Humans are designed to walk 12 miles per day, according to anthropologists. This dates back to when we roamed the Serengeti desert. Modern humans today generally think we are supposed to walk 10,000 steps per day, because that’s what popular apps tell us.

The technology on display at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) seems to give competing messages: minimize motion on the one hand and maximize it on the other hand.

Segway showed the S-Pod, a self-balancing chair so you don’t have to walk around anymore. Or you can drive around with a Smart Cycle.

If you don’t want to make the effort of driving, just attach a self-driving box to the roof of your car and it will do it for you – this includes Lidar, radar and cameras.

The smart shower mat weighs you as you step on it, right out of the shower, so you don’t have to walk all the way to the scale. No need to change trash bags with Townew, the self-sealing, self-changing trash can. Rock the baby automatically with the automatic bassinet. And no need to play with your dog with the self-moving dog toys.

But not so fast! Health was also big at CES 2020. Technology makes it so that you don’t have to move, but it also gives you the tools to move in style if you want to: treadmills with screens showing you classes, cameras checking your form while you run, shoes with all sorts of sensors and all types of wearable devices monitoring your biometric functions while you move.

This advanced level of automation was also reflected in Itron Idea Labs’ demonstrations during the show, where sustainability and carbon reduction were predominant topics. In one demonstration, sustainability managers at large hotel resorts can monitor real-time consumption of energy, water, gas and steam – including the facility’s total carbon emissions – to help meet sustainability targets. In another, cities can monitor traffic patterns, analyzing data from many different sources. Automation and data aggregation at the utility and municipality level are going to make new insights available at everyone’s fingertips.

Overall, our motions are becoming more valuable: technology allows us to move throughout most of our day without actually moving. But when we do move – whether in our personal lives or at the business level – each single motion is measured and analyzed.

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Roberto Aiello
Managing Director, Itron Idea Labs - Itron Idea Labs
Dr. Roberto Aiello is the managing director of the Itron Idea Labs and responsible for new business innovation at Itron, including Internet of Things.

His previous experience includes managing wireless research at Interval Research, Paul Allen's technology incubator and technology transfer at Disney Research. He is an advisor to Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) and is a Lean Startup expert who serves as a mentor at the Cleantech Open and Startup Weekend.

Dr. Aiello also founded two venture-funded, wireless semiconductor companies and one web/mobile startup. Dr. Aiello worked as a physicist at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Superconducting Super Collider.