THOUGHTS FROM CES 2018
CES 2018 delivered on every level! We saw great innovation, insightful keynotes, accelerating trends, ingredient technologies, and a vision on tackling some of the major issues facing society, like healthcare and urbanization.
Here are a few of our final thoughts on CES 2018.
Transformations Driven by Data and Speed
Data, data, and more data. Just about every product is generating huge amounts of data, and much of that data is actionable, immediate, and needed in real time. Every keynote or panel talked about data as the new currency. Someone described it as the new form of capital, a means to production. Any industry or company that doesn’t consider itself digital risks being left behind, even becoming irrelevant.
A digital strategy is essential. Industries are transforming at an alarming rate. The automotive industry is changing beyond recognition, as are the brands within it, as they morph into mobility providers or smart city vendors. Retail is becoming digital with virtual shopping assistants and the smart home is gaining momentum thanks to ambient voice recognition through Google Home or Amazon Alexa enabled devices.
The Potential of Conversational AI
Making sense of all this data and driving the demand for more data is AI. Referred to at the start of CES as an “ingredient technology,” AI, or artificial intelligence, is moving into our every-day life at an amazing pace. It seems that adoption will continue and other ingredient technologies like superfast 5G connectivity will only accelerate and facilitate its use.
AI has much to offer in almost every sector and is clearly part of the digital revolution occurring in the world today. It’s part of the disruption of industries like retail. Look at how much AI is being used by companies like Amazon who are using it to recommend products to us and to help them further develop their offering. AI also has the potential to help us combat and even cure diseases. It will change every industry, most products, and many lives.
Design Beyond Product
What we have seen at CES is less of a focus on product and more on ecosystem. It’s unusual to see companies like Ford talking about the systems, platforms, and concepts they are working on, over the products they are currently manufacturing and selling in volume. But ecosystems and platforms are enabling the future. Moving design and innovation to a level beyond product opens up enormous opportunity for companies to explore new ideas, new markets, and new business models.
Even the startup products viewed in Eureka Park are looking like part of a connected ecosystem with different players collaborating to drive value and of course a positive user experience or outcome.
No Shortage of Innovation
From the largest brands to the smallest startups, one message has been received loud and clear this week. Innovation is alive and well and living throughout the world. Eureka Park is where CES houses its startup exhibitors along with companies like Indiegogo and Kickstarter from the crowdfunding world and a whole lot of innovation groups and accelerators. There were more than 900 exhibitors in Eureka Park this year, a new record and they came from all corners of the world.
The CTA announced the expansion of their Innovation Scorecard on Tuesday. It was launched four years ago to rank states on their ability to nurture innovations, using 12 criteria. This year it went global, ranking 38 countries and the European Union. Finland topped the rankings, with the UK, Australia, and Sweden next, and the United States in fifth place. The CTA announced 13 Innovation Champions and a further 12 as Innovation Leaders. Check out the results and an interactive map here.
Codependence of Technologies and Industries
At CES it was clear that industry lines are blurred and often erased. Car companies are becoming connected mobility companies, healthcare companies are now wearables producers, and appliance companies are smart home AI providers. Industry and technology codependence is at an all-time high. To make a smart city work, we’re going to need all those ingredient technologies to work together, but perhaps more importantly we’re going to need people, companies, and even governments to work together. A connected world must be a collaborative world.
There are plenty of opportunities and challenges, but at the end of the day it all comes back to one thing; the user, us, the consumer. If innovation doesn’t deliver a good user experience and benefit all the stakeholders, it won’t be adopted.
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