Many times, work conferences or large trade shows can be a major drag. I have had many mixed experiences over the years, but CES is not one of them. Everyone is there hoping to get a glimpse of the future, pontificating about the best 5G use cases, the evolution of the internet of things and the advancement of autonomous cars (to name a few fun conversations I overheard). CES is an adult science fair on the grandest of scale and an event that I recommend to anyone working in or thinking about technology attend.
Having had time to reflect, I’m writing this with an eye towards the future but with the practicality of how to get there based on my worldview today. At Rightpoint, we believe there is a major shift happening in companies both big and small. Every company is either an experience company today or needs to become one. Those that take an experience-led approach are thriving. Others risk becoming obsolete.
We are now firmly within the Experience Economy—a term coined 20 years ago by James Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine, who stated that leading-edge companies, whether they sell to consumers or businesses, will find that the next competitive battleground lies in staging experiences. In order to succeed every organization must transition their mindset from that of a legacy 20th century businesses into an experience-led 21st century company.
This shift is being driven by consumer expectations of seamless digital experiences, but even more important today and in the future is how digital experiences can create positive human interactions in real life (IRL as the teens say). At the center of everything we do, is experience. This can be an internal employee’s experience, a customer interacting with your application or device, or even a customer visiting your retail locations. We work with our clients all the time to help them transition from old to new continual market relevance while ensuring they stay focused on their customer experiences and interactions that drive meaningful outcomes.
The first thing that struck me about CES is the blurring of lines between the ‘Internet of Things’ and the ‘Intelligence of Things’. No longer is it enough to enable a lightbulb to connect to the Internet. That light bulb needs to anticipate the consumers’ needs and evolve over time as those needs change. We’re seeing this daily with our clients. Over the next 3/5/10 years, artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to be infused into our devices to help create intelligence vs. just connecting to the internet. This transition is welcomed, but I’m still dubious if my toilet needs to be an intelligent device.
As items become more intelligent, 5G will become more important and even more forward-facing in our lives. Having attended Mobile World Congress 2019, where I learned all about the ins and outs of 5G, I was prepared to see even more hype about it at CES. It wasn’t as prevalent as I expected, but the undertones were there specifically when talking about autonomous vehicles. I watched a panel of several executives from Bell Flight and local Texas political officials which was fascinating. The discussion centered around the need for all parties to be aligned to help build the infrastructure needed to facilitate autonomous drone helicopter flights in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 2023. 5G is a massive part of that, as is the afore mentioned artificial intelligence.
To create truly impactful customer experiences and to win in the experience economy, companies should continue to use human-design concepts while infusing artificial intelligence. Our team specializes in identifying use cases where A.I. can improve an end user experience and drive business outcomes. With the deep AI expertise of our parent company, Genpact, we can now deliver impactful customer centric experiences infused with AI.
This can mean many different things for your business (from an AI powered voice ordering experience to the implementation of an Augmented Intelligence platform that surfaces insights for your employees so that they can drive business outcomes). Regardless of your industry, it is clear to us that every company should start exploring what AI can and can’t do and how your company should best prepare for the future.
In closing, CES crystallized a few things for me that are going to become prevalent in the 20s decade:
- It’s not enough to connect devices to the internet. IoT is about creating intelligent devices that enable better experiences for humans.
- Companies that transform themselves into modern technology/software led businesses have a chance to succeed. Companies that transform themselves into experience led businesses will win.
- Artificial Intelligence will allow business to gain insights faster and build smarter products regularly, but the human experience will not be replaced.