CES 2019: A Clearer Picture of Our Future

Written by: Joe Scartz 

Last week, Las Vegas was the center of the digital universe, as The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held.  Every year, we see astonishing new technology meant to change the lives of people and provide brands new ways to engage with consumers and shoppers.  This year was no different.

The convergence of Personalized, Predictive, Assistive, and Seamlessexperiences was the story at CES; all of the underpinnings are there.

In and of itself there was plenty of innovation…but dare I say, there was no one BIG THING.  And that’s OK.  In fact, maybe that’s better.

As the VELOCITY team walked the floors and had meetings, we found there to be a general, integrated march to personalized experiences that are predictive, assistive and seamless, a confluence of technologies, products and innovations helped to create this story.

In fact, we learned something much bigger than the event itself—it became evident that our lives as human beings really are going to be appreciably different in positive ways over the next five years.

It’s not just about how the myriad technologies work together (life is not just OLED 8K TVs or AI or 5G or IOT, although those technologies were all there in spades) in and of themselves; it’s how they are adapting to fit into our lives in new and exciting ways and in broad strokes.

What the Future Looks Like

To truly understand what that means, let’s first address the technology and trends (check out the links to get a deeper dive):

  1. AI as a lifestyle – Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa were truly the slugfest of the show and were both everywhere and integrated into everything.
  2. 8K OLED foldable screens
  3. 5G will rollout and be available to homes in certain areas in 2019 and more noticeably in 2020
  4. Self-driving autonomous commercial and consumer vehicles
  5. AI-driven and functional robots that provide real assistance
  6. Smart Health devices that integrate data into wider ecosystems
  7. Baby tech and sleep technology were sub themes.
  8. Smarter Homes and increased focus on automation – like a refrigerator that actually recognizes its content
  9. The collapse of walled garden (Apple Homekit on LG and Samsung TVs)

These technologies working in tandem create four themes that point to future:

  1. faster connected world than we’ve ever seen before (5G) where you access information/experiences dramatically faster than previously imagined (a movie in seconds anyone?).
  2. Screens will be more beautiful and “flexible,”delivering delightful experiences and creating new pleasurable interactions with AI, whether through flat screen, foldable screens, AR or VR.
  3. AI devices are as ubiquitous as connected devices are. Alexa and Google Assistant smart speakers and integrated devices are the fastest growing technology since the smart phone.  That means instant answers, instant content, instant home automation, automated automotive, integrated health and based on how these devices learn and adapt, completely personal experiences controlled by voice.  Imagine a world where Google Assistant automates your home’s morning, plots your drive, reminds you when you need lettuce and automatically orders it for you—all the while figuring out how to help you best next.
  4. Technology will aid and support our health.Robots will monitor and help the elderly and sick.   For example, robots watch and report falling episodes and connected devices monitor vital signs to allow for blanket coverage for the elderly and are regular in communication with remote caregivers.

Technology is getting smarter, more automated, more assistive and in doing that is getting more invisible and that is the story of 2019.  The implications on brands and retailers is wide ranging because as technology changes expectations, consumers will evolve their demands with those companies with whom they transact.

What do you think?  Did I miss anything you saw at CES?  Shoot me a note on Twitter and let me know.

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