Could CES be better?
What struck your imagination at CES,
the much anticipated trade show for leading edge developments this
Our head of digital Sarah Treliving
felt that overall whilst there's lots of products on show that do
cool stuff at the show, only a very few of them feel like they've
been designed for a current or urgent consumer problem.
Aside from many many more
ways to use Amazon's Alexa there seemed many fine gadgets on
display to play with. Otherwise tech developments for healthcare or
security needs received attention.
Products that caught my eye
in the reports included: A clothes folding robot (might be nice). A
TV that disappears (not an immediate requirement). A strap that
turns your finger into a phone (hmm). The development of 3d
printers for body parts (will be immensely important). Robot
doctors and connected hearing aids (will be revolutionary where
needed). Jeans that connect to your smartphone and vibrate to give
you directions might seem trivial, but could actually really be
useful for vulnerable people who don't want to publicise that they
don't know where they're going (eg young women on their way to a
club late at night). Of course there's still lots of news about
One commentator said this
about CES overall: "Silicon Valley innovation seems to be focussed
on one problem which is 'what my mother is no longer doing for me….
There's a culture of rich twenty-something young men imaging a
world that the rest of us might not want to live in".
Dr Jack Stilgoe, from UCL,
went on to critique developers for putting too much of a focus on
how to get the laundry sorted or food delivered and not enough on
real problems. The truth is that predicting the future is not a
precise business and that most of our lives are shaped by old tech
still. There needs to be a balance. A balance between hanging on to
the old and putting off change. Some people said that whilst CES
was exciting they had to sit in an old fashioned queue to try the
VR tech and that the vending machines were so old school that they
didn't work. Not that impressive for a conference that holds the
promise of solving real problems in the world.
If more women were involved
with the business of CES then would this help address the balance?
After all the lion's share of overall consumer purchasing decisions
is made by women.
As my book The Glass Wall
points out there's plenty of statistical proof that businesses do
better with more women at senior levels.
"There were precious few
women at the conference, I'd say less than 5% of attendees and I
was stared at non-stop", said one of the few women attendees at CES
Sounds like old school Glass
Walls are abundant in this conference that is meant to be future
by Sue Unerman,
Chief Transformation Officer