I’ve been attending CES for many years, always looking at the advancements in technology through an insurance lens. As might be expected, the insurance lens is very broad, given that P&C insurers cover every industry. New technologies are reshaping segments like manufacturing, retail, construction, and many more – understanding these changes will help to ensure the industry is properly addressing evolving risks and customer needs.
At each CES, I try to distill the event into big themes. This year, I’m looking back at the themes I identified in 2019 to see what has changed and evolved in the last five years. Granted, it has been a momentous five years for the insurance industry and the world at large. COVID-19, wars, inflation, and supply chain issues are driving fundamental changes in traditional patterns of work, travel, and commerce.
Here, I share my themes from CES 2019 and how they have morphed into new themes for 2024.
1. AI is Everywhere
This is even more true today than in 2019. There are two big AI themes of 2024. First is the broader emergence of AI and generative AI chips, allowing AI to be embedded more into hardware. Second is the tension between AI for good and AI for harm. Governance, regulation, and management of AI are critical issues for business and society.
2. Technology for Good
Since 2019, there has been an enormous focus on leveraging technology to address important social/human problems. Last year, the HS4A (human security for all) organization was launched. CES2024 had many new technologies and sessions on food security, health, energy, equity, and other vital world issues. It is an increasingly exciting area with much promise.
3. Categories are Blurring
In 2019, this theme was about combining multiple advanced technologies, such as computer vision and machine learning technologies in the aerial imagery space, to create value. Now, there is a grander view leading to the blurring of the real and digital worlds. Last year, there were many developments in the Metaverse space. These were oriented mainly around the consumer, with new haptic controls to incorporate more senses and more tech for creators of virtual worlds.
This year, it is evident that the industrial Metaverse is far outpacing the consumer Metaverse. Digital Twins are increasingly used in the design of buildings, factories, and cities.
4. Data as a Vital Resource
Not much needs to be said about this theme. Data continues to be at the center of the technology and AI revolution, especially as new data types and sources expand dramatically.
5. The Adoption Gap
This is a constant theme at CES. Many of the products featured are not generally available in the market. Even when they do come to market, it often takes time (sometimes years) for adoption to reach a level where it makes a measurable difference. Naturally, there are products that are a hit right away, just as there are others that never find their market and fail. Overall, though, CES is a show that blends real progress with future potential.
There are many other themes in various areas. Digital health options continue to expand. The mobility environment has progressed since 2019, with electric vehicles of all types now available and ADAS/autonomous features in vehicles increasing in sophistication. And sustainability continues to be important.
In conclusion, my updated, restated themes for 2024 are:
- The blurring of the digital and real worlds (especially the Industrial Metaverse)
- The tension between AI for good and AI for harm
- The continued evolution of mobility
- New ways to interact with technology (display technology, new UI)
- Expanding opportunities for digital health
All of these have been discussed in this blog except for new ways to interact. This is an evolving area – look for more on this in the future, as well as other CES blogs.