At CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2015, connected products were prevalent everywhere one looked, from cars, to health and fitness, to the home. These trends continued at CES 2016 January 4-8 in Las Vegas, and expanded.
Expanded in that these connected products are becoming increasingly "smarter" by including cognitive technology, and interactive as with the connected car communicating with the smart home. Following are three key trends and developments from the show:
- Although the full potential of the connected car has not been achieved, at CES, automotive manufacturers and their consumer electronics partners are already talking about the future of the connected car. Over the air software updates happen today with some vehicles and service alerts are communicated – but performance and usage information flowing back to the manufacturer for continuous product quality, improvement, and innovation is not a widespread practice. Still, electronics manufacturers like Samsung and Panasonic, and automotive suppliers like Bosch are leading the advancement of capabilities in the car that enable control of home functions such as security, temperature, even entertainment.
- Most large automotive manufacturers have an autonomous vehicle project – Mercedes, Audi, and Ford have all discussed this in the past year, and Ford announced this year that they are tripling the size of their autonomous vehicle testing fleet in 2016. Dr. Gil Platt from the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) gave a presentation about TRI's work on the enhancement of machine learning for autonomous cars, supported by a $1B investment from Toyota. The focus with TRI is on improving the ability of autonomous cars to handle complex driving so that multiple autonomous vehicle mandates can be met.
- IBM's CEO Gini Rometty spoke of her company's work to create the "cognitive cockpit", enabled by Watson. She also spoke about the power of cognitive technology infused into the IoT (Internet of Things) – that this is "the future she sees in front of us." Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich stated at the beginning of his presentation that customers are choosing experiences over products, a mantra preached by design & engineering software companies such as Dassault Systemes and Autodesk for years. The cognitive cockpit, or analytics dashboard (call it what you will), that ties products to the manufacturer can better enable these experiences.
Perhaps the most important reinforcing point from CES for manufacturers of connected and cognitive products to keep in mind is that customers want experiences over products, and analytics is the key enabler of this. One big challenge with connected products that have very complex value chains is understanding structured and unstructured data and acting upon it in context so that consumers have the best possible experience with a product. For cognitive products, recommendations, decisions, and action take place within the device, robot, or vehicle; but there is other information related to that product – manufacturing, quality, performance, usage, supply chain, environmental impact – that can be tied to relevant product, quality, manufacturing, service, and supply chain systems. This is why the product innovation platform, or extended PLM across the enterprise, is an important approach that many manufacturers across industry are moving toward today.
For detailed analysis of the manufacturing view of CES 2016 and our essential guidance, you can read my upcoming Perspective, "CES 2016: Products Increasingly Connected, and Cognitive", to be published this week.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback at email@example.com.