(Consumer) Tech takes Center Stage | Deloitte Netherlands


(Consumer) Tech takes Center Stage

Jordan Bish explains how and why tech is disrupting several industries

Propelled by the pandemic, technology is moving us even more quickly toward a more consumer-centered tomorrow—one that’s increasingly connected, flexible, sustainable and smart. This ongoing shift was evident in three major themes at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which I attended in the first week of January 2022.

1. Digital health and wellness goes mainstream

Managing our own physical and mental wellbeing is, perhaps, the first lesson of the pandemic. Smart watches have typically been used for fitness, but tiny sensors and AI-powered apps are turning them into 24/7 health clinics with a broad range of functions, including life threatening conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and atrial fibrillation. These technologies, which are helping millions manage their health and cope with serious illness, are now small enough to be worn on a wrist or penny-sized patch. This kind of innovation paves the way to a more holistic approach to the future of healthcare and the future of medicine. The global health wearables market, especially the medical sensors and devices, is growing fast - a CAGR of 19%, according to Deloitte analysis.

Our TMT Predictions related to HealthCare:  

  • Smartwatches & wearable medical devices help people monitor their health 24/7. Trust in their accuracy & security will likely be key to growth 
  • Deloitte Global predicts that global spending on mobile mental health applications will reach close to US$500 million in 2022.

2. Rapid innovation in (e-)mobility

Walking the CES floors, I was struck by the abundance of mobility-related innovation: from stationary mobility (being immersed in a metaverse) to spaceships and everything in between. Although many of the prototypes on display in Las Vegas may not make it to commercial exploitation, there was plenty of food for thought on what mobility may look like in a few years. It was also surprising that non-traditional car manufacturers are entering a market that a decade ago was dominated by a few. It is worth watching:

  • The continued focus on increasing the electrical footprint through cargo e-mobility (as shown by the partnership between GM and FedEx)
  • In Europe, many people have a strong interest in buying an electrical vehicle (EV) as their next car (in Italy more than 60% in the next three years, which is more than double the intent in the US1). That is consistent with my observation of more EVs on the streets of Amsterdam than Vegas. This disparity also reflects the incentives in place in Europe versus the US.
  • New features and other driving enhancements are being impacted by the chip shortage. Deloitte predicts that the average value of chips in cars will increase from US$300 in 2010 to US$500 in 2022 totaling US$60 billion for the year. But you can’t sell a $30,000 car, if you can’t source a critical US$1 chip (or many of them.)

3. The Metaverse begins to materialize

Although I was a 'live' visitor to Vegas, many other visitors used the CES digital platform and were able to attend several conference sessions, and explore certain booths digitally. Sometimes, I saw booths that were completely 'empty' of physical products and these could only be viewed through an app. Many booths had a link to the Metaverse – the term used to describe a network of three-dimensional virtual worlds in which people can interact and transact – a 3D version of the world wide web. People might visit these worlds wearing a headset combined with a haptic suit for a highly immersive experience. Bill Gates has forecasted2 that virtual meetings could move to the Metaverse in two to three years.

For consumers, the Metaverse will offer virtual storefronts, concerts and social hang-outs. In the business market, a facilities manager could use the Metaverse to monitor digital twins of the company’s assets, for example. However, we need to be cautious on the speed of change for a few reasons:

  • The uptake of AR/VR headsets is limited and, according to the Digital Consumer Trends, 2020-2021 NL Edition, the daily the usage of these headsets is negligible and nowhere near our phones and laptops.
  • Without haptic suits much of your body won’t be immersed in the Metaverse, so the experience may be feel awkward and unreal.
  • Given our home broadband connections can be somewhat unreliable, will we have the bandwidth required to deliver a 3D digital environment?

In the Metaverse, people may wish to own digital assets, just as they own physical assets in the real world. This is where NFT (non-fungible tokens) come in. At CES, I was able to see a NFT displayed on a TV for the first time. This is truly where the online world and the physical world meet. Just imagine having your unique art displayed in your living room. Deloitte Global predicts that NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for sports media will generate more than US$2 billion in transactions in 2022, double the 2021 volume. As NFTs bring pre-defined scarcity to digital content, they facilitate the migration of age-old collecting behaviors to a digital, screen-centric world.

Chip enabled Tech

Today, many, many things have critical chips in them and there are more critical chips per thing than ever before. That makes the ongoing semiconductor shortage a major headache for all kinds of industries – even the food sector was at CES to showcase innovations, such as warm meal dispensers, and ‘meat’ made from plants, brewed in bioreactors and made from fungi.

The chip industry is historically volatile (around a generally growing trendline). This isn’t the first semi shortage and won’t be the last. However, with the growing number of connected devices3 , ever increasing digitization and the rapid advances in technology, it is clear that our economy is highly dependent on this industry. It is therefore not surprising that governments (including those in Europe) want to exert more control/ invest heavily in this strategically important sector by building more chip manufacturing in their regions, rather than having almost all of them made in East Asia.

But no political machinations can change the fact that the chip scarcity will continue in 2022 and probably beyond - even if new fabs get built, it will take a couple of years and billions of investment for them to come online. For consumer tech, the chip shortage is a big bump in the road, but not a showstopper.

For more on the future of tech see Deloitte’s TMT Predictions for 2022, which identifies 19 trends and discusses the potential impact on organizations from the chip shortage to NFTs. Check out our latest insights to help your company advance innovation and elevate growth beyond the everyday.

I would like to thank Paul Lee and Duncan Stewart, who contributed to this blog.

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