Jan 14, 2019 | By Sarah Housley
Big data meets consumer insights. Experience WGSN.
At WGSN, we like to bring the trends to life (from self-driving cars to voice controlled gadgets). And so, recently we launched a series of talks, focused on key trends and future-thinking themes.
Sadly I couldn’t fit my Amazon Alexa in my bag, or I would have had it on stage with me, as I spoke live from our third event. The theme? A close look at the impact of tech and the noteworthy innovations that we spotted at CES, innovations which are set to change the tech game and the way consumers seamlessly interact with their gadgets.
Check them out below:
THE FUTURE IS A BIT LIKE THE TV SHOW THE JETSONS, BUT THE CARS WILL DRIVE THEMSELVES.
After initial announcements two years ago, CES 2017 saw auto brands commit to firm timelines to launch self-driving cars: Ford has committed to launching a fully autonomous vehicle in 2021 (see the video below), and Audi to offer an autonomous vehicle by 2020. And for those automobile brands not going full steam ahead with this idea, they are at least integrating some of these elements: Faraday Future’s production car, the FF91, has a self-parking function, while Nissan announced that its next Leaf EV will self-drive on highways.
Honda took it even further, its vision includes the idea that self-driving cars could earn money for their owners by driving others when not in use. Which raised the question is this the Sharing Economy 2.0? And will this potenitailly make uber drivers obsolete?
YOUR VOICE WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
Amazon’s Alexa voice control service is this year’s break-out tech (and in fact you are probably checking the weather on your own Alexa device right now, stay with me). Amazon anticipated up to 40 integrations of Alexa at CES, but there were many more; from LG’s Smart InstaView fridge to Canon’s voice-activated printer. Other voice services, such as Sony’s Xperia Agent and Simplehuman’s voice-controlled bin, are competing for market share. The key question is: which products will consumers want to talk to? And how will you maintain the strength of your brand name so that it’s the first thing consumers ask for rather than just saying generic terms like ‘gum, candy or pants’.
FORGET ‘JE NE COMPRENDS PAS’, THEY’LL BE NO MORE LANGUAGE BARRIERS
Globalisation is driving cross-cultural communication like never before, with real-time translation breaking the language barrier (cue no more miscommunicated hand signals, or the need to repeat the word in English, JUST VERY LOUDLY, in the hope of being understood). Designed with business travellers in mind, Panasonic’s Multilingual Translation system are headphones connected to a speaker system (via a tablet) that translates multiple languages at once. Panasonic sees the hubs being used in retail and hotels.
Then there’s Mymanu’s Clik smart earbuds and microphone, which promises to translate 37 languages in real time. Priced at £155, the earbuds are available for shipment in May. Though not present at CES, exhibitors and attendees were buzzing about these sleek, real-time translators.
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