Monday, January 21, 2019

What CES 2019 Says About the Future of Connectivity

Mobile / Technology / Innovation

Every year hundreds of thousands of people kick off the year in Las Vegas at CES, the electronics show that highlights the trends for the year. This year CES highlighted five top trends that we’re excited about.

1. Connected devices
2. Healthcare and the hospital of the future
3. Voice technologies
4. Automotive innovations
5. Artificial Intelligence and Image Recognition

Connected Devices

It’s perhaps no surprise that CES is full of devices that connect to the Internet and a number of our clients were displaying their work from 2018 and their vision for 2019. Great work covering everything from lightbulbs, garage doors, to pet food dispensers. Across a spectrum of thousands of devices, connectivity is now considered table-stakes. Most appliances from ovens, refrigerators, toasters and more are being connected to the Internet unlocking both exciting opportunities as well as potential issues.

We believe that Internet connectivity should enable new scenarios, but it shouldn’t make existing devices harder to use. At CES there was certainly a mix of both and while many devices add unique and useful features, there’s a collection of devices that add configuration where it’s creating more complexity than needed. Do I really need an Internet connected diaper or pillow? As the price for connectivity drops, the focus shifts from access to utility. We’ll continue to see a spectrum of connected devices and we expect to see more scrutiny around the utility of these devices.

Healthcare and the Hospital of the Future

This year CES had a dedicated track toward Healthcare and in addition to the existing exhibitors around health and wellness there was more of a focus on total health. A number of larger companies are putting a consumer focus on the Healthcare system and the hospital of the future. An exciting trend we’re seeing is consumer products like the Apple Watch start to incorporate medical and health related information such as EKG. Simultaneously we’re seeing Healthcare companies looking to incorporate the simplicity and on-demand nature of the consumer experience into the hospital.

A keynote of the HealthCare track was around the future hospital having no-walls. This highlights a trend around on-demand services, telemedicine, and telematics and how technologies like 5G can transfer large medical imaging files from one place to another. Traditional on-demand services have had to battle with HIPPA and other privacy or provider hurdles and as an industry there’s a shift happening of trying to simplify the patient experience. You can read more thoughts on the future of healthcare in our 2019 Trend Report here and get a deeper dive into the takeaways from the Digital Health Summit at CES 2019 here.

Voice Technologies

With the trend of connected devices, we’re also seeing a rising trend of voice technologies. Both Amazon Echo and Google Assistant had large presence at CES with both their own booths as well as many independent companies showing off Alexa and Assistant integration. The biggest adopters seem to be in the kitchen where many smart speakers are being placed.

According to research from Edison Research and NPR, smart speaker adoption grew to over 118M devices in the US. Of that audience over 70% incorporate the smart speaker into their daily and weekly activities. In addition, there’s a growing trend of having more than one smart speaker in the home.

The activities people are using voice technologies for are broad and include a number of transactional activities to content and commerce. Everything from ordering food to listening to podcasts, music and getting a weather report.

Automotive innovations

At Rightpoint we love in-car technology and we’ve been innovating and designing software for this industry for many years. The latest trends are aligned with the future of electrification and autonomous driving.

There were a number of companies showing off technology and prototype cars that showcase the in-car interior of the future. Many of these showcase cars didn’t have steering wheels and used interior lights, screens and in-dash UI. While these concepts are not likely to hit the streets in 2019 they are clearly showing the direction of the industry. The car is becoming more of a living room and the focus is shifting from the driving experience to the “being-driven” experience.

Artificial Intelligence and Image Recognition

The use of artificial intelligence and image recognition is becoming omni-present in many devices from drones, cars, security systems, washers, dryers and more. Many initial applications of AI are oriented around recommendations and basic personalization. We’re also seeing AI used in many image recognition tasks. This ranges from novel things like motorized luggage that can see you and follow you to applications like in digital signage personalization based on demographics and geo-location.

Microsoft, Google and Amazon have created cloud-enabled hooks to utilize AI and machine learning to address common problems and this is creating unique product opportunities. Similar to IoT there can be a pattern of using AI where it’s novel but doesn’t add utility. The stronger implementations create “Wow” scenarios where devices and electronics recommend and suggest patterns that seem to predict the things we want before we even mention them.

The Future is Connected

At Rightpoint we’re creating the agency of the future and the future is more and more connected. In terms of a connected future, we’re not just thinking about internet-connected, we’re thinking about the multiple disciplines that companies are thinking about. It’s not just about the product or the marketing or the IT or the customer journey of any particular technology; it’s about these things working in concert to build a better future. Learn more about the key 2019 CX & Technology trends here.

Greg Raiz is the Chief Innovation Officer of Rightpoint. He has a house filled with IoT speakers, lights and devices that sometimes obey his requests. Greg is also working within the Healthcare space to help develop innovations that improve lives through technology and design.