It’s been 365 days since the last Consumer Electronics Show, and wow. Amazing how much has changed in the world of technology and consumer electronics. But equally interesting to note is how much has stayed the same.
After spending just a few hours listening to some of the most brilliant minds in the industry, one thing is crystal clear: The world is evolving. Rapidly. And above any microtrend that’s been predicted for weeks leading up to this year’s show (expansion of wearables, hype of 4K, introduction of new smart home appliances, addition of materials in 3D printers, etc.), I’m seeing even bigger concepts emerge: Connectivity and Data.
Everything from autonomous vehicles to drone technology to “smart” ANYTHING are all being developed around the idea of a closed loop, totally customizable, fully integrated shift in how we live and interact.
Beyond the introduction of any new tangible device, CEA and CES are now showing us how to link every function of our day-to-day lives using technology. From the time we wake up with our smart watch tracking our sleep patterns to our breakfast of preprogrammed coffee to a commute to work in a vehicle built to our personal preferences to an automatic switch of music from headphones to a speaker blasting your favorite song just by entering a room to preheating an oven with a phone and being alerted of a water leak in the basement with an app. It’s all connected, and it all hinges on the collection and application of data.
Even CEA’s Steve Koenig said the most exciting disruption over the next five years isn’t a device or innovation – it’s that nearly 2.5 billion people will have access to the Internet for the first time, dramatically changing culture, politics, economics and so much more. That’s connectivity. That’s a world powered by data. That’s what will continue to drive the Internet of Things (IoT).
But IoT comes with considerations of course. Privacy. Security. Bandwidth. Ethics.
We need to be ready to address these head-on, embrace the imminent change and quickly adapt to – and help shape – a world that Samsung’s CEO BK Yoon envisions is “always on, always connected.”
2015 (and really, the next five years) is going to be filled with disruption and change. We’ll see partnerships forge, integration expand and saturation worsen – all made possible by the richest form of currency in the world: Personal data.
It’s exciting. It’s terrifying. And it’s not a thing of the future – it’s here. It’s already happening.
Amanda Vasil is Change Agent at AKHIA.