The future is now not tomorrow
We have technology in our homes today that was previously only seen in TV shows, film and books. Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report released in 2002, five years before the first iPhone, seemed to depict a future filled with impossible technology. In fact, Spielberg had hired futurologists to help predict where we would be in the year 2054. And within 15 years a lot of those predictions had come true. Just think about driverless cars, personalised ads, voice-controlled homes, facial and optical recognition and gesture-based computing. We are moving at such a pace now compared to previous decades it can be hard to know which technology to invest in or what to believe will be the next big thing.
Since our inception in 1997 we have had hands on experience of how technological advancements have impacted the way we work as an agency and on how we work with our clients. A key principle for us has always been helping our clients deliver world-class customer experiences powered by insight, technology and creativity. We’re always working to stay up to date with new and developing technologies to help with our thinking and the annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) which took place last week is one of the events that helps us. Take a look at some of key themes at this year’s show.
The smart home dominated last year’s event, and it was still an area of interest. In fact, connected hubs like the Amazon Echo and Google home have if anything given home automation an even bigger focus.
Smart home offerings will no doubt run the gamut from locks to thermostats to vacuums. And keep in mind CES has always been a big show for appliances from companies like LG and Samsung. Last year’s show saw a refrigerator sporting Bixby. It hasn’t exactly been a great year for Samsung’s smart assistant, but don’t be too surprised if Bixby starts popping up on washing machines, vacuums and the like.
2017 was the year that Amazon and Google really opened their respective assistants up to third-parties. Though that really happened toward the middle of the year, around the IFA show, as companies like Sony and JBL began releasing their own versions of Echo and Home, often with far better sound quality than either Amazon or Google were offering at the time.
LG already jumped the gun on the show by announcing a new Google Assistant-enabled speaker in amongst a deluge of different audio offerings. Assistants will also no doubt start creeping directly onto other pieces of third-party hardware for example, Garmin recently announced the Speak car plug-in.
Virtual reality has been a tent-pole CES attraction in recent years. For example, last year our sister company, Solstice launched Bosch VR automated driving at CES, an exciting way to give consumers an idea of what it is like behind the wheel of an automated driving vehicle and see the possibilities of the future when manual driving is no longer necessary.
The past year has seen the industry shift its focus somewhat toward augmented reality/ mixed reality and as with smart speakers, this could be the opportunity for third-parties to demonstrate capabilities on the existing platforms.
Another CES favourite in recent years, the wearable market was pretty tumultuous in 2017. It was up, it was down, sometimes people seemed to trend toward the low end of devices, sometimes everything appeared to be coming up smartwatch. In Autumn, last year Fitbit launched their Ionic smartphone range and Apple responded with their Apple Watch 3 pushing for the market dominance.
Whatever new technology dominates at CES it will remain a barometer for the industry. It helps inform our thinking for now and in the future to make sure we continually help our clients to deliver world-class customer experience.