CES 2017 – Bellwether of Next-gen Enterprise IT User Experiences?

Bruce Guptill, Jim Hurley, Ron Exler Research Alerts

What is Happening?

CES – formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show – now underway in Las Vegas, traditionally has been a conference about consumer gadgets and gizmos, and not about enterprise IT. But we see this year as different; it is the year CES transitions from largely disconnected or loosely-connected gadgets and gizmos, to one where devices from augmented reality systems to drones to autonomous vehicles to sensors and controllers become interconnected via 5G and immersive broadband, and utilize context-led data mining and machine learning, and degrees of cognitive capabilities, to transform end-user experiences.

What is important for ISG Insights clients is that the immersive, user-centric IoT experiences being showcased at CES this week are going to create new demands for customer, employee, and partner experiences in the workplace; the use cases showcased at CES are early indicators of where user experience for enterprise IT is headed, and its inherent IT management challenges.

Why is it Happening?

In addition to being a coming-out party for new gadgets and consumer services, CES is an indicator of what is just around the corner involving user-oriented technology innovation. In and among the technology provider announcements, sessions introduce, explain, and demonstrate incredibly diverse consumer and commercial IT as diverse as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, 5G and ATSC broadband, connected cars, entertainment, healthcare, IoT, mobility, public safety, smart cities, transportation and wearables.

But this year is a bit different than past years at CES. This year’s focus on the interconnection between people and their experience with interconnected devices, data, and applications indicates that a new era is underway in the innovative consumer electronics industry. Instead of being about disconnected or loosely connected, the innovations being showcased at CES are forecasting where user experience technology innovation is going, using the convergence of data, devices, immersive connectivity, machine learning and emerging uses of cognitive artificial intelligence.

We see strong focus on the interconnection between voice activation and the command and control of devices and associated services, including messaging, calendaring, device or system access, streaming content, and environmental controls, including those in automotive vehicles. Use cases are being demonstrated this week for all of these interconnected user-controlled-and-customized capabilities across automotive, entertainment, healthcare, transportation, and smart city / public safety applications and environments. This is an important aspect of the growing trend toward greater adoption and adaptation of more immersive user experiences (including wearables, augmented reality, and social IT) in more environments.

Net Impact

In much the same way as the PC, laptop and then smartphones redefined the user experience in the past few decades, we expect this year’s CES will be the beginning act of a longer-term evolution that will again redefine customer experience for enterprise IT. Our experience suggests that key developments demonstrated at CES this year becomes what individual users expect in their business IT environments within the next two years.

The immersive, highly-integrated, voice-commanded environments showcased at CES 2017 are unlikely to make strong commercial showings immediately, but the users will be bringing them in to the enterprise very soon. The most likely early areas of enterprise adoption will be in systems or processes with multiple sets of relatively simple tasks that utilize readily-available information services of some type.  But these early initiatives will help to rapidly develop and refine an increasing range of business environment use cases through 2018. Much of this will be disruptive to enterprise IT management, driven by individual and small group initiatives similar to early Cloud adoption instances.

The net problem to be anticipated and addressed is as follows: An unpredictable mix of traditional and nontraditional devices used by a rapidly-growing number and range of users in nontraditional ways to access and control both traditional and nontraditional (and likely non-approved) services will test resource management and system security at tens of thousands of intersecting points daily – while creating massive amounts of user/device/resource data. Clients of ISG Insights will see continuous updates and guidance on all aspects of this combined burgeoning problem and innovative adaptation of consumer IT for enterprise business.