#CES2018 has come to a close and what a week it was! With over 180,000 people, 4,500 vendors, and cutting-edge technology all around, a colleague and I walked over 50,000 steps in 3.2 million square feet of exhibits. Although we didn’t encounter any breakthrough technologies this year, we enjoyed looking for trends and discovering ways to harness current technologies for new user experiences. We also learned a lot about robots, drones, Google, and sleep.
Robots. Everywhere you turned, there seemed to be some kind of robot that promised to make your life simpler. Some had faces and personalities; others were focused on a specific function. How about Buddy? Buddy is your companion robot who connects, protects, and interacts with each member of your family. Or, if you’d prefer, you can get a robot that sings “Happy Birthday” or one that cries with you. My favorite robot had to be the FoldiMate that folds your laundry.
Drones. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a few minutes to watch the Intel Light Show over the Bellagio fountains. Each night, Intel used 250 shooting star drones to perform a choreographed routine that dazzled the spectators. It was truly an amazing experience. And, there were drones everywhere within the show, too. Though we had some fun flying the smaller drones through an obstacle course, we also learned where the industry is going in terms of utilizing drones for improved customer experience.
Google. In 2017, CES seemed to be dominated by Alexa (Amazon), but this year it was all about Google Assistant. Google had a significant marketing investment at the show (including wrapping the monorail cars) and had major booths to show that they plan to be a major player in the virtual personal assistant space. I don’t know who is going to win this battle, but if it was anything like this year at CES, Google is on the way!
Sleep. From the technology-filled mattresses and bedrooms to mediation and biofeedback tools, it was the year of sleep aides. One of the most fascinating things we witnessed happened at the NuCalm exhibit where we saw a room filled with people relaxing in reclining chairs with headphones and eye masks while attendants walked around to check on everyone. The exhibit claimed that you would feel like you got two hours of sleep after spending just 20 minutes with them. It was like a scene out of a sci-fi movie where humans gather in sleeping rooms for technology-enhanced sleep instead of sleeping in private bedrooms.
I also have to mention the weirdest thing we encountered this year at #CES2018, which was the PsychASec booth. In this exhibit we were told of a chip that could be placed in the back of your neck to help keep all your memories in tack as you get older. The story was intriguing and frightening all at the same time.
The good news? It wasn’t real. It turns out this display was an elaborate marketing tool for the new Netflix series, Altered Carbon, in which human consciousness can be transferred from body to body. Though it was only a hoax, the exhibit was so well done that it took us a few minutes to figure out that it was just a TV show.
What I Learned And You Can Learn
As I tell everyone I work with, you must attend the CES show at some point in your life to experience something that is hard to put into words. For me, it’s about prospective. At CES, you get immersed into a world where possibilities are endless and the future is bright. It’s inspiring to see so many companies who are focused on making the world a better, more accessible place and who don’t let challenges stop their dreaming. As we continually say in the Nason Group, innovation and disruption is a mindset and a lifestyle. Nowhere is this more evident than CES.
Over the next few weeks, I look forward to diving into the hottest trends for 2018 including consumer trends and healthcare trends and helping you connect with what’s next in bridging technology with customer experiences.
What I Did And What You Can Do
This is simple. I am going to keep saying YES! in 2018.
Recently, I was asked about the Top Innovations To Expect in 2018. Here is my response:
“This is the year of the consumer, patient, or member. If your organization is not focusing on the human part of your interaction, you are going to be left behind. Yes, technology is important and should be an extension to your product of service, but not the only thing you think about.”
Though technology can be a significant piece of the innovation process, technology is only effective when paired with the voice and needs of the consumer.
So in 2018: Yes, to innovation! Yes, to technology! Yes, to the consumer! YES! YES! YES!