CES 2018: Seven Early Impressions for Enterprises


The focus of the annual CES event has shifted recently, expanding from a consumer-only gadget focus to a much more broad spectrum of IT that impacts enterprises as well as end users. I’m at the CES in Las Vegas for the week, looking at how what’s being introduced applies to ISG’s clients among enterprises, service providers, and technology vendors. A more detailed view will be posted next week for subscribers to our weekly Research Alert update.

Early highlights and impressions include the following:

  1. The automotive market is connecting to the tech companies. The activity in the integration of automotive and technology sectors is staggering. Partnerships, investments, and new solutions abound between two previously distinctly separated markets. One company at the center of it is HERE, announcing new investments from Bosch and Continental while partnership with SAP and others. But there’s culture clash and integration challenges between the markets that will take time to work through.
  2. Consumer providers moving to business use cases. Panasonic is an example of a company making the shift from consumer electronics to businesses services – in its case supply chain logistics, entertainment venue services, and autonomous and electric vehicle components.
  3. Robots are invading. Perhaps nothing is more hyped by the media than the robots at CES. But the home robots seem limited in ability and a novelty likely to quickly fade after purchase. The most compelling robots serve warehouses and factories to improve efficiencies in operations.
  4. AI in a chip and voice activation are everywhere, but still limited. The hype is deafening around artificial intelligence and voice activation. Every technology provider claims its solutions use AI and support either or both of Amazon’s or Google’s voice technologies. And it’s now on chips, with innovations from NVIDA, Qualcomm, and others. But the AI applications remain focused, requiring high-quality data that most enterprises lack to create the needed training models.
  5. Early Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) promise. Emerging technologies are starting to connect the human brain to machines. BrainCo, for example, has a robotic hand controlled by the brain. BMIs remove some of the objections to machines making decisions, as is the case with AI.
  6. IoT is in everyone’s brochure. Yet, scaled use cases and ROI remain scarce. The consumer space is rampant with smart home technologies that don’t work together, offer limited benefits, and aren’t secure. Other applications such as smart cities remain hindered by procurement obstacles and interoperability challenges. But there are emerging use cases showing benefits in factories, farms, and some cities.
  7. Asia! The days of U.S. technology leadership are history. And much of the innovation comes out of Asia, including not only Japan but also China, Taiwan, and Korea. Their innovations include robotics, electronics, and transportation. Asia is also a rapidly expanding market for technologies.

Enterprises and their IT providers will remain challenged to adopt the right technologies for their business requirements. The good news is the options are many for any one problem. The bad news is that testing, integration, and procurement remain challenging with the pace of change. Clients will see follow-on analysis and guidance, beginning with next week’s weekly Research Alert.

Associated Insights