard the interior of your home and you will reduce many common allergens and take better control of your indoor allergies.

Redfin does not provide medical advice
All of the material provided on Redfin’s blog, such as text, treatments, dosages, outcomes, charts, patient profiles, graphics, photographs, images, advice, messages, forum postings, and any other material provided on Redfin’s blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Redfin’s blog.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Redfin does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on Redfin’s blog. Reliance on any information provided by Redfin’s blog, by persons appearing on Redfin’s blog at the invitation of Redfin’s blog, or by other members is solely at your own risk.

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How IoT is Changing Health Informatics

Illustration: © IoT For All

Our current digitally-enhanced era has helped to illustrate just how valuable data can be. When collected and analyzed by experts, it can help guide us to make decisions in business, creative industries, and — perhaps most importantly — healthcare. Health informatics is a vital area of medicine in which data about patients and their illnesses is used to assess the progress of their personal health conditions, drive treatment decisions, and also to build important public health strategies.

Expertise in informatics can have positive outcomes in people’s lives, but there are constant efforts to develop and improve tools that can support this. Over the last several years, the development of the internet of things (IoT) has emerged as a potentially integral solution to various challenges. This connected ecosystem of wearable technology, static devices, and apps has been helping to collect and process data that is vital to informatics.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As patients, we often see diagnosis and treatment from a simplistic perspective. We go to the doctor, they perform some tests, and in the best-case scenario, they tell us what’s wrong and how we can fix it. But those diagnoses and treatments are not just pulled out of the brains of our physicians; they are often the product of huge amounts of data, allowing analysts to identify correlating attributes. Similarly, before reaching the market our medications are subject to tests, providing researchers with volumes of data to help understand their effectiveness.

IoT technologies are helping with the data harvesting and analysis aspects of diagnostic medicine. Using wearable devices that collect data regarding symptoms and patient conditions, alongside information from traditional hospital testing, artificial intelligence (AI) software is then used to undertake speedy and thorough analysis work, using algorithms to help identify the likely diagnosis. In fact, a 2019 study by medical journal The Lancet found that AI analysis of medical imaging was in some ways equivalent to that of human medical professionals.

However, it’s also important to note that the aforementioned study also suggests that relying on deep learning and machines alone is not without its challenges. These technologies are currently best employed when in collaboration with experts in health informatics fields. Machines are unable to provide patients with the reassurance and warmth that a human healthcare professional can bring, nor apply context and empathy to finding solutions. While tech can help provide insight, human perspective can be valuable in interpreting and applying it.

Patient Records

One of the main areas in which health informatics comes into play is with patient records. In order for health professionals to make appropriate choices for patients, they must have access to a patient’s full history, including the results of any scans and tests. In the past, a primarily paper approach has meant that clinicians have not always received patient records in a timely manner, or have had to seek access from various different departments or even offices. This means patients haven’t always been treated with efficiency. The IoT has been instrumental in improving this.

The adoption of electronic medical records has been instrumental in streamlining the collection, sharing, and organization of health informatics. Providers across various departments using the same platform do not need to request information be sent to them, the patient’s information is already accessible in the system. Digital x-rays can not just be captured quickly and safely, but also emailed to those undertaking diagnosis, and stored in EHRs, to be reviewed when assessing problems in the future. This digital patient information can also be stored, shared, and viewed on portable, secure medical IoT devices such as tablets and data monitoring tools for ease of use even in emergency scenarios.

This method is not only useful for those who use health informatics for diagnosis and treatment, but it’s also a reassuring development for the patient themselves. The ability to securely transfer files to be stored and viewed on IoT devices means that patients have easy access to their own records, and are able to review and distribute them as needed. It also means that, should they move state or country, they don’t need to overcome unnecessary hurdles in giving their new health care provider their full medical history.

Self Management

Healthcare is not only the remit of those who have been educated to work in the field. We each have a responsibility to our own health, and continuing required treatments. After all, physicians can’t be constantly holding our hands to make sure we’re doing the right things. The field of health informatics has played an important role in assisting patients to manage their own wellness and treatments. As health informaticians have a deep insight into understanding patients and what motivates and supports them, they are a key source of education and resources for those with illnesses. The IoT is assisting in this area, too.

Patients can wear wearable IoT technology that provides them with real-time data on their physical condition. Utilizing specialized platforms, such as Quio, patients can connect IoT enabled therapeutic devices to their computer or smartphone and share data on their medication, vital signs, and activities with their physician. This helps to enable a meaningful, data-supported dialogue between doctor and patient, and also allows patients to feel empowered to take control of their treatment.

Perhaps one of the primary ways in which the IoT is assisting health informaticians and patients is its user-friendliness. Patients may be unlikely to engage with tech if they are unable to understand how it works, or how to interact with it. Combining health monitoring tech with smartphones and apps that are easily navigable not only helps to provide patients with insights that encourage them to take control of their own treatment, but can also improve the quality of feedback that can assist health informatics in the future.

