CES is about showcasing the latest tech innovations, which doesn’t always correlate well with what people want. Yet this year the key gadgets seemed more aligned to the current zeitgeist.
People today seem more stressed, tired, overwhelmed and distracted than ever because we’ve added more media and choices to our lives. From brain wave radiating massage chairs to brain calming headsets to apps aiding mindfulness, there seemed to be a range of products to help us retain calmness. Brands that help us decide and navigate choice will be more important than ever.
Historically, we’ve seen Chinese companies mirroring what was developed elsewhere, but this year we saw them offering more innovative products – TV companies like Changhong and TCL, drone makers like DJI and handset makers like Huawei seemed to have some of the most outlandish, interesting, bold and pioneering designs – proving brands need to look east for inspiration and in all sectors.
Software can improve products overnight, but not hardware. This year we saw an array of physical add ons to enhance older devices – from parking sensors and adaptive cruise control to FIBARO which connects older devices to Z-Wave, a wireless communications tool used for home automation. Brands should think about the long-term feeling of ownership vs. what they buy once.
Technology has primarily focused on the young, healthy, wealthy and curious. Changing demographics have led to more tech solutions for the fragile/vulnerable – new wearables for the elderly, an array of personal safety devices (smart canes; Hyundai’s walking car) and the rise of voice as an interface. Brands should work with technology to help solve problems faced by the many, not the lucky few.
Written by Tom Goodwin, Head of Innovation, Zenith