I spend a day or two every January in Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the annual Consumer Electronics Show. It gives me a chance to stay in tune with what our customers will be seeing on store shelves in the near future, and what trends are driving products that are being designed now.
This year’s show was a firm indication that new technologies are coming to the market fast. Almost everything I saw had wireless connectivity and smart sensors. If you didn’t know, that’s what people mean when they say “The Internet of Things” or IoT.
Everything will be connected to the cloud, your smartphone or other devices to give you information and control over your world or just to make it more automated. On display was everything from coffee pots that can be started by a smartphone and send you a message when the brew is complete, to cars that use cameras and sensors to automatically avoid collisions and park themselves. Industries of all kinds were represented at the show including personal fitness, home security, home appliances, baby care, automobiles and, of course, home electronics. It was amazing to see how many companies were there competing for a slice of the same pie, i.e. hundreds of booths selling iPhone cases.
The one item on display that really stood out to me was a baby rocker that had full video surveillance, wet baby sensors that can send a text message to your phone and even an iPad holder. (Really?) It felt like something right out of “The Jetsons” but was just one of many futuristic displays on the showroom floor.
But the reality is, the future is now. Consumers today expect these connected devices and advanced features. When they make a purchase, they expect to have it in their hands fast, even if that means it’s delivered by drone.
Clearly manufacturers of all kinds of items, even electric heaters, need to see how they can integrate these technologies into their product lines to meet the needs and wants of our customers.
To take it one step further, we need to find a way to better speak to the Millennial generation. They represent the largest population group in the United States and will soon be in the market for our products as more and more of them start buying homes. We’re working to ensure Cadet is ready to respond to the needs of these customers with the most innovative products.
I am glad Cadet is focused on our customers, today and in the coming years, and my job is to continue to provide the resources needed to keep up.