A smart kitchen, smart scales, smart helmets, smart watches, smart robots, smart locks, smart TVs, smart cars… this is what I saw at CES 2019. CES is an event that brings 180’000 people together annually to showcase new smart innovations and products in Las Vegas, USA. I went there with a lot of excitement to see what the new trends of consumer electronics are. It was such an overwhelming experience that I started to think: what kind of intelligence do we really need, and what makes the difference between killer innovations and the nice-to-see ones?
Creating value with intelligence
Future trends are clear. The next generation of products in the consumer market should be smart and easy-to-use. Companies want to add intelligence into their products, but intelligence doesn’t only mean gathering new information - but also the knowledge of how to make this information meaningful for the average consumer. Smart products typically gather data from sensors or directly from users and then use this data to make informed decisions.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning play an important role in increasing the level of intelligence in the next generation of smart products. In addition, user interfaces, more and more realized by voice control, help us to use these smart devices. However, we should not forget that intelligence and ease-of-use are not the only things that matter. These smart products should also create real value for their users.
When information is key
More than a year ago, our CEO wrote in his blog about future homes and how to make them even smarter. It has been expected that by 2020 there will be 40 billion connected devices inside ordinary homes. The trend is clear not only in homes and the consumer industry, but also in agriculture and the process industry. More information should and will be gathered - and more and more intelligent products should and will be developed.
In the future, everything will be based on information and how reliable this information is. Spectroscopy is known to be a very powerful tool in material sensing and providing useful data, and it will definitely be able to bring new opportunities to everyday life. This is already happening to some degree, and in the future, material sensing technologies will bring further information and help to build innovative and intelligent next-generation products.
At this year’s CES I was, of course, impressed by all the new innovative product concepts showcased by big companies. But I still wasn’t quite sure whether I would need all of them or if they would bring any added value to my daily life. I spent most of my time at Eureka Park, an area filled with technology pioneers and their great ideas, and it’s highly likely that I saw some early stage unicorns there. I felt the excitement when they were pitching their ideas to me and thousands of other visitors. I also found a few companies for whom we at Spectral Engines could be able to offer some further help. It was particularly interesting to exchange experiences with brilliant AI companies who wish to revolutionize their industry.
Though CES was amazing this year with a myriad of new exciting products, we should not forget what’s really important. We can develop many new smart products, but at the end of the day, we as customers will decide whether this intelligence is meaningful for us or not, and vote with our feet at the home electronics stores. At Spectral Engines, we truly believe that embedded spectral sensors could have a huge impact on many of the innovative concepts shown at CES.
Meaningful intelligence – for even smarter and more successful products!
By Janne Suhonen, CCO, Spectral Engines