In January, we went to the Consumer Electronics show – the the world’s largest annual gathering of the consumer technology sector. Here are our thoughts on a few of the major themes at CES 2016.

@CES: Looking at the future of consumer electronics

By Sam Kornstein and Sooln Yoon

In January, we travelled to Las Vegas to attend the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest annual gathering of the consumer technology sector where ground-breaking products such as the VCR and HDTV were introduced. While there were no new products of such a magnitude announced this year, we noted an increased focus on analytics demonstrated across the board. Building out the capabilities to track, measure and leverage data to better understand consumers is a vital step towards efficient strategic decision-making. Firms are beginning to recognize the untapped value of this data. Here are our other major takeaways from CES:

Everything that can be connected is becoming connected

Sensors, cameras, trackers, and remote/touch/voice control are all increasingly being integrated into clothes, appliances, home furnishings, medical/fitness devices, jewelry, and entertainment devices. As IoT connectivity continues to become mainstream, security remains a concern for consumers and vendors alike. With more and more people linking their cars, homes and accessories, service providers should ensure that they are not left out of the opportunity by offering consumers a convenient opportunity to build a contiguous connected ecosystem with their devices.

Smart Cities are a data-centric opportunity for network operators

Private firms are not the only ones realizing the capabilities of connectivity to improve efficiencies and drive growth. The US Department of Transportation announced their Smart City Challenge, in which the DOT will provide up to $40M to the city that can integrate connectivity to their transportation network. Operators are uniquely positioned to assist in this development due to their extensive connectivity infrastructure as well as their inherent ability to monitor data and deliver insights. They should look to build public/private partnerships to integrate themselves with the development of the smart city.

Ultra-HD content will drive OTT growth

Manufacturers unveiled several slick new ultra-HD television sets priced lower than previous iterations. Netflix, who had recently announced that all their content will be produced in 4K, also revealed expansion to more than 130 countries. These developments point to a continued increase in demand for bandwidth in coming years, given that 4K requires an order of magnitude greater bandwidth compared to current resolutions. If OTT providers develop compelling high-resolution content, it may provide a significant driver for future cord cutters. Pay-TV providers would do well to take this into account considering the current lack of broadcast ultra-HD content.

> Download more articles in our consumer focused issue of Cartesian Coordinates, Spring 2016 edition