Last year, in my summary of CES 2017, I wrote that we are at the dawn of The Third Connected Era , which built on the link (first connected era post 1993), mobility and social networks (second connected era post 2007) with three new connection paradigms:
1.Deep connections between data that enable machine learning that powers Artificial Intelligence. (AI)
2.Distributed computing and connections across a spectrum of objects that connect to everything resulting in the Internet of Things, including big things called automobiles (IOT).
3.New ways of engaging and connecting utilizing Voice, Augmented, Virtual and Mixed reality to enable communication and tell stories in new ways. (Voice/AR/VR/MR)
During CES 2018 these three key paradigms were in full force with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant dominating the halls as they vied to be another eco-system and platform, while the auto companies with demos of self-driving cars clearly illustrated that the next big thing in the Internet of Things is actually big thing called an automobile ! And the auto means auto for the first time!
And unsurprisingly everyone claimed their solution was powered by AI.
What was emerging at this CES were some key movements taking place within the broad framework of the Third Connected Era
- Sensing and Senses (S)
- Expansion and Encroachment (E)
- Augmenting and Accelerating (A)
These three movements are going to bring about a SEA of Change in our world this year and for many years to come.
1.Sensing/Senses: Increasingly due to AI and embedded chips more and more devices and technologies can anticipate what we need or take care of duties before we do. From cars that not only drive themselves but anticipate accidents to self-replenishing bots to a smarter Google Now that plans your routes and ensures just in time reminders, to medical systems that trigger warnings or call in for help, much of our lives are going to be anticipated.
In addition to Sensing technology one could see that our ability to feed our own senses is also going to be taken to another level. The dramatic increase in quality and affordability of new 4K OLED screens is going to take our video experiences to another level while non-tethered/ mobile and affordable VR systems from Google/Lenovo and Facebook/Xiaomi for $200 to $400 should allow us to sense new worlds and maybe a new level of empathy and presence.
2.Expansion and Encroachment: Every technology and every firm/industry is expanding and encroaching out of its category. Here were a few examples.
AI and Voice is expanding into everything. The TVs from LG and Samsung embedded Amazon or Google into their interface and credited their enhanced pictures less to hardware improvements than to software driven by AI enhancements. Automobiles boasted driverless cars due to AI and voice embedded into their systems including a customized new Voice interface from Mercedes.
The Chinese are here and dominated CES like never before. 1 out of every 3 exhibitors were Chinese firms and some called this the Chinese Electronic Show. And this time it was not just hardware or the little accessories in faraway sections but significant presence in software and services from companies like Alibaba. This encroachment is being somewhat pushed back as both Alibaba’s take over of Moneygram to further their Ant Financial eco-system and ATT’s distribution of Huawei’s new mobile device were both nixed for different reasons including security. Make no mistake with oodles of money, data and long term plans the Chinese are going to encroach and expand into AI, IOT and much more at scales that will bewilder.
3.Augmenting and Accelerating: We are on the cusp of a quantum jump in technology capability. Let us look at something we all care about greatly and our best friends which is the mobile phone. New chips from QUALCOMM and others will now allow for 20 hours and more of battery use. A key constraint to phones has been their need to be re-fueled. Now they will last longer and with the next generation of wireless charging can be re-fueled faster. While still a couple of years away one was already seeing demonstrations of 5 G technology which is 1000 times faster than 4G/LTE. Yes 1000 times!
So there you have it . We are now in a new connected era of AI, IOT and Voice/VR/AR which will be delivered by devices that are faster, run longer, speak and anticipate, all in a competitive environment that is far more intense and category overlapping than ever before!
So what should an individual and company do?
My recommendation are three fold
1.Replace Consumer with God: People will truly have God like power with these new technologies and it’s time to drop the word Consumer and simply figure out how our firms will please the Gods.
2.Go East to China rather than West to California: Stop fixating on trips to Silicon Valley. Less FANG (Facebook Amazon Nvidia/Netflix and Google) and more BAT (Baidu Alibaba Tencent)
3.Be Optimistic: We are about to enter a Golden Age of what humans and society can do and while there are scary things possible from privacy to job losses, the potential unleashing and empowering of people and society is what I believe in. Think growth and gain versus share loss and pain.
Be ready to sense more, expand yourself and accelerate into the future!