Supply Chain Now Episode 293

Live Interview from the RLA Conference & Expo 

Prefer to watch the podcast in action rather than just listen?  Watch Scott and Greg as they welcome Steve Koenig with the Consumer Technology Association to the Supply Chain Now booth at the RLA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, NV.

“Every company is a tech company these days – or wants to be perceived as a tech company.”

– Steve Koenig, Vice President of Research for the Consumer Technology Association


Companies are embracing consumer technology advancements for a number of reasons – to meet consumer expectations, to reinforce the perception that they are innovative, and because it is simply too expensive to keep doing things the ‘old way.’ As the owner and producer of CES, CTA has their finger on the pulse of trends in consumer electronics.

Keeping perspective on this rapidly changing market requires CTA to be involved in 25-30 B2B and B2C studies every year, focusing on tech-relevant human behavior, researching new use cases for existing technologies, and tracking evolving notions of privacy and security.

In this interview, recorded live at the Reverse Logistics Association Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, Steve shares some of the central ideas from his keynote presentation with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton:

  • Tracking research and trends in consumer electronics power consumption
  • Advocating for legislation and policy that will help the US remain competitive on a global stage
  • How the IoT (Internet of Things) will evolve to become the Intelligence of Things in 2020 and beyond

[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio Broadcasting live Supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia. Supply Chain Now Radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people, the technology, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.


[00:00:29] Good morning, Scott Luton. Back with you here on Supply chain. Now welcome back to the show. It’s a show we’re not broadcasting from Atlanta G-A, where we’re typically are Lu Supply chain City. We’re here in Las Vegas, Nevada. Continue our coverage of the reverse Logistics Association conference next. Spoke the center of the universe for all things returns and reverse Logistics. We’ve had the great opportunity to interview a wide range of thought leaders and supply chain leaders and get their takes on a variety of things, especially, as you might imagine, relating back to the ever more important world of reverse Logistics. So we’re going to continue that trend today. I think the hits are going to continue to introduce my fearless co-host real quick. Supply chain serial tech entrepreneur, supply chain adjutant and trusted advisor Greg White. Greg, how you doing?


[00:01:16] I’m doing great. It’s great to be here. Oh, it again in the center of the universe. It really at least for reversal just. That’s right.


[00:01:23] We have had a 12:13 interviews and we’ve just kind of hit a lucky streak, which is great here in Vegas. The last conversation was it was really a fascinating one, was on new generation uses of QR code, which doesn’t sound exciting, but it does not at all there change the world.


[00:01:41] And in fact, they said it was not exciting. Yeah, but it was actually pretty exciting. So it’s good.


[00:01:47] So let’s tell our listeners that there are a lot more to come, especially this interview here today. We’ve managed to wrangle one of the keynotes here that we’ve already heard lots of feedback on. But let’s tell our listeners a quick programing note where they can find this great.


[00:02:01] You know, they can find us on Apple podcast, Google podcasts, Spotify, anywhere you get your podcasts. And don’t forget YouTube.


[00:02:10] Who that? Yeah, that’s good. Be sure to subscribe geomancy thing. Okay. So we’re gonna dove right in to as well, as we mentioned, one of the key notes here that we’ve already heard big things about. I think he had a lot of autographs as he wrapped up his presentation. Steve Conic, who is vise president of research at the Consumer Technology Association, you might hear us refer to that as the CTA. Steve, good morning.


[00:02:36] Good morning. Great to be here.


[00:02:37] Great to have you tell you. We’ve enjoyed our quick sidebar before, your keynote. And you know, I think I heard a little buzz in a room as you were delivering.


[00:02:47] Well, I hope so. I hope so. Because, you know, what’s interesting about consumer tech is that, of course, it’s it’s today really covering the entire economy and in various ways.


[00:02:58] But at the end of the day, we’re all consumers. Yeah. So we are the one I’m saying is we’re the beneficiaries of a lot of this innovation, not only as business professionals, but also as consumers. We get to play with this stuff. But a lot of the stuff that’s happening when we think about especially digital health, is it literally and figuratively going to impact our lives, our longevity, our right, our well-being and certainly our kids well-being and how they’re developing into adults and so many different ways? Yeah.


[00:03:28] So I can’t tell our listeners or are in store for a great interactive and practical conversation, I believe informational and intriguing, all my words out there. And that’s good. Yesterday was all the reward. Yes. Today’s all hours. Okay. So before we talk shop. Steve. Yeah. Let’s let’s talk more about, you know, where you are from and your upbringing a bit. Give us a Gates.


[00:03:48] Well, great. Well, first and foremost, I’m an American citizen, but more importantly, I’m a native Texan.


[00:03:55] Ok. So not not an American citizen by choice. Yeah.


[00:04:02] Texas decided to join the United States. And then there was this little peer to time. We decided to leave. And we we were kind of taken back. But the republic. Yes, the Republic of Texas. But yeah, native Texan.


[00:04:14] I grew up in Dallas, Fort Worth. I went to the University of North Texas.


[00:04:20] Yeah. A lot of people here that have gone there. We had two people yesterday who either they or one of their children was studying Supply chain at North Texas.


[00:04:30] I mean. Greene. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean Greene. Yeah. So yeah, that was really good.


