It’s incredibly exciting how rapidly technology is evolving to deliver better and simpler customer experiences. In this regard, the latest ideas were presented at the »Consumer Electronics Show«, commonly known as CES in Las Vegas.
Instead of mere prototypes, innovations presented there this year offer concrete, usable applications in many areas and pave the way to a future in which machines get to know our personal preferences in order to better adapt each experience to our needs. But of course not at any price.
Technology promises intelligence
For example, self-driving cars are becoming increasingly important. Honda presented their autonomous Work Vehicle that supports people in various (work) activities. The vehicle can follow employees or transport heavy materials to their desired destination.
The use of such vehicles is also gaining momentum in agriculture. John Deere unveiled an intelligent seeding, fertilising, and mowing solution for its harvester fleet that uses 140 sensors and a high-precision GPS system to pinpoint exactly where pesticides or fertilisers are to be sprayed. Remember: Exact agriculture and intelligent farming. This also results in intelligent services for an annual subscription model that other manufacturers such as Caterpillar already offer.
Other industries, such as health and beauty, have also recognised the potential of smart devices. After all, people want more and more control and knowledge about their own state of health. IBM presented two of the biggest innovations at the show. An AI-enabled IQcast feature helps people with diabetes better predict when they’ll experience a low-blood glucose event within an upcoming 1-4-hour window. In addition, a fingernail sensor prototype measures how a fingernail flexes and moves continuously throughout the day to indicate grip.
In addition, every day (mobile) devices are also equipped with AI features. For example, Jabras headphones can automatically adjust the headphone volume to suit the user’s environment.
Technology promises personalisation
Sensors, cameras and microphones use generated data to provide the user with more comfortable and personalised experiences. Smart homes and smart cars are more often equipped with smart devices and are perfect ecosystems to realise this potential. The more data a machine collects about user behaviour and user emotions, the better its performance.
With Space of Emotive Driving, Kia shows how a cabin recognises emotions of a passenger’s facial expression and pulse and then adapts lighting, music, air conditioning, and scent to it.
Harman’s Neurosense technology is a built-in camera system that recognises a driver’s emotional state through their facial expression.
The Future X Smart Store by Procter & Gamble offers a personalised shopping experience based on face recognition technology. After a scan of your own face, the visitor receives product recommendations that are tailored to their skin and the estimated age.
Technology promises connectivity in real time
Implementation of a fast mobile standard 5G was a very important topic at the fair. High response times are particularly relevant to a final push of IoT because, for example, smart cars or networked port terminals can communicate faster with each other. This isn’t just relevant for the auto industry, but also for other areas such as gaming or telemedicine.
At CES, however, almost no 5G devices were presented, but many demos that show what 5G can do. Qualcomm expects more than 30 5G smartphones in 2019, which are powered by 5G-enabled chips (Snapdragon 855). Samsung has also announced at a CES press conference that their first 5G smartphone will be introduced by the middle of the year.
It’s expected that a starting signal for 5G will be finalised in the first half of 2019. In South Korea, 5G networks were already enabled in early December 2018 for the masses. In the US, various operators are preparing their networks to the new standard, while in Germany there are still many discussions and some test phases.
But does technology promise privacy?
As consumers demand higher personalisation and service standards, they are increasingly aware of the power of their data. They want to have the last word about the use of their data. That’s why technology companies must proactively and transparently communicate how this data is used and protected.
However, CES hasn’t yet recognised the urgency of this issue, even though technology and data are inextricably linked. Just three out of 300 sessions devoted themselves to the recurring theme of privacy. But it is not too late to put the handling of consumer data more into the debate.
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