CES, despite its “Consumer” focus, has also become a home for enterprise technology; emerging tech trends for business were easier than ever to find on the show floor this year. At CES 2020, AI and Analytics were discussed as hotly as the latest PCs and 8K TVs.
There was a lot of buzz in 2020 about enterprise technology, and applications for tech that have consumers and entrepreneurs just as excited. Here are just a few emerging trends that all business owners should be aware of:
The Consumerization of IT, and the new “Smart Office”
High tech consumer products have made their way into the office. Smart displays, voice activated assistants, and artificial intelligence have all been adopted to improve both the customer and employee experience. Businesses have adopted consumer products for both conference rooms and workstations, but innovations unique to businesses were common at CES this year. This industrial “Internet of Things” can help every department improve efficiency and achieve improved results.
- Smart Displays – From displays that roll away when not in use, to desktop/laptop hybrids with folding screens, to productivity helpers at your desk, smart displays appear anywhere work is done- helping us stay on task, on topic, and onto the next priority.
- AI is Everywhere – Artificial intelligence seeped into so many products this year, too, and business applications are no exception. From “deep product learning” platforms that digest customer feedback to identify new markets, to virtual companions that can help us in our personal and professional lives, AI has never been more powerfully applied before in history, and there are still so many developments ahead. Combining machine learning with in-depth data analysis is leading to a shift in marketing from predictive reporting to diagnostic reporting; machines will become better at telling us how best to meet our customers, and what they’d like to hear from us about.
- Voice Activated Productivity – Voice recognition tech is helping people everywhere do more work, and do it well. Whether these technologies are in our cars, streamlining international communications, or reading our monthly reports to us while we get ready for the day, tech is enabling us to say the word, and get it done.
Health, and Wellness
Health and wellness products abounded at CES this year, bringing with them “smart” ways to sleep better, eat better, and exercise better; there were even sexual wellness products with smart features on display. Technology is revolutionizing preventative, affordable health monitoring, and tailoring it to individual wants and needs.
- Wearables – smart watches are embracing new tech, giving them longer battery lives, more health monitoring features, and better displays.
- Trainer Apps – Using your phone to recognize your voice, watch your form, or record every workout’s stats to push yourself, athletes of all levels can access more personalized training.
- Less-Invasive Treatment – From allergies to diabetes, tech is providing better care to people without pills or needles, making alternative and effective treatments possible.
- Mobility/Accessibility – New engineering designs for wheelchairs will transform our understanding of what accessibility needs will look like in the future. Rehabilitation from injury can become gamified. Movement, gait, and vision problems are getting improved technical assistance. These tech trends for business will help our workplaces and public spaces become more accommodating and accessible to everyone.
WiFi 6 and 5g are Coming – But Not Right Away
While plenty of brands are touting 2020 as the “year of 5G,” the market seems to still be riding more on hype than applications for now. However, at CES, the possibilities for the next generation of internet were touted as the future of connectivity. WiFi 6 is coming, and 5G isn’t just for phones; it’s for PC’s, vehicles, and infrastructure. Here are the benefits of these new networks:
- More Bandwidth – More devices will be able to connect to the internet, allowing businesses the ability to increase device density on their networks, and offer better connective services to their customers.
- Higher Speeds– Our ability to wirelessly process data will go WAY up with WiFi6 and 5G, allowing upload and download speeds to significantly increase.
- Lower Latency – this is one of the most exciting things about the newest generation of internet; it will take significantly less time to communicate with servers, allowing near-real-time events. The applications of this may seem small, but in high-risk scenarios like a doctor controlling a surgery bot or handling vehicle communication in high speed traffic, it could make the difference between life and death.
Tech and “real life” are increasingly blending, to the point where our interactions with it are becoming normal background noise in our everyday lives. Rather than connecting to the internet only from a desktop or phone, tech is everywhere; in our appliances, clothes, cars, public spaces. These innovations are less “in-your-face” but still extremely helpful:
- Tech as Décor – technology used to stand out, but more enterprises are focusing on where it can blend in to home and office environments. Turning any surface into a smart display, augmented reality devices, and technology that combines aesthetic with function were hot topics this year.
- Personalized Physical Spaces – Could the smart home of the future be fully customizable? GE debued “Shift,” a fully customizable kitchen that can accommodate the needs of each user, and inspired what the home (or office) of the future could be.
- Responsive Surfaces – UltraSense made huge waves this year as a breakthrough in touch technology; it can turn nearly any surface into a touch interface, regardless of material or thickness, and integrate it into an IoT ecosystem.
Convenience vs. Security and Privacy
Of course, with all these advancements in technology, and the convenience they provide, there are risks. Facial recognition, health statistics, responsive homes; the data consumers provide companies is getting even more in-depth and detailed, prompting discussion around how that data will be protected in the future. Cybersecurity is no longer an enterprise-only trend. It is a mainstream conversation, tied to the function of our everyday lives.
What were your favorite tech trends for business from CES? Let us know in the comments!