Our flights are booked and we will be heading out to CES in January! As we pack our bags (and extra battery packs), we’ve been researching trends and figuring out how these announcements will affect the market. There’s a lot to dig through, to be sure, so we’re going to drill down and talk about things we are passionate about: incredible product and user design, accessibility in technology, connected healthcare, even smarter smart homes, and enhanced auto tech. If you’re overwhelmed, we can help you make sense of the tech for your business. Here are four things you should look for:
Designing software with accessibility at the forefront, not as an afterthought
“Nearly one in five individuals today report having a disability, but this number will rise as the baby boomer generation ages. To help this at-risk population address the lack of accessibility in the disability community, many experts have turned to technology. Tech companies have entered into this market that represents $1 trillion in annual disposable income” (Consumer Technology Association).
Everyone involved in the production of software (developers, designers, QA, project manager, etc.) plays a role in its success and usability. This is also true for accessibility. There are standards for web accessibility, and the BBC has an excellent set of guidelines for the development of mobile and native websites and apps. But these standards are a set of suggestions and best practices, not rules and laws — not everyone follows them, and that leaves many users out in the cold when it comes to accessing necessary technologies. As designers, there are many steps we can take to support accessibility before development begins.
“As more and more of life is related to software and how well it works, making software that everyone can use is moving from merely important to absolutely necessary.”
Bill Camp, VP Sales and Marketing, Detroit Labs
Putting healthcare in the hands of the consumer
“Technology is putting healthcare directly in the hands of consumers. From remote monitoring products to wearables to diagnostic solutions, the healthcare industry is embracing new tools and technologies to enhance the patient experience” (CES). Based on a study done by the Personal Connected Health Alliance, key trends identified were: “the consumerization of health; increased cost of healthcare leading to the shift to value-based care; and the proliferation of technological and scientific innovations enabling personalized insights into health.”
One of the things that the Apple Watch, and many wearables, are doing to help the consumerization of healthcare is making it a way of life, lowering the barrier to entry, and helping users think about and engage in their own healthcare more frequently. Visits to a primary care physician or specialist that have the potential to be stressful experiences can be turned into something more positive as a better, more quantifiable relationship forms between doctor and patient.
“The total health and fitness market – including fitness activity trackers, other health and fitness devices, smart watches, personal sound amplification products, and sports tech (such as a smart baseball bats or basketballs) – will reach sales of 46.1 million units in 2018 (nine percent increase) and earn $6.4 billion (ten percent increase)” (CTA).
“Wearables have made monitoring your health as simple as checking the time.”
–Josh Diskin, Business Development, Detroit Labs
Smart home is getting smarter
“Riding the wave of voice technology popularity, smart home devices continue to get smarter and more versatile. CTA expects smart home device sales – including smart thermostats, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, IP/Wi-Fi cameras, smart locks and doorbells, smart home systems, and smart switches, dimmers, and outlets – will reach 41.2 million units in 2018 (43 percent increase over 2017), earning $4.6 billion (36 percent increase)” (CTA).
If your company/product is part of a smart home solution, start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Is there a problem?
- How would you solve it?
- How does it integrate, not interfere with people’s lives?
Many companies, popular brands included, haven’t yet figured this out. They focus too closely on what they think people need instead of identifying something that will enhance someone’s life and fit in naturally, providing value. Unsure of what to build or if you’re building the right thing? Talk to us about Design Sprints.
“Don’t just connect something because you can — don’t just create something because you can — try to find value in people’s lives.”
–Dan Ward, President and Co-Founder, Detroit Labs
New and enhanced automotive technology
“As automakers prepare for a world of shared self-driving cars, they’re experimenting with an array of human-machine interface (HMI) technologies … helping the driver get more accustomed to newer technologies, so that the user acceptance is there before he or she is going to give over control to the car in autonomous mode” (CTA). “Overall these updates are projected to contribute 15.7 billion in revenue” (CTA). “Consumer devices, digital services, car manufacturing, mobility services and passenger transport all will merge into a new service category embedded in the connected life. HMI will provide the customer interface” (CTA).
What we find to be incredibly interesting and exciting about the updates that will be announced this year, and in production by 2022, is that user acceptance is being carefully considered in the transition to autonomous cars.
“We are now entering a world where car ownership doesn’t feel as important — mass transit, ridesharing, scooters — the need for a car doesn’t feel like it did 10 years ago. I think the ‘freedom of owning a car’ feeling is going away. If it’s not approached strategically that means brand affinity is going away. If brands aren’t focused on nurturing this and thinking strategically about their brand relevance, that attachment goes away because their product becomes a tool to get from A to B. It’s critical to focus on the relationship between brand and customer beyond the vehicle.”
–Dan Ward, President and Co-Founder, Detroit Labs
Whew! You still with us? There’s a lot of noise to cut through at CES, and it’s not always clear where the value lies for you or your customers. We’ll help you figure out what you need to know. Let’s talk.