Thinking

Jan 15, 2020

Unseen at CES

The three things you did NOT see at CES...

By
Karel J. Golta

Of course, Las Vegas is bling-bling and big shows, and we feast on CES being ist yearly kick-off for celebrating the biggest trends and future outlook on tech and consumerism.

But this year was more special than ever. It was not only the first show of a decade people call pivotal but also the first show after Greta speaking the 「how dare you」 words.

You might have seen many big trends from CES 2020, but here come the three biggest trends invisible at CES:

Tech for a better world

Obvious and sad, despite one single talk on 「integrating sustainability thinking into new product development」 with tech giants like Google and Dell, acting as a fig-leaf fort he organizers, and an award category 「tech for a better world」 where 「better」 meant more money for an investor driven society, there was no tech, product or concept truly stopping the rise of energy consumption, helping to systemically reduce waste or start with consumer centric circularity.

Sure, what was I to expect… It’s a consumer show after all! But wouldn’t you agree: CES would make a great platform for society transforming tech-innovations. Rather than innovation-substitution.

Ubiquitous

Panasonic immersed visitors with ist HomeX Platform Approach into a future where your smart home, empowered through advanced analytics and learning algorithms, adjusts invisibly to all your needs. From personalized environment controls that follow you around the house adjusting temperature, humidity and light depending to your mood. To anticipating what you favor for tonight’s dinner and displaying you all nutritional information and the table as you eat. Think of all the services, such a ubiquitous and mostly persuasive system could deliver. For god and bad.

In any case, the demonstration proved lively how much our common behavior would have to change to accept the invisible.

Seamless experience

LG, Haier, Samsung, TCL, Bosch you name it–all presented kitchen innovations. Most had huge displays on their devices (not new but they are getting bigger), some integrated robotic arms, helping you to cook or wash the dishes (folks, I have a dishwasher!). Others had fridges with built in cameras telling you what you had in store, proposed what you could cook from or order online missing items. But none of these giant corporations had a working concept for a seamless and user-centric experience. The most classical user-journeys of any user that cooks in a kitchen were broke. Smart in-home inventory tracking (not just a fridge), personalized content/recipe interlaced in real-time with the devices I need to cook with, local grocery store supply-chain systems that pushes surplus notifications to households so web e buy what is there and waste less food, and so many features more that are individually available but neither a platform nor a device manufacturer had the courage to link and therefore provide a new value you can experience.

At the bottom line, CES is a brilliant show for tech and consumerism not for sustainability or privacy by default (neither for diversity or equality – although the header pic might be misleading). Maybe that will change over the next decade but not for 2020.

Photography courtesy oft he Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® . Credits to „CES®".

Read also: CES 2020, the showstopper

Karel J. Golta

Managing Director

Karel, CEO and founder of INDEED, is Swiss but far from being neutral. When he's not planning "the next big thing" with clients, you can controversially discuss with him the value of design. And above all, how design preserves humanity in the age of AI and automation.

The
Mensch


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