Teppo Kuisma // January 08 2019

4 Big Trends from CES 2019 – but Are They Ready for Mass Market?

The first day of CES is when all the announcements happen. The quickest and smartest players have concluded the trends listed below are the“most important trends for 2019”.

There seems to be a widespread consensus that the top four market hitting tech trends and predictions this year are:

  1. Voice as a UI (assistants, commands)
  2. 8K in TV displays
  3. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) breaking through in several niche areas
  4. Deep Learning

These are the areas where the biggest announcements happened, and I completely agree with these trends. What I have a hard time agreeing with is that these trends will immediately hit mass market.

If there’s one thing in this tech driven industry that I don’t stop getting surprised about it is its the inability to learn that tech maturity is merely a starting point. I do not believe it t is enough for market breakthrough. In order to break through the market, you also need amazing usability. Delightfulness. Experiences that we excitedly tell other people about. The experience has to be something we feel good about.

While I was not surprised about the themes at CES, I’m surprised by the immaturity of implementations on the market. Market adoption starts when something really delights the mass users. A few things I’d like to highlight:

1. Are there any: car voice assistants, outbound call robots or inbound services that delight? I’m yet to find a good one, but admittedly I still need to walk around at CES 2019 for a couple more  days to solidify this belief further! Google does great work with the Google Assistant and that’s clearly something to watch. But my bet is it won’t be a major consumer breakthrough in 2019. It will most certainly grow, but it faces big challenges outside the English-speaking regions and in spaces that are loud or noisy.

2. Are there any exhibits that delight in 8K? Tell me something you’ve always wanted to watch in 8K. Yes, the picture is better than in 4K, but it starts to take effect only after 65 inches, and that’s a big screen for mainstream market breakthrough. Special mention to LG on the Design of rollable screen. That something that definitely delights.

3. AR will break through for niche audiences. And it really delights, especially on mobile. VR will continue to struggle as a mass trend due to lack of content and a viewing experience that impresses viewers. Raise your hand if you’ve actually felt good pulling a box around your head to experience it. I believe VR will break through to different niches as well.

4. AI and Deep Learning will continue to raise interest. Enterprises will build data lakes and consumers will get experiences on shopping and traveling that will delight them. We will be able to build things that were not possible earlier (recommendations, emotions, gesture recognitions, self-learning machines). I definitely think this is a trend.

There is plenty of work ahead for all of us working in usability design who have ambition for creating delightful design  that targets these breakthroughs.

Stay tuned for more updates from CES 2019!


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