Conclusion

As with much in our world today, data can be a valuable resource for medical fields. Health informatics can provide insights into patient diagnosis, ongoing wellness, and treatment management. IoT has started to produce tools that can help support health informatics in monitoring, analysis, and utilization of patient data. By exploring how to collaborate with these tools effectively, the industry and its patients stand to benefit significantly

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5 Ways to Create a Self-Care Sanctuary in Your Home

With each week that goes by, things are drastically changing as we try to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. Most people are working from home, businesses are creating new ways to provide for their customers, and most states are issuing stay-at-home orders. So whether you’re living in Dallas …

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Tips on How Older Adults Can Stay Healthy During Coronavirus

In the age of COVID-19, more colloquially known as the Coronavirus, your health, and personal safety have never been more important. The world seems very different than it was just weeks ago, but the rise of a pandemic just reaffirms what is most important: friends, family, and your health. Social …

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From Our CEO: Redfin & Coronavirus

Dear Redfin Customers,To protect the health of our customers, agents and communities, we’re canceling open houses for all homes listed by Redfin’s brokerage, and limiting private in-person tours of all listings to two customers per tour. We’re still serving thousands of buyers and sellers each day, …

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Implementing IoT in Healthcare

Illustration: © IoT For AllThe Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly gaining popularity in all spheres of life, healthcare systems in particular. In a nutshell, the technology allows multiple connected devices to collect and share information with each other. What does this mean for healthcare?In fact, the applications are …

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Housing Demand Holding Up Surprisingly Well, For Now

Redfin is publishing this housing-market update as a way to inform our customers, not our investors. We aim to be candid and truthful with our customers about what’s happening in the housing market, especially in uncertain times. For our investors, consistent with our past practices, we’ll report our …

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Why You Should Start Your Day Like Jocko Willink

No matter where you’re at in your business venture, there’s a good chance you’ve at least once buried your face in your hands and wished there were more hours in the day. Sure, it would be nice to have more than 24 hours to take care of your to-dos, but the reality is that we’re all powerless against the laws of time and space.


That’s no reason to get discouraged, though. After all, business luminaries like Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook are subject to the 24-hour day, but they still manage to run and grow their respective empires, right?


The reality is that 24 hours is plenty of time to crush your goals—you just need to get smarter about how you spend that time. If you could use some help making the most out of your 24 hours, you might want to take a page out of Jocko Willink’s book.


For those not in the know, Willink is a retired Navy SEAL who has co-authored a number of books on leadership and discipline (Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership), co-founded the management consulting firm Echelon Front, LLC, and even co-hosts a weekly podcast called (you guessed it) the Jocko Podcast. 


If it’s not clear already, Willink is an absolute beast when it comes to getting stuff done, and one of the things he credits to his success is his famously hardcore morning routine, during which he gets up at the ungodly time of 4:30 AM, snaps a photo of his watch to post on social media and hold himself accountable, and proceeds to crush a workout in his home gym before settling down to work at about the time most of us are just hitting “snooze” for the first time.


Now, starting your day the Willink way might sound intimidating, but we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up a few essentials that should help set you up for success. Read on for details:

 



Get Some Blackout Curtains

What’s the first step to waking up even before the early bird stretches its wings? How about getting some good shut-eye the night before? While the sun probably won’t be up at 4:30 AM, ambient light from outside (street lights, passing cars, etc.) can spill into your room the night before and make it harder to fall asleep. These curtains can block it out and help you sleep better so you’re refreshed and ready for that 4:30 AM start time.

Buy a Watch

If you follow Willink on social media, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with his watch. As mentioned above, Willink has made a habit of posting a photo of his watch to social media in the morning to let the world know he’s up and getting stuff done while the rest of us are still wrapped up in our sheets. We’re not saying you have to spam your Twitter followers with photos of your timepiece, but it could help with holding yourself accountable initially or, at the very least, make sure you get out of bed on time. While Jocko’s particular watch model is discontinued, you can grab a similar one from Timex here.

Remember to Energize

Look, we get it—crawling out of bed at 4:30 in the morning might be tough and proceeding to hit the gym even moreso. These caffeinated hydration tablets can give you a much-needed energy boost as well as precious electrolytes to get you through that early workout.

Recover, Recover, Recover

After all that hustling is said and done, you’ll want to make sure your body has the nutrients it needs to recover and take on the rest of the morning (which there will be plenty of left). This protein shake should do the trick and it’s even certified organic!

Source: Entrepreneur

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CES2020: The Rise of AI and Personalized Wellness

CES, the largest tech event of the year, is no stranger to the extremely cool, strange, repetitive or revolutionary when it comes to technology. Although the show boasts thousands of different types of technologies and products, certain themes and trends are pervasive throughout the week. 

