January 16, 2020

The Simple Life: Tech that will shape the way we live, work and build

by Erin Johnson

According to the U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report, the consumer tech industry will reach $422 billion in retail revenue in 2020, approximately 4% more than last year. The report attributes popularity of streaming services, wireless earbuds and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled devices for the uptick.
 
Consumers at large are seeking simplicity, convenience and entertainment from their technology. They want it in their cars, homes and their workplaces. As an industry, it’s important for us to pay attention to these trends and adapt our businesses and products to suit the changing world. CES is an annual reminder of that.
 
The structure of the future.
As in years past, CES was loaded with smart home devices ranging from locks and wire-free home security systems to the latest speakers and even smart trash cans. But, in my mind, there were a few standouts that were relevant to our industry:
 

  1. While flying cars are still a ways off, Toyota announced at CES that it is building the town of the future. From the ground up, the company is developing 175 acres in Japan called Woven City filled with futuristic buildings designed to examine how robots and humans can cohabitate. Dubbed a living laboratory, scientists will use the space to test autonomy, robotics, smart home technology and AI in “real world” living, working and recreational spaces. Construction is supposed to begin in 2021 and Toyota is .
 
  1. One company, , had a section devoted specifically to “Construction Tomorrow” and took construction tech to a new level. There was a drone that could scan a construction site in 3D, analyze the data and create a work plan for a team of unmanned vehicles, including excavators and front-end loaders. That’s one way to combat the skilled labor shortage.
 
  1. Japanese homebuilder Sekisui House, its wholly owned subsidiary in the U.S. Woodside Homes, and Hanley Wood announced that they are tackling home resiliency in the face of natural disasters. Together, they will construct the near Las Vegas where CES 2020 was held. According to the news release, the home will take into account materials selection, construction processes, thermal insulation, air quality management and technology integration, resulting in greater construction efficiencies and resiliency to earthquakes, wildfires and hurricanes.
 
Honorable mention: that new windows smell.
There’s plenty else to take in from CES. Some wild, some outlandish and some that will never hit the market. My honorable mention comes from the land of marketing – and it’s not exactly a new concept. Cinnabon has been doing it by accident for years.
 
It’s called scent marketing. With studies estimating that people remember a scent and its related memory with 65% accuracy after 12 months, hotels and cruise lines are already subliminally enticing us back with their custom-branded scents. For comparison, visual recall is only 50% accurate after just four months.
 
On the CES floor, AI-powered diffusers promise to help entice consumers to smell, stay and buy in retail environments. In short, one day soon, you might find yourself asking: what does our brand smell like? And it will be a serious question.
 
What will they think of next?
The definition of innovation is finding new solutions to old problems. As an industry, we might not be building robot windows, but there is an expectation that building materials and designs must advance with the rest of the world. We’re expected to build smarter, faster, greener and more sustainable – and it’s up to us to create our own progress.
 
At the end of the day, it’s less about what will they think of next and more about what we will think of next to take the fenestration industry to the next level.
 

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: January 16, 2020 by Erin Johnson Filed under: