I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for convenience.
I’m on board for just about any technology that skips a line, bypasses human interaction, and/or reduces the number of steps in my purchase process. Sometimes I liken myself to one of the future humans from Pixar’s Wall-E.
In fact, I’m almost always willing to pay more in order to do less. My consumer impatience can be wasteful, I know. But essentially, I’d rather spend more time on enjoyable experiences and expedite the transactional ones. After all, this technology was built to make my life easier, right?
Which brings me to the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). CES is a glimpse into the future where all my gluttonous tech dreams of being a lazy consumer come true. With over 4,400 different exhibitors and 270 million square feet of exhibition space, there were a few massively important consumer tech trends that emerged from all the innovative raucous this year.
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By now it’s expected that a bulk of CES exhibitors will advertise all sorts of gadgets that are connected to the internet. But this year, as CNET writes the expectation is that if electricity runs through it, it [should] work with voice assistants.
The Internet of Things (IoT), or internet enabled/connected devices, has become as inconspicuous and commonplace as the furniture in your home. Smart devices have quietly slipped into the background of lives.
According to Verge, there are more than 150 products with Alexa built in, more than 28,000 smart home devices that work with Alexa made by more than 4,500 different manufacturers, and over 70,000 Alexa skills. This includes everything from thermostats to PCs, cars, and light switches.
The next biggest market share belongs to Google. They are expected to hit one billion Google Assistant devices by the end of the month.
And here are a few of the smart devices that could take my laziness to a whole new level.
I love my crock-pot, but a multi-cooker with built-in Alexa compatibility? Totally unnecessary – but 100% cool. I could lower the temperature from another room, getting my mojo pork to cook just right without leaving the sofa.
Ahoy! The penultimate lazy-hobby is now part of the IoT movement as well. With Cyberfishing’s Smart Rod Sensor, forgetful anglers can live in “A world where every cast is counted and saved; where all your catches are recorded with a single touch; and where you can build an online map of your fishing hotspots.”
Even fishing enthusiasts now have the capability to use data to optimize and corroborate their tales of fishing lore.
Didn’t think we could get lazier than smart fishing? Dream on! With the URGOnight Sleep Headband, I can train myself to be even better at sleeping than I already am! No need for a sleep clinic when I can get my electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements done at home.
I’ve used sleep tracking tech on my phone before, but these devices take it to an entirely new level. The URGOnight has an uphill battle in a competitive space, but if it can help me get to sleep faster and reduce nighttime awakenings – it might take the crown for smartest lazy-tech.
All ridiculousness aside, the IoT movement tells me that consumers now expect everything to be connected to the internet. And if you’re not – your tech isn’t smart, it’s dumb.
Pete Thompson, vice president of Alexa Voice Service, wants to make Alexa a default feature in pretty much all new devices and appliances.
“I think about the kid that walks up now to any screen and touches it because they just assume it’s a touchscreen,” he said. “They’re gonna walk up to devices and just start talking to them. And if it doesn’t respond, they’re gonna be like, ‘What the heck? Is it broken?'”
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Another trend that business leaders can’t ignore is how consumers now expect technology to help them breeze through all of the tasks they dislike. Crafting seamless consumer experiences is one thing. But developing your tech to completely solve for anything even remotely cumbersome or annoying is an entirely nuanced consumer trajectory.
Take a look at my favorite tech that can take people from sloth to sophisticated.
For true CES fans, the Foldimate is old news. But this year’s prototype (reportedly retailing in late 2019 for $1,000) can fold up to 25 pieces of clothing in under 5 minutes. Do I need to say anything else? Goodbye Sunday laundry. Hello NFL RedZone.
Why brush when you can Y-Brush. Sorry, I had to. This French tech reportedly cleans your mouth in under 10-seconds. Maybe my laziness will pay off when I use the Y-Brush, and my dentist will stop commenting on my lack of flossing the next time I go in for a cleaning.
I’m not a parent. But the Monit Smart Diaper is about as lazy at it gets when it comes to blending tech with human needs. Using the multi-sensor and AI(Artificial Intelligence) algorithm, the Monit App gives you an alarm when you need to change a diaper without any mistakes. I mean, if I was a parent this is cool because I can avoid having my kid sit in their own mess.
For the record, I would like to point out that I’m not really THAT lazy.
But I do love when tech simplifies my life.
Obviously, lots of devices from CES eventually do stick with consumers and propel our culture forward (for better or worse). For proof just look at this short list of CES tech debuts over the last 52 years.
Business leaders should strive to do more of what these inventors do: find ways to serve our naturally hedonistic sensibilities while simultaneously providing the utility that automates our experience, in an extremely personalized way. Also, as you can tell, making tech that’s entertaining and unique doesn’t hurt either.
Travis Tyler is a marketing specialist and contributing columnist at PowerChord. He’s also a novice improviser, hockey-player, and Spanish-speaker.