From 9-12 January 2018, more than 180,000 entrepreneurs, manufacturers, retailers and techies gathered at CES® in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, to discover the latest gadgets, technological advances and next-generation innovations from major manufacturers and startups. The usual products — phones, self-driving cars, PCs, TVs and robots — were on display as well as those that offer a glimpse of a not-too-distant future.
The CES conference program highlighted key trends, emerging innovation and breakthrough ideas from more than 800 top influencers. This year, YPO launched its third annual YPO Innovation Week, which focuses on emerging technologies and new breakthroughs transforming a wide range of industries today, with its own cutting-edge content on multiple industry verticals at CES.
Six YPO members who attended CES share their top insights from the 2018 program:
The age of robotics and AI is no longer science fiction
“AI is now being used to better our lives,” says 1105 Media CEO Rajeev Kapur. “Take the PianoGo app on display. It uses AI to teach you to play the piano better. There were robots that folded your laundry from FoldiMate, suitcases that follow you like a puppy (like one from 90Fun, a Chinese company), and home assistants from Alexa to LG’s CLOi show that in the coming year the home will be easy to connect. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are being combined with everyday life to create a new category called MR (mixed reality). Microsoft and Oculus are leading the race here. AI, MR and robotics are in the early stages; these technologies will transform the way we communicate and educate the world. If we as YPOers and leaders do not embrace this tech, we will be left behind. No industry is immune to its benefits and/or competitive advantages.”
The future looks smarter
“Picture an on-demand autonomous electric vehicle allowing you to be more productive while transporting you to your destination,” says Kerr Group CEO Rod Kerr. “Interact with your augmented reality headset connected over a high speed 5G wireless network, travel through a smart city accessing data provided by connected internet of technology sensors. Your ride is paid for via facial recognition attached to your financial account using cryptocurrency. At home, your home automation system puts on your favorite song, turns on the lights. Your fridge lets you know you are out of milk and you ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to order more to be delivered via a drone. Your wearables stream your vitals and health data to your physician who recommends hyper-personalized medicine with the assistance of gene sequencing in your medical file. Your AI robot with emotional intelligence asks you how you are feeling in a human-like manner. The tech in your bed allows you to adjust the heat to stay consistent through the night while your sleep headband measures your brain waves and plays noise patterns to help you stay asleep.”
Connected devices connecting everything
“CES is no longer just consumer electronics,” says Nitrous Effect CEO and Chair of YPO Innovation Week Keith Alper. “It’s everything tech: hardware, software, devices, automotive, health care and more. The story this year is artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and connected devices. Companies are racing to include AI, VR and AR. Amazon’s Alexa is starting to be embedded in everything from cars to ovens. The speed of innovation, change and products continue at a fast pace and will leave non-adopters left in the dust.”
Health care taps into the emotional side of technology
“So much of what we typically hear and read about is the colder side of technology – how things work, how technology can do something for us in our lives,” says Stephanie Marchesi, WE Communications President of the Health Sector and Eastern Region. “We heard much more about how technology can make us feel emotionally. One development from TouchPoint is the potential for wearables to deliver bi-lateral alternating stimulation that changes the path of brainwaves, reducing anxiety and stress. While it is exciting that so many devices are being developed, if they are not standardized or integrated with one another, adoption, reimbursement, insights from the aggregated data, and meaningful patient outcomes will not be realized.”
Working together to create a more seamless experience
“Technology is the driver in business across every industry,” says Avangard Innovative CEO Rick Perez. “Fundamentally, a lot of companies create great widgets and great stand-alone technology. Most companies understand they are part of this puzzle, part of the supply chain, but have they figured out how to work together to create a better solution? That is the key: Having great technology with a great network, speed and the right configuration in its industry to drive value. Whoever can get this formula will win the race.”
A customer experience fueled by technology and data
“This year almost every company I came across touted themselves as a ‘technology company,’” says Faire, LLC President & Founder Kate Watts. “These successful bike makers, household appliance innovators and locally-sourced coffee growers are confusing a smart, well-architected user ecosystem that relies on scalable technology with an emphasis on data science and streamlined design with being a ‘technology company.’ This is, instead, a well-articulated customer experience that is powered by technology. To compete in 2018 and beyond, every company should be touting themselves as a ‘customer experience company’ above all else. The best brand customer experiences are those that collect the right data on a scalable tech platform and apply data science to all analytics efforts. As we rapidly approach a world run by automation and machine learning, those who have neglected to implement a sound data strategy will be left behind.”