CES2019 Recap: Six Themes for Insurers to Consider

New SMA Blog by Mark Breading, Partner, Strategy Meets Action

Boston, MA (Jan. 15, 2019) – 4,500 exhibitors … 185,000 attendees … 2.75 million square feet of exhibit space … hundreds of sessions. That’s CES2019 in a nutshell. The range of technologies and products displayed each year is staggering, making it clear that innovation is in high gear around the world. Products range from the absurd to the pragmatic to the truly revolutionary and cover every area of human endeavor.

So what are the biggest takeaways? And what do they mean for the insurance industry? I see six big themes:

  1. Data as a vital resource: New ways to capture, secure, move, store, analyze, and display data abounded at CES. This was perhaps the overarching theme. (Look at a separate blog I’ve written on that topic.)
  2. The adoption gap: Technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds. The potential to transform individual lives and the world at large is great, but in many cases, the products are ahead of customer demand or face serious barriers to adoption.
  3. Technology for good: Much effort is given to using technology to tackle important societal problems. Efficient, responsible, safe usage of natural resources is one focus area. Improving access to healthcare and the effectiveness of diagnostics and treatment is another vital area. Solutions to enable the elderly, disabled, and disenfranchised to participate in a digital economy and live healthy, safe, and fulfilling lives is also an area addressed by many tech companies.
  4. AI is everywhere: There was actually a session with this title, and it accurately represented the presence of AI at the event and in the world at large. There is a clear recognition that the family of AI technologies has great potential alongside big implications that require thoughtful debate and solutions.
  5. Categories are blurring: SMA has discussed the concept of convergence extensively over the last few years. Nowhere is it more apparent than at CES, which featured many products that combined multiple transformational technologies, the overlap or integration of solutions in formerly distinct spaces (e.g. connected car and smart home), and the continual dissolution of traditional industry barriers.
  6. Platforms and ecosystems evolve: The plethora of options in areas like smart homes, fitness and health tech, and connected vehicles creates a demand for common platforms, integrators, and solution packagers. In addition to the big brands that create their own platforms (e.g., Samsung for the smart home), there are increasing numbers of other entrants into the platform/integrator space.

Every one of these six areas carries implications for insurance – too many to explore in detail in one blog. But another way to express the implications for insurance is through some prevalent, common threads at the event that relate to all six areas.

The words safe, secure, and trust were prominent in sessions, on signage, and in vendor talk tracks. The technology world has become acutely aware of the need to be transparent and responsible in the way they interact with customers. These should be words and themes that are near and dear to the heart of the insurance industry – and areas where insurance should play a major, positive role.

About the Author

Mark Breading, a Partner at Strategy Meets Action, is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methods and his ability to incorporate InsurTech and emerging tech into business strategies are unparalleled. Mark also leads SMA’s research program, has overseen the publication of over one hundred research reports, and directed custom research projects for insurer and tech clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, emerging technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him rankings as a “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the 10 finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”

Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM, where he co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.

He is a frequent speaker at industry events; an InsurTech mentor with the Global Insurance Accelerator; and a frequent contributor of articles to Insurance Thought Leadership, Insurance Networking News, LOMA Resource, and many other industry publications.

About SMA

Exclusively serving the insurance industry, Strategy Meets Action (SMA) is an advisory services firm offering retainers, research, consulting, events, and innovation offerings to both insurance companies and solution providers. Learn more about SMA at www.strategymeetsaction.com.

SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)

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