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5 things to expect at CES 2016

Posted: 06 Jan 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CES  security  Internet of Things  consumer electronics 

Editor's Note: This year's Consumer Electronics Show can be summed up in two words: safety and security. Management consultants Accenture shared five stories to expect at CES 2016.

During the past several months, Accenture has done extensive research and engaged with a broad range of clients to identify the big stories to watch at the fast-approaching 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Based on this we expect the major stories to be:

#1 Say goodbye to cool, hello to security and safety

At CES we have come to expect the latest new shiny gadgets. There will be plenty of those this year, but that will not be the show's main theme. The prevailing stories will centre on security, safety and health services that help consumers in their daily lives.

Our new digital consumer survey, which will be released during the event, indicates that consumers want products and services that improve their security, safety and health. Exhibitors will address this demand through services that deliver smart home security and medical devices. These devices, for example, can inform consumers of their heart rate and give them the fastest route to a hospital in an emergency.

#2 Market slowdown, innovation interlude

At last year's CES Accenture unveiled findings revealing purchase intentions trending downward in several major high-tech product categories such as smartphones, tablet PCs and HDTVs. This year we expect sharper declines.

Our results hammer home the reality that this downward trend is accelerating for many of the largest consumer technology device markets. Slowing consumer purchasing and a dearth of breakthrough innovations are dampening the industry's progress. And the newer segments such as smart watches, health fitness monitors and smart home thermostats remain small and are not growing fast.

Devoid of high-impact innovations, service providers will have more prominence at the show than at any previous CES.

#3 Internet of Things hyper mania hits hard reality: security

At last year's CES the hype about the Internet of Things (IoT) was almost off the charts. It was arguably the biggest CES story at the show. Optimism and excitement were palpable and with good reason.

IoT is a market opportunity with a realistic outlook and promising returns. Connecting, sharing and sending more data to more people and devices is possible with communication network systems and sensors. Mining that data for more personalised and useful experiences is also attainable with IoT products and services. This amounts to a multi-billion-dollar market powered by connected devices that deliver numerous functions and services.

But there's a roadblock that could prevent this from happening: security.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the security of the data they share with companies and others. They are worried their private information, including identity, money and personal behaviours, will be stolen. Recent break-ins into the payment systems of high profile corporations have heightened concerns. As the IoT starts to coalesce, it is natural for consumers to question how protected their personal information is on these devices. The issue threatens the IoT market's near- and long-term growth.

At last year's show this was not the story. Count on it being one this year. If consumer technology companies cannot address IoT security, the industry is not going to grow as fast as predicted.

The good news is CES provides a platform for IoT security to improve and assuage consumers' concerns. Last year, in fact, a special cybersecurity and personal security forum debuted; 82 exhibitors participated. This year expect more companies to display these types of products and services.

One sign of progress in security is use of password alternatives. These offer security without the hassle of changing or keeping track of long access codes. Watch for CES news about alternative technologies involving biometric solutions across a wider array of devices and services featuring advanced encryption processes.

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