By Lucas Funes, CEO & Founder
As I kicked-off 2020 I attended some of the most important annual shows in the US to get a glimpse of how the future looks like in some of the most prominent industries. Started with Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, that since 1967 brings the latest technology innovations to the floor, NRF Annual Convention & EXPO, the flagship industry event of the National Retail Federation, and International Builder Show (IBS) the NAHB event that gathers home builders from all over the world. Here are some of my thoughts about what is next in terms of innovation.
It is not news that Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics are becoming the backbone of any decision making in any industry. As I walked the floor it was obvious to me that it comes down to either retail, home builder or consumer electronics: a strategy without the right data infrastructure can no longer be sustained. So if you haven't looked at your BI infrastructure, stop what you are doing and start planning how you will get in on the future.
The retail industry is evolving its processes with very sophisticated solutions for real-time analytics for inventory and supply chain. Retail business BI needs IoT, AI, and machine vision to optimize operations, logistics and supply chain in order to transform the business and fit into the new market trends and consumer demands. One example is a solution that uses drones and walking robots for inventory control and puts an end to many costly processes that have a direct impact on the customer experience, like making sure orders are shipped on time. Access to real-time analytics is key to optimize warehouses and facilities. With the imminent growth of e-commerce, retailers need to make sure they have the right logistics in place and that their operations can scale at the speed of market adoption. The fast-changing patterns in consumer behavior are certainly driving technological change.
The Home Builders industry is also going in the same direction with technological solutions, to optimize the construction industry processes and ultimately build more efficient houses, faster: from automated processes and AI to predicting supplies, to the visibility of workers' safety and productivity.
Almost every critical process in the construction industry is being improved by technology with a strong sense of efficiency but also adding sustainability to the equation. During IBS, Panasonic presented the BUILDER Chowa Concept Home, an idea rooted in the past but aligned with the needs of the future: the spirit of Chowa, looking to evolve a very stalled industry and bridge the gap between what homebuyers want and what the industry can deliver. “The Chowa spirit of life balance, harmony, and connection to nature” looks for advances in areas such as materials selection, construction processes, air quality management and technology integration to create a health and wellness-focused environment, and to leave a more sustainable footprint.
Launched in CES and IBS, and powered by Webee Technology, the Panasonic’s Cosmos Healthy Home System brings the possibility to manage the home’s indoor air quality on a 24/7 basis sensing the air for VOCs (Volatile organic compound), fine particles, carbon dioxide, and humidity, and automatically adjust airflow systems to remove air contaminants and bring in fresh, healthy air from the outside.
CES summarized the idea of industries and businesses of any type embracing technology at some point whether it is to offer new innovative customer experiences or to optimize long-time inefficiencies to critical processes that have a direct impact on their businesses. If I compare 2020 edition to my previous years at the show, there is a clear common ground on the use of data, I can see that even though there are many discussions around privacy, we as consumers somehow learned how to embrace it and make the best use of it to improve our daily lives, and we accept that.
The only aspect that we continue to work on is the discussion around sustainability and how we can speed to the use of data and technology to also guarantee a sustainable future. With some industries taking the lead and making tangible progress such as the auto and renewable energy industries, we still have a long way to go on making technology and data more accessible and inclusive, so that it can be applied to solve some of the most urgent issues towards the future. There is a power to technology innovation and it still needs to consider its role in creating a more inclusive and sustainable future.