CES 2020: A Peep Into the Future of Consumer Tech

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More than 4,500 exhibitors sprawled across 2.9 million square feet, with 100,000+ visitors, spread across a few days. That sums up the scale of CES - the annual technology conference where the future is unveiled. CES 2020, held in the Las Vegas Convention Center, gave us a glimpse of the connected future. It was an exciting opportunity for Team Servify, represented by me, our Founder Sreevathsa Prabhakar, and other key members, to explore what’s in store in the coming years.

So many talking points emerged from the time we spent there, from smart home industries, to robotics, to new-age health tech and automobiles. Here’s what caught my eye the most and what should be exciting to watch out for: 

1. Foldable Display Tech

Samsung had showcased folding displays many CES’ ago but that same technology is now seen in actual phones like the Galaxy Fold. This year, several phone and computing OEMs showcased display tech with support for 5G. There were larger foldable and rollable screens on TVs and other large appliances too, but to have these products be more impactful will need more focus on the overall consumer experience. Especially in the post-sale experience, where we can add value to even the biggest players. 

2. Autonomous Vehicle Tech = Driverless Cities

While car makers have been making a lot of headlines at CES in the past, this year was quite surprising. Firstly, Sony came up with a concept car that took everyone by surprise. Secondly, another Japanese company, Toyota, showcased their plans for an ambitious driverless city. Mobility tech, equipped with sensors and AI, has truly found its place in such futuristic offerings, where autonomous and personal mobility vehicles can co-exist with pedestrians. Billed as a ‘city of the future’ the well-planned and thought out concept is said to transform urban life on the planet. 

3. Sensory Overload

While daily-use computing products have reduced drastically in size, we have also seen an emergence of on-wrist healthcare products. At CES 2019, Withings showcased a smartwatch which was equipped with ECG - and this year, they did one better. The ScanWatch, comes not only with an one-lead electrocardiogram for checking arrhythmia, but also has PPG (optical heart rate readings) and can engage in continuous monitoring for possible atrial fibrillation. 

There were many other use-cases of sensors all over CES, like the innovation highlighted by  Misapplied Sciences’ - which wants to make travel a lot easier. Their solution, placed strategically at airports, will use sensors to know who is standing in front of the screen and show them itinerary and other info in their own language. 

4. Plant Based Alternatives to Meat

A quick mention to the people who are cooking more of their ‘impossible’ brand foods. Last year, the Impossible Burger 2.0 left people confused whether they were consuming real meat or a plant-based alternative. This year, they continue to envision healthier alternatives with the announcement of their Impossible Pork - a man-made substitute. They really are shaking up the food industry at a time when climate change is being discussed at the highest levels of Government, everywhere in the world. 

5. The Minimal Phones?

Phones with minimal bezels - to virtually none. And now phones with literally no buttons on it. Sounds like another ‘impossible’ product that will only be a concept showcased at CES? Well, not if what we saw from a California based company comes to fruition. And why won’t it, since OEMs like Asus and HTC and even Google have made use of pressure-sensitive gestures to perform various tasks. Senton, a company based in San Jose, relies on a combination of a piezoelectric sensor and a strain gauge to mimic a physical button. 

But What About Consumer Experience?

While voice-based assistants can be added to pretty much any ordinary appliance and make it smarter, the overall consumer experience is elevated only if their usage and every interaction after purchase is delightful. Servify’s integration with all ecosystem partners in the post-sale experience enables it to empower the overall experience of products sold not only today but those which will soon be making their way from CES to our homes.

How will that be possible? By executing solutions from our deep learnings that we’ve already discovered in the past few years of our existence. These innovations might not be as eyeball-grabbing as the products at CES but they sure will make the device ownership experience a whole lot better. 

- Laurie Banks
Business Head - Americas

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