CES is the world’s largest consumer electronics gathering, which brings together organizations of all shapes, sizes, products, and technologies to showcase the latest in consumer electronics products and technology.
At the recently concluded CES2018 held in Las Vegas, I sat down for a discussion with some folks from Idean to talk about the trends emerging this year, the discipline of innovation, and much more.
What trends and innovations have you seen during your first day at this year’s CES?
Lanny Cohen (LC): There’s so much innovation here. I’ve sat in on various sessions today—some in artificial intelligence, some in digital money and currency, and others in retail and healthcare. There’s smart home, smart fitness, and smart sleep [technology]. Everything is becoming “smart.” It’s phenomenal and overwhelming.
But I like to focus on the subtle storylines—and on the subject of adoption. What are companies really doing in terms of how they adopt and consume technologies that are coming in great speed, with great implications? And what are the challenges? Those are the interesting things.
How do you track adoption and define that these technologies are becoming a reality?
LC: Is the vision in the company really cascading down? Are they changing the organization and business models at all? Are they recognizing that there’s a transformation that’s about to occur, or is it the same-old, same-old process? If so, then it’s more of a shiny object. You look for culture—are they changing their talent? Do they have a lot of software engineers?
Are they adopting techniques like design thinking?
Technology is obviously a big story. To me the bigger story is really around adoption. How are companies leveraging these things?
Is there something you’ve seen today that’s been adopted in a real way that you see as our true future?
LC: AI is really hitting a stride. Arguably, AI has been around since the ‘50s, when the term was first coined. But now you see smart everything. It’s phenomenal. In the last stroll we did, I don’t know how many beds we saw. Smart this, smart that. They monitor everything. And in the financial world—blockchain, Bitcoin, digital currencies. The demand is there in the consumer world. Consumers think, “Don’t force me to go buy another product or force me to figure out the pros and cons of this versus that. I have the technology and the platform. Make it work for me. Keep me current.”
We want to help the big companies get into a rhythm and serve their customers much better by applying innovation and core competencies.
How do I transform processes and reimagine the future as a company, integrate technologies into a legacy environment, and make sure I have the right talent in order to change my operating model?
I tend to think of it in three buckets: enabling new technologies, transforming processes to take advantage of technologies, and reimagining how the future could be different as a result. Our focus is on business outcomes. How can you adopt technology at speed and scale with a high degree of certainty?
What kinds of technologies should we expect to touch our lives in the next five years?
LC: The world of AR and VR, which will cause more breakthroughs and make technologies even more mainstream, making it more of a real tool. Another area is IoT—with innovation happening at the edge right now. We’re seeing so many devices that are more and more capable of generating their own analytics using their own processing power, without having to come back to the cloud. We’ll also see things like conversational commerce, which we’re really seeing the beginning of. We’re seeing a convergence between operation technologies and IT functions, primarily because of security, governance, and data. And blockchain is on the cusp of seeing much broader commercial adoption.