After putting in about 18.5 miles in less than 3 days, I reflected on the few days of sensory overload and everything I had experienced. Many of the conversations I had during the conference revolved around personalized health, connected vehicle ecosystems, smart cities and artificial intelligence (AI). While there were more than a few companies exhibiting at the show attempting to be the next Peloton or claiming their ear pods rival Apple’s Air Pods, I was grateful to not have to endure too many of those conversations. 

Smart City Concepts

With 5G rolling out and the IoT industry maturing, smart cities are the inevitable next move to take advantage of all IoT has to offer. At CES, there was no shortage of smart city concepts to experience. From miniature models that included autonomous cars and helicopters to vehicles that deliver groceries, companies have invested a lot of time and money into building the next generation of automation for our every day lives. The one concept that CES really drove home was that the future of tech is all connected. Smart cities don’t exist without AI or without connected “things” and autonomous vehicles. 

As our infrastructure ages, it becomes all too important for tech companies and their partners to understand how to build, secure and launch a connected future. Smart cities will rely on IoT sensors to understand water and energy consumption, traffic patterns and more. How we understand, control and initiate change based on the data collected in these smart cities will have a direct reflection on whether or not smart cities can be both a sustainable and practical way of life. 

Toyota brought to life their proposed prototype “Woven City” at the conference this year. The concept Toyota used for their booth was inspiring. With a circular fabric set up to display live-action examples of how the city of the future will work, Toyota immersed visitors in their Woven City through sound, video and a 360-degree experience. 

The city will be built as a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan by 2021. This smart city is being hailed as a “living laboratory” where residents and researchers will utilize the from-scratch infrastructure to test and develop numerous technologies including robotics, smart homes and autonomy. Toyota is only one of several companies taking a techno-utopian approach to their plans for the city of the future. 

According to the Danish architect behind the city, Bjarke Ingels, “…connected, autonomous, emission-free and shared mobility solutions are bound to unleash a world of opportunities for new forms of urban life. With the breadth of technologies and industries that we have been able to access and collaborate with from the Toyota ecosystem of companies, we believe we have a unique opportunity to explore new forms of urbanity with the Woven City that could pave new paths for other cities to explore.”

As Toyota takes a step into the future, so too do other tech companies. Sprint, for example, will be utilizing their True Mobile 5G and Curiosity™ IoT in areas across the United States, including Greeneville, SC and Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.

The combination of Sprint Curiosity™ IoT with advanced network deployment has set the stage for building a truly smart city. Sprint and their partners are developing and deploying connected vehicles, autonomous services/machines and other smart technologies in conditions that reflect what future smart cities will look like. This allows researchers and developers to operate, navigate and react in real-time with real-world scenarios – preparing us for the city of the future. 

The Next Step in Mobility and Autonomous Vehicles

One of, if not the biggest, draw of CES is the automotive section. Everything from flying taxis to augmented reality cars and the latest models are on display at the event. I had the great pleasure of speaking with several experts in the autonomous industry including Blackberry and RTI.

During CES, Blackberry announced two partnerships including the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and an autonomous vehicle platform that will integrate BlackBerry QNX’s real-time operating system with Renovo’s intelligent automotive data platform. Renovo and QNX are jointly developing safety-critical data management tools for connected and autonomous vehicles with the plan to scale safety systems in new cars. Currently, Blackberry’s QNX is already in 150 million cars on the road today. 

I spoke with Kaivan Karimi, Senior Vice President and Co-Head of BlackBerry Technology Solutions about the importance of native and secure technology and data collection in our connected and autonomous vehicles. With technology now embedded in cars before they hit the lots, Karimi expressed how vehicles are becoming a vital component of the infrastructure of smart cities.

As we put the groundwork in now for how cities will look in the future, he also noted the importance of building infrastructure based on the data that these vehicles are collecting from Renovo’s data management system and AI pipeline. Blackberry’s focus on safe and secure technology combined with Renovo’s data capabilities is only one example of how partnerships between private companies, the government, public entities and citizens of the world are necessary for being able to manage connected car data in a safe, secure and private way. 

In addition to Blackberry, Real-Time Innovations (RTI), an IIoT connectivity company, is working on the future of autonomous driving. 

Bob Leigh, Senior Market Development Director, Autonomous Systems at RTI shared with me that RTI believes “that the advancement of autonomous driving will be transformative to industry and society. Right now, automotive and tech companies are grappling with the complexity of the new technology, how to bring it to market, and what business models will ultimately be successful. At CES this year, we saw [that the industry] is much more specific in how they are tackling the challenge; differentiating their technology between advanced ADAS, Level 2+ and Level 4 Autonomy levels. We think this is a sign of the maturing market and the industry as a whole becoming more confident in how they will deliver their first commercial products. At CES 2020 it was clear the exact future of autonomous cars may still be unclear, but there was much more confidence in the path to making this technology real.” 

