The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show is wrapping up, and I'm now expecting my whole life will be run by a robot.
If you walk through Eureka Park, the startup expo at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, you might feel the same way. While we might be a few light years out from some of these technologies going mainstream, you still need to pay attention to a few key takeaways for your own company.
Here are the three biggest advancements I learned about that you need to know for your own business planning:
This Is The Voice
If you are not moving towards voice recognition, you are going to be left behind. Everything--and I mean everything--from speeches to products at CES included a focus on voice integration. Cars, instruments, toilets, TVs, and one of the most popular ones, trash cans.
Vesper, which makes piezoelectric microphones, was awarded a CES Innovation Award honoree for its VM2020 microphone, which will be commercially available for smart-home devices by mid-2019. Amazon has made adding Alexa to products extremely simple, by offering it on a single chip. Google just announced a similar tool, Google Assistant Connect.
Your customers want speed and efficiency. Whether that means thinking about integrating Alexa into your services or a more simple streamlining of communication with your customers, keep up and get ahead of this trend.
As a former United Nations humanitarian, I loved seeing technology supporting humanity. You can always think of ways your technology can help your fellow man or woman.
Zero Mass Water, for example, is partnering with Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint, Michigan, and Neighborhood Start Fund founder (and Grammy-winning rapper) Lupe Fiasco to discuss the importance of using technology to help provide safe and clean drinking water. The product they're promoting, Source Hydropanel, makes clean water from sunlight and air, according to the company.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and IBM have created a partnership to develop technology aimed at better tracking the onset and progression of Parkinson's disease. One startup, Life Door, stood out to me as a resident of fire-prone Northern California: Its product is a device that automatically closes doors when smoke detectors go off. Closed doors slow the spread of flames, smoke, and noxious fumes.
I'm a strong believer that every company has the opportunity to be a "triple bottom line" business--benefiting people, planet, and profit. Maybe you have an overt life-saving mission. Maybe you ensure that strong, positive values permeate across your business units. Either way, remember your footprint as you build.
Wearables For Me
Everyone's used to smart-watches and fitness trackers now. That's why I was excited to see new wearables made for other everyday needs.
For example, Willow and Elvie both unveiled wearable, hands-free breast pumps. I hated pumping when nursing, so any advancement here is welcome. A pumping device that lets you keep moving forward with daily tasks is a great idea and will be profitable.
Anyone over forty should look at DFree, a health medical device designed by Triple W that also won a CES Innovation Award. It alerts you when your bladder is full and it's time to go to the bathroom. Plenty of folks on Twitter are wondering why anyone could possibly need this. This, of course, makes me giggle and think, "You're clearly under 40 and haven't given birth."
Sure, extreme wearable innovations are fascinating. It's the technologies people can use for the non-sexy everyday moments in their lives, though, that are highly scalable. Your company might be sitting on the most obvious daily solution for folks like you and me.
Is anyone else ready for a nap and some clean air? CES was an incredible experience. I heard from dozens of entrepreneurs and corporate executives that their pockets are now completely full of business cards and pages of notes. (If you're one of them, you should check out the resources my company has compiled on the best way to follow up after big events and meetings.)
In the meantime, I've driven myself home to fold my own laundry, feed my own dog, and cook my own food. We're still a few years out from technology solving everything, but I'm inspired to embrace technology to make the world a better place.