What CIOs Can Learn from CES
Watch these technology trends evolve from futuristic to practical consumer and enterprise use.
Contributor: Jo Bennett
More than 170,000 people made the trip to CES 2016 to catch a glimpse of what’s new in consumer technologies: the latest in smart homes, natural-language voice interfaces, cameras and 3D printing, and more. Nearly 50,000 of the attendees were senior-level executives — for good reason.
Though CES is about consumer devices, CIOs need to pay close attention to trends and developments spotlighted at the event, said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. “Many of these products are the tools that businesses use or will use with their customers or in the enterprise,” said Mr. Blau.
“Enterprises are the new ‘consumer,’” said Tuong Huy Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner. “It’s a B2C2B world.”
Here are some of the trends that Mr. Blau and Mr. Nguyen noted while on-site at CES:
Technologies are moving toward evolution, not revolution
In previous years, technology providers focused on features like more megapixels, better resolution, faster processors and more memory, noted Mr. Nguyen. “CES 2016 may not have seemed like the most exciting event,” he said. “But there were more mashups — companies launching products and services that are starting to pull together and leverage hardware features to address needs in a useful, meaningful way.”
For example, said Mr. Nguyen, an Under Armour/IBM partnership will integrate data from IBM Watson into Under Armour’s health/fitness app. Pulling data from multiple sources, the app can recommend the best time and temperature to go for a run or catch classes at the local gym.
Customer experience is the trump card
- Technology that locks your computer when you walk away from it
- A bicycle that intelligently selects gears as you’re pedaling, in real time, based on your personal requirements
- A case that can alert you if you’ve misplaced your EpiPen, monitor your medicine’s temperature and expiration dates, and alert your designated support circle when the auto-injector is removed
Mr. Blau highlighted these examples of devices from CES that focus on the user in a way that’s meaningful in everyday situations, while also putting the individual in the driver’s seat. “I’m the content, it’s my world, and devices should help me,” he said.
Regarding the EpiPen example, he said, “Integrating a human hub into those touchpoints helps create a more valuable and holistic user experience.”
CES provides a glimpse into the future
Practical applications for devices that seemed like interesting ideas just a year or two ago are getting closer and closer, said Mr. Nguyen. “Thanks to the proliferation of sensors and algorithms that can intelligently process this data, we have smarter machines that can enable smarter experiences for people.”
Mr. Nguyen pointed to Nvidia’s DrivePX automotive artificial intelligence, now in its second generation, which enables cars to sense their surroundings and autonomously navigate, as one example. Similarly, he said, the true value of depth sensing was displayed at CES with Yuneec’s Phantom Typhoon H drone, which uses Intel’s RealSense technology to avoid collisions.
Another example is virtual and augmented reality. Mr. Blau said that these devices were mostly hype at CES 2015, but warranted their own section at CES this year.
“Games and entertainment are the focus now,” he said, “But by 2017, we expect to see head-mounted display (HMD) technology advancing to provide more believable virtual worlds and augmented experiences, making HMDs a valuable enterprise and business tool.”
Advice for CIOs and technology planners
The past couple of years of CES were about experimentation and probing, said Mr. Nguyen. “Now it’s about real solutions — refining products, interoperability and coalescing the ecosystem to sell products.”
Mr. Blau and Mr. Nguyen recommend that CIOs and technology planners:
- Set goals to create smarter and more personal products and services
- Make smart devices simple — not just accessible only for the tech-savvy
- Be innovative and quickly evolve for mass market consumption
- Join ecosystems, but don’t build your own
- Use new business models to outpace competition
- Rely on smart machine technologies to power user interfaces
- Plan to use immersive devices to create innovative customer experiences
Learn more about Mr. Blau’s and Mr. Nguyen’s insights on CES by viewing the replay of their webinar, CES 2016 Delights Consumers With New Forms of Personal Technologies.
Fore more technology related articles visit Smarter With Gartner website.