Every January Las Vegas hosts the International Consumer Electronics Show; this year it featured 20,000 product launches, over 3250 exhibitors and more than 150,000 attendees. Even though there is little direct correlation with the financial services marketplace and hence no point attending in person, the show coverage is an excellent way to look at the future trends which will emerge over the next few years and maybe affect the products we sell.
Sadly over the years the major players in the technology space have opted out of CES and chosen to announce product releases via their own press conferences, so you will not find the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google or Microsoft there.
This year’s CES did not disappoint however and a few interesting trends emerged. One of the most interesting changes was in the Digital Health Space where the number of exhibitors increased by 30% over 2012. This year we saw a number of Innovations in personal health ranging from Forks which monitor how fast you eat and vibrate to tell you to slow down (Hapifork), Wristbands, Headbands and devices which monitor your steps, heartbeat and now temperature and in real time map them into an app for your review. Follow this link for a good review of some of the best Health products shown at CES
In addition to healthcare there were a numerous new products released ranging from OLED and 4K televisions to Laptops, Tablets and Smartphone’s. One new phone concept has a colour screen on one side and an e-ink on the other (Yotaphone). Watches (Pebble) were also announced which sync with your Smartphone and show SMS, Emails, Weather plus Social Media Updates. There were also advances in in-car systems (Chevy MYLINK) which bring more of the tablet experience to the car.
At CES new manufacturing parts and processes were also shown and this year the next generation of Gorilla Glass (3) was demonstrated (this is a special type of glass used in Smartphone screens to prevent them from breaking). HzO showcased a manufacturing process which allows you to coat (Waterblock) an electronic device which then renders the internal workings waterproof. This product is hoping to enter the manufacturing lifecycle rather than as a post purchase add-on. There is a fully coated and waterproof Smartphone due to be released soon.
You may be asking yourself how any of the above will alter the way we sell products however technology is a great leveller and by leveraging the consumer’s choices it could certainly reduce premiums and change behaviours. The following are hypothetical; however could certainly happen:
- Would you offer lower premiums if your customers drove a car with built in monitoring that not only could record the telematics but also engage with you as a driver in real time to affect their driving patterns?
- Would you offer lower Mobile phone insurance if the phone insured was waterproof and had Gorilla Glass 3 and hence accidental damage claims were significantly reduced?
- Would you offer lower health insurance if the customer guaranteed via a device to take a minimum level of monitored exercise? What if warnings based on the body measurements were being monitored was sent warnings to your watch to alter your behaviour?