Personalized Wellness

Human behavior is a peculiar thing. Whether it’s a daily skincare routine, morning yoga or meditation, we are creatures of habit. Technology is advancing the way we personalize our health in those habits. Any marketer will tell you that human connection is the number one way to convince users to buy. If you can find a way to meet consumers where they are and solve their pain points, buyers will be more likely to choose your product. A company’s ethos as well as how it approaches customer satisfaction is of utmost importance as we saturate the market with new solutions, cool tech and products. 

Neutrogena relaunched its NEUTROGENA Skin360™ app this year to democratize skin health information. I spoke with the team, including Global Communications Lead of Beauty and Baby at Johnson & Johnson, Michelle Dionne, who explained and walked me through the app. Skin360™ utilizes advanced skin imaging, behavior coaching and artificial intelligence to empower consumers with actionable, personalized steps to help achieve their skin health goals. 

The original app that launched in 2018 required a skin scanning tool. So why did they relaunch in 2019? The team at Neutrogena put their customers first. They took into consideration valuable insight from consumers who sought personalized recommendations, science-backed information, expert opinions, skincare product tracking and how routine care affects our facial skin health over time. 

The team also added the Neutrogena AI Assistant (NAIA). NAIA is a personal skincare coach that builds a relationship with each user through in-app and text messaging. NAIA uses AI and behavior change techniques to determine each individual’s skincare personality, what their current approach to care is and their current routine. Once you’ve added your information to the app and complete a 180-degree selfie analysis, the app will give you a score for wrinkles, fine lines, dark under-eye circles, dark spots and smoothness.

NAIA then helps users identify and build a personal 8-week skincare goal and routine based on the skin scores and a self-assessment of sleep, exercise, stress levels, external factors, etc. that is monitored and supported through coaching. This allows users to personalize their routine and place importance on various skin attributes such as moisture and tone.

In addition to continuing to accept user feedback and iterate on their app and AI technology, Neutrogena is combining their 360 app with MaskiD, a micro 3D printed facemask that is custom to face shape and structure, formulated with concern-specific ingredients on different areas of your face. Although they won’t be available until later this year, be on the lookout for these masks as they will be both personalized and affordable. Side note: I’ve used the app several times already since being introduced to it last week.

This year at CES, Panasonic also took into consideration how consumers are placing increased attention on their physical and mental health states with the launch of their ‘Human Insight Technology’. 

With Panasonic’s human insight technology, users are provided with data to make recommendations to improve an individual’s experience in the home.

Human insight technology uses non-invasive sensors and imaging to capture and interpret data based on human habits and behaviors. Panasonic demonstrated this technology through an interactive yoga studio. Through analysis of physical stress data, Pansonic was able to design products and environments optimized for typical human movements and physiology. At CES, participants can see human insight technology in action through an interactive yoga studio using the Yoga Synchro Visualizer.

Your face and body are scanned, and the technology prompts you to follow commands. The cameras and sensors recognize human motion and provide users with multiple scores including a pose, fatigue, stability, flow and stress. The best part? You’re able to see the physical representation of the changes taking place in your body while performing your yoga routine. 

AI Home Ecosystems

Among the flooded convention center floors and wave of beautiful displays, you’re more likely than not to have run into companies that are incorporating AI assistants and technology into their products in some way. The smart home industry, in particular, is embedding AI into their ecosystems. 

For example, Sharp has a vision of People-Oriented IoT according to Executive Vice President and Head of AIoT Business Strategy Office, Bob Ishida. With over 150 products in 10 categories, Sharp is rolling out products that meet lifestyle and culture needs. Sharp is only one of many companies that showcased AIoT and 8K solutions that “will explore new possibilities for computers to offer innovative experiences to both business users and individual consumers around the world.”

LG is another example of a company using AI to improve the home ecosystem. Revealed in 2019, LGThinQ artificial intelligence was on full display. LG’s slogan for AI: “anywhere is home”. From kitchen appliances to washing machines and personal wardrobes, all of LG’s appliances are using AI as a consumer experience. Washers are learning how users like certain types of clothing washed and air conditioners are adjusting automatically to your comfortability settings. 

IoT Takeover

As I walked the convention floor with little spare time, I was curious about the prevalence of IoT at CES. Although I had to explain more than a handful of times what IoT is and how it works (simple explanation of IoT), even those that didn’t know it by name were utilizing some element or elements tied deeply to the IoT industry. 

From sensors to AI, 5G and the future of mobility, CES 2020 made a few things clear: partnerships are necessary for how we will build a connected future; personalized wellness is becoming a need to have instead of a nice to have and AI is becoming less of a buzzword and more of an actuality. 

Source: IoT For All