Managing Partner, Innovation and Consumer Technology at Wavemaker
How CES’s award winning technology provides actionable insight into what tech trends will proliferate in 2020.
Many people mistakenly assume CES is only about the tech. Sure, there’s gadgets and gizmos aplenty. But, if you take a step back, what CES really reveals is a glimpse into the trends that will impact consumers, brands, industries, and countries worldwide in the next 12-24 months, potentially shaping behaviors and uncovering opportunities for better connectivity and living.
One of my favorite ways to see these larger trends brought to life is through the annual CES Innovation Awards, “an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products.” Not only do you see the best of the best at the awards program, you also glean insight into what they signify for the coming year via technology already in or about to hit the marketplace. Of course, at CES there are also many Jetsons-esque prototypes that are interesting but lack the immediate or practical applications required to truly change behaviors and the way we live. So, a discerning eye is required to know what’s most important near- and long-term.
For example, moving the field of AR forward, Norm Glasses’ AR smartglasses look & feel like generic sunglasses while offering voice user interface, dual speakers, camera, a head-up display showing digital content, and, critically, can provide captioning for hearing impaired wearers and the ability to interact with digital content via voice or a remote assistant for blind wearers. Not only does it drive consumer interest and intrigue to demo this technology, it moves AR glasses from ‘cool to have’ appeal to actually leveraging technology to empower humanity.
Another example is Code Jumper, which makes learning how to code (usually a visual process) accessible to kids who are blind or visually impaired. It helps move something trendy (kids learning to code) to something that can be more uniformly embraced, adopted and applied into the lives of children globally, changing the skillset of the next generation worldwide.
While technology can be cool, it’s the utility offered that helps change and improve lives, and indeed the world. Here we get a real glimpse into the future. These are only a few examples of award winners that show how technology can change behaviors and set trends in new directions today and in the future.