I attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
What could be bad?
There was so much to see and process. The city, venue and accommodations were spot on. The Las Vegas Convention Hall was over the top; with exhibits from the self-driving BMW experience to the entire mass of humanity. Over 200,000 people were gawking at screens and pixels that defy reality. I took countless photos of screen/monitors so thin they made my head spin. I wanted more, bigger and faster resolution cycles.
Robots are here. While I wondered, "who would pay for a toy that engaged with their pet,” others cleaned windows, floors, and carpets. Industrial versions carried literal tons of packages, and all these machines were designed to automate and respond to our daily needs and desires. They also reduce the monotony and physical strain of certain jobs.
As I mashed through one corridor to the next, I came upon an unusually ugly car, the Mustang Mach "E." I was squawking out loud about Ford making a 4-door Mustang when the rep kindly provoked me to stay engaged with a libation. I did.
While the drink helped soothe this beast, it did not alter my perception. Sometimes design intervention goes too far. I reminded him of the 80” Mustang 2+2 - a sad, sad car compared to Bullitt and “Eleanor”.
After Ford, came Audi, Mercedes, Nissan and Jeep; all with electric capabilities as well as AutoDrive. Autonomous driving is not coming. IT’S HERE. And it will be upon us in the next two years. Remembering this morning’s traffic on the beltway, I wish it would come sooner. For now, all the new cars are equipped with intelligent ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems). Those are the sensors that tell you how close you are, slow you down, stop you from being ... dumb.
These systems are well-needed considering how many people are distracted and or truly absent behind the wheel. I guess I am voicing my not-so-humble driving opinion, but I could use auto-driven cars after being behind the that guy in the left lane, cruising at 35 mph on I-495 this morning!
The other highlight to attended CES was its less glitzy Consumer Electronics Show for Government.
At CESG there were over 100 speakers from all federal, state and local governments, including one from the province of Alberta, Canada. We learned that algorithms for AI/ML are addressing questions yet to be asked with intuitive programming. While many talk a great game, these leaders at CESG are living it. They discussed how they wrestled with fear, loathing and ultimately the battle of "business of government as usual."
It was an informative and inspiring series hearing how government leaders are making great inroads to innovation. CESG was less about gadgets, and more about information and how business and government will partner to further their missions.
We thirst for solutions that alleviate some work from our daily routines. These leaders are changing minds and breaking through legacy systems and old formulas. I know we will take the opportunity to apply some of these principles to government client missions and our own business. AI/ML, decision management and other automation systems offer an incredible opportunity to save government agencies millions of dollars and provide needed visual accountability.
My takeaway for CESG was ultimately that leaders need to GSD (Get Stuff Done). Pushing for innovation, staying lean and agile is how we will be working in 2020.