The landscape of CES is changing. The nature of new innovation at CES has shifted from blockbuster physical products to a focus on making online and mobile entertainment experiences faster, more efficient, more organized and more visual.
Beyond the trajectory of connected technology, there were few groundbreaking innovations on display at the 2012 show. Take TV’s for example. When flat screens first launched, it was one of the biggest stories at CES. It was truly about who would have the biggest and thinnest screen. Although large OLED displays, and improved 3-D TV technologies are cool, it’s clear that the real innovation is now in the way entertainment experiences are converging into one unified ecosystem of services and applications.
The theme of interconnectedness and convergence is driving three big innovation spaces:
1. Digital Health and Wellbeing
CES now includes a growing component devoted to rapidly evolving connected health solutions. At the 2012 show, these ranged from solutions like the Fibit Aria Wi-Fi Scale or the Valencell biometric data tracker, which monitors users’ physiological data through an ear piece. In the fitness and wellbeing category, there was a range of product solutions devoted to monitoring users’ fitness or tracking progress through participant competition. Companies like Nike and Motorola have seized the opportunity, with products like the Fuelband and MOTOACTV, which further illustrate the momentum in this space. For example, Motorola’s MOTOACTIV uses Bluetooth technology to allow users to enjoy a workout and then monitor performance directly on the device and online at the MOTOACTV Training Portal.
More importantly, large healthcare providers, like United Healthcare, now see CES as an opportunity to showcase a portfolio of mobile and online connected health solutions that begin to indicate how interconnected solutions will become an everyday component of our healthcare experience.
2. Connected Home
For several years now, interconnected technologies have been making an increased impact on the way we live at home. From security to entertainment, and from energy management to the way we connect with the world, all of these technologies are being ubiquitously integrated into the digital and physical “wiring” of our home environment. Managing and monitoring everything that surrounds our living environment can now be tracked as easily from the other side of the world as it is in an individual room. The most compelling solutions surround the way we bring more efficiency to our homes.
Integrating connected technologies in the home environment requires a high level of human connection and sensitivity to the user’s environment, both from a usability standpoint, as well as an emotional standpoint. One of the challenges is going to be how we, as designers, ensure technology and information do not overwhelm users.
CES has also seen an increase in convergence of technology and information within the automotive space. This year, the momentum continued with several major automotive brands, such as Ford, Mercedes, and GM, showcasing a range of entertainment technologies and display methodologies that focused on on-board screens and content delivery. These automakers are providing consumers with an integrated vessel, guiding, entertaining and even managing their personal wellbeing.
The integrated vessel was best showcased by Ford, who is marrying healthcare and mobility through its partnership with mobile health company WellDoc. Ford displayed an in-car health system that monitors the driver for issues such as congestive heart failure, asthma and diabetes. The system uses the Ford SYNC® connectivity technologies to connect data from cloud-based services
Expect the areas of digital health, connected home and mobility to not only continue to grow in their own right, but also to see a rapid acceleration in the interconnectedness between these segments as the cloud continues to provide an immediate channel for convergence.