CES 2018: As cutting-edge as ever< return
The Consumer Electronic Show is a major international event held every year in Las Vegas that is a must for anyone wanting to learn about all the latest gadgets and technological innovations. In fact, it is the biggest annual event in Vegas and this year broke new records.
CES 2018 featured 3,900 exhibitors spread over 11 venues, covering over 2.75 million net square feet of show space! Organizers said it was the biggest exhibition in 51 years. Obviously, one cannot expect a single person to be able to tour the entire exhibition in the event’s four days.
And while its name suggests that it is first and foremost dedicated to consumers, I nonetheless got an up-close look at some exciting innovations for businesses.
Displays and screens
This year, slim screens generated a lot of buzz. Most of the suppliers showcased models designed primarily for consumers, but commercial screens did have their place. Contact-activated and contact-free touch screens, oversized LED displays, glasses-free 3D screens, you name it. I have to say I was impressed by LG’s screen wall with all its curves and colours.
Drones and robots
An entire section was devoted to drones, which are mainly used for video or surveillance purposes. Some of the drones could be quite useful for transporting merchandise or objects, but it was pretty clear that for this type of need, you were better off checking out the robotics. And indeed, this section was a treasure trove of variety. While some robots were designed for the home or for a health care setting, others held exciting potential for retail. Scanning barcodes, customer greeting and information; from the independently mobile to the fixed, the choices were nearly endless. Some were even capable of facial recognition or could generate demographic data, and one such robot revealed my true age. It’s a good thing that the age display feature was not used for the demo, as this slight indiscretion might have ruffled a few feathers! Joking aside, this is what prompted the robot cashier to suggest I might like a latte—apparently the most popular beverage among women my age. If it had been set up in a real café, I could have placed my order, paid for it and received my bill directly from the robot cashier.
The real issue with these robots, however, often lies with the language selection. Few of them are available in French, and it can be difficult to communicate with the Asian suppliers, whose skill in English is often fairly rudimentary.
Virtual and augmented reality
The number and variety of augmented reality eyeglasses was mind-blowing. Models that were innovative, lightweight, integratable into regular glasses, and much more discreet than we’re used to seeing. The retail applications, apart from employee training, covered the gamut from inventory management to assisted detection of display anomalies, and more!
On the virtual reality front, 3D scanning devices took centre stage. While some suppliers showcased advanced telephones that integrate this feature, others focused more on peripherals or software that can enable any phone—even the less powerful—to perform this scan. A fast and inexpensive way to produce 3D models!
Eureka Park: Startups from every field
Provenant de tous les coins du monde, les startups présentes au Eureka Park offraient des produits très variés. Prototypes, produits sur le point d’être commercialisés ou déjà sur le marché, il y avait de tout. Si cela rendait cette section assez inégale, on ne pouvait pas lui reprocher son manque de diversité et d’originalité. Cependant, certains produits ont une valeur ajoutée restreinte pour la plupart des commerçants. Par exemple, un mannequin qui s’ajuste à la perfection à des silhouettes particulières selon les paramètres entrés dans le logiciel associé. Si la fonctionnalité peut être séduisante pour les fabricants de vêtements sur mesure, son prix le place dans la catégorie des grands designers.
Hailing from all corners of the globe, the startups that presented at Eureka Park offered an extremely diverse range of products. There was everything from prototypes, to products that were about to launch on the market to those that were already on the market. While it made for a somewhat uneven section, there was certainly no lack of variety and originality. However, certain projects were of limited added value for the majority of merchants, such as a model that can adjust its shape perfectly to particular silhouettes, according to parameters entered in the associated software. The practicality may be seductive for custom clothing companies, but its price point places it exclusively in the class of the major designers.
Software solutions for business today
An indispensable element of today’s commerce, solutions and tools for online sales were on vast display at CES. One such product analyzes body shape so that customers can filter clothing selections to those that are most flattering to their silhouette and thus reducing the volume of merchandise returns.
An entire product category at CES 2018 was devoted to health and wellness, in which many exciting software applications and tools for health care professionals were exhibited. One made by a Quebec company particularly caught my attention. It allows you to provide patient follow-up on multiple levels. Specifically, it offers advice, reminds patients to take their medications or to renew their prescriptions, monitors side-effects, and links all of this information to the patient’s electronic medical record. Talk about enhancing the patient experience!
Well, I can’t fit all the innovations I saw in the four days into a single post, so stay tuned for my upcoming articles and video clips for more information on this epic event.
And bear in mind that as important a tool as technology may be for today’s business, it must be integrated into your business strategy. Developing the latter should involve in-depth research and judicious selection so you get the best return on your investment. Consult us for advice!