If there was one overriding theme to CES2017, it was that emerging technology progress seems to be accelerating, with new products and uses spreading across every conceivable human endeavor. My observations from an intense four days in Las Vegas include highlights on the hot trends, examples of some very cool new products, and what it all means for the insurance industry. There were many important and interesting new products announced, although there was the usual assortment of head-scratching items such as a smart hair brush (pun intended), levitating speakers, and a smart bikini.
There are always many articles in the popular press about the hot trends coming out of CES each year. My perspective on the trends has some different twists than the usual.
- Moving from smart to intelligent: More smart objects are now adding AI components to automate recommendations and activate decisions.
- Emerging tech convergence: In many cases, there are two or more emerging technologies that have been leveraged to create a new value proposition.
- French tech rising: French entrepreneurs were at the CES in force. There seems to be a new wave of emerging tech startups and activity in France, and companies now expanding into North America.
- No segment missed: Devices and solutions are available for babies, kids, the elderly, the disabled, athletes, and every other imaginable segment.
- The robots are coming: 2017 is poised to become the year of the personal robot. Robots for household chores, elder care/companions, and other applications continue to advance.
There was no shortage of creative, cool new products at CES2017. A few select examples illustrate the range of technologies and use cases for emerging technologies.
- Wearable Airbag: A jacket designed for use by individuals and professionals at higher risk of accidents and injuries, such as skiers, motorcyclists, or construction workers. A fall triggers airbag inflation which reduces injuries. (by inEmotion)
- Personal safety wearable: A small device with cameras and sensors to protect individuals in areas or situations that may be unsafe. (by Occly).
- Equine wearables: Devices to be worn by horses that monitor their location, health, and training progress. (by Equisense)
- Smart Devices for Helmets: Helmet attachments for existing helmets for communication (by Analogue Plus) or brake lights (by Cosmo Connected).
- AI driven chess board: The Square Off board enables chess players to play a virtual match with anyone across the globe and has AI components for training at different levels (InfiVention Technologies).
There is no doubt that solutions based on emerging technologies are available for an increasingly wide range of situations. It is essential that insurers keep a finger on the pulse of emerging technologies and the new products and solutions that continue to hit the market. Insurance customers across all lines of business will increasingly be adopting these types of smart, tech-enabled products. There are many opportunities for insurers to partner with or invest in startups, create new value propositions for their customers, help customers reduce their risks, and find new ways to communicate with customers. It is a fast-moving space, and it may be difficult to determine which companies and products will be successful. But innovative insurers must experiment and participate as they reshape the insurance industry.