CES 2015: Digitisation must lead to meaningful data use

The quality of a feedback loop for a digitised product will determine consumer interest, according to a CES director

The quality of a feedback loop for a digitised product will determine whether or not the product will be any use for a consumer, according to Shawn G DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research at the Consumer Electronics Association.

During a presentation analysing the CES predictions for technology in 2015, DuBravac explained that, in order for the digitisation of products to be worthwhile, a feedback loop needs to be created to influence how digital inputs will be made in the future.

“We’re at a point where we’re starting to digitise the space around us,” said DuBravac “We’re digitising information that was already there, but it wasn’t being captured in a systematic way.”

DuBravac points out that there was once a focus on what could be technologically achieved, but what is now important is whether or not the technology will be useful.

“Not just that we can digitise it, but if we can digitise it, is it going to be meaningful?” said DuBravac.

A number of technologies are now available to collect previously unconnected data, such as wearables, smart monitoring systems and smartphone devices.

To make these technologies meaningful, there must be a feedback loop from the analog input method for digitisation and curation which is then used to influence and change behaviour, feeding back to the original input method.

Similarly, in business, data has been collected for a long time, but in some cases data analytics is only just beginning to become mainstream – it’s as if consumer technology has skipped a step in the utilisation of data.

This digitisation of the physical space is leading to other trends such as the increased use of logic and input devices to define user-centric output and individualised device and browsing experience.

As input methods shift from traditional keyboards to more sophisticated means, such as accelerometers and voice recognition, it’s easier for devices to provide predictive feedback in a way users understand.

This is also changing the way people use technology, and browser-centric searches, where consumers spend lots of time looking at one item have been reduced, and devices are now designed to provide services and information little and often.

According to DuBravac, the main trends to look out for at CES 2015 and over the next year are drones, smartwatches and smart TVs. It is predicted that the drone sector will be worth $1bn by 2018, and 10.8m units of smartwatches are predicted to launch this year.

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