[00:04:35] And you know, Tex, I now nowadays live in the DC metro area where CTA is based on course for for 20 years. But I gotta be honest, man, can’t wait to get back to Texas. We’ve got a family farm in north Texas outside Wichita Falls and a lot of history there and so forth. A nice piece of land. So that’s that’s waiting for me.


[00:04:55] Maybe in retirement. Love. It’s awesome. Is the traffic tougher in North Texas or DC? Well, well, depends on how willing you’re long to wait behind a combined. Yeah. There you go. Yeah.


[00:05:09] D.c. is there. I’ll let me just put it this way. There’s there’s a lot of friction. Yeah, there’s a lot of friction and beltway bandits. And it seems to get worse all the time. Hey, Dallas, too. I mean they’ve they’ve building more highways and so forth. And so traffic. There’s not. Not great. Oh, no.


[00:05:27] Quick sidebar there. That final mile of e-commerce. And in these huge metro centers, it continues get more challenging. More challenging. Right. And we talked on the previous episode about micro warehousing and all the different ways that they’re trying to figure out that urban Logistics. Right.


[00:05:42] When we saw pictures during the holiday season of stacks and stacks of boxes on the street in New York and some of these big urban centers and and where where these goods are being stored in high rise apartment buildings and things like that. So the more people you put in that final mile, the more complex and the more expensive and the more difficult that final mile delivery gets to be.


[00:06:07] Well, yeah. And it works because you’ve got the density of population there of customers, were you?


[00:06:13] And these days, customer expectations, they want same day delivery. That’s right. And so, yeah, you need these micro distribution centers, the AP pose, if you like, that that maybe the usual suspects and kind of that logistical enterprise can kind of keep these micro centers topped up. But also why larger corporate entities like Amazon, you know, they bought Whole Foods and they’re looking to use that as an ostensible addition to their warehouse and Ryder for for certain products and lives, of course, of course, groceries and so forth. But you also see deliveries to certain with these lockers to pick up.


[00:06:49] So so what is this company and Amazon? Yeah. Yeah. You might have heard of them. Look, but I knew it was named after a river, but I couldn’t remember.


[00:06:57] Yeah, but the lockers you mentioned. So we were at a show in Austin and not to get too far off off topic, but Dargo. Know, we I wasn’t exactly sure how that work and how convenient that would be in winning a hit locker so that we can time our travel work like a charm. Well, you know, we were out there and I had an EMT conference and we were able to ship a couple things we needed. And as we’re pumping gas at the 7-Eleven, we could it get delivered early? So we were able to time it perfectly. Right. Yeah.


[00:07:24] You know, what’s interesting is it seems 20/20. We we saw kind of a home expression of this because we think about same day delivery a lot. You know, grocery delivery is is is becoming a thing now. And, you know, less trips to the grocery store. I just order what I need online.


[00:07:41] And and of course, you keep trend casting that you’ve got smart appliances with predictive analytics. They know when you’re here. But fortunately, when you’re down to your last beer, maybe. And so auto replenishment might work. But but LG and Bosch both had a really interesting solution. So we’ve had smart locks, right? Oh, yeah. For a while now we have smart doors, love. And these doors had these companion bins on the side, one of which is refrigerated. So if it’s summertime and you need to top up your supply of ice cream, you know, the person delivering that, you know, you don’t come home and have a big tub of melted ice cream. You know, it stays stays cold. So these things it’s very 21st century. Yes. So so less smart locks, maybe now. Smart doors. Yeah.


[00:08:27] You know, as as technology becomes more and more prevalent, I think it reaches sort of a ethical boundary. And my immediate response to that is if you’re too damn lazy to go get your own ice cream, you really deserve ice cream.


[00:08:42] Great question. Great question. We’re going to we’re going to ask that only episode 300. So stick around.


[00:08:47] Great question. Rick, quick, though, the grocery delivery business that is has become huge business after years and years of companies trying to crack that nut because they couldn’t quite make money doing it. Well, clearly all that’s changed. Wal-Mart, if you looked at the Super Bowl, you know, it means people look at Super Bowl. Wal-Mart clearly invests a lot of commercials, great commercials. Right. With their lead, their number one grocery delivery. You know, they’re they’re figuring out that e-commerce said that that has given their longstanding business model a few challenges, says really neat to see. Watch. These companies have been around forever evolve to compete and compete profitably in today’s e-commerce world. Sure. So let’s I think we could dove in. Sounds like you’re gonna fit right in and we can have a three hour episode. But let’s let’s not do that. Let’s talk about your professional journey before we kind of. Okay. You’ve been in the CTA and get some of your insights. So how did you get in? The picture of how you ended up as V.P. of research, CPA?


[00:09:47] Yeah. Well, first and foremost, you know, I’d never been convicted. It’s good. You know, it isn’t about students listening. Don’t get committed. We’re going to put that in the show notes. Yes. Yeah. Convicted. Yeah. Yeah. That was from Bill Murray. Yes. Were elected a year and one never, never picked and never convicted, but now, yes. So I actually studied at university in North Texas. I studied psychology.


[00:10:07] Ok. Starting out because I was really interesting, interested in how humans think and so forth. And I had this idea that I might go through and get my p._h._d and so forth. And then I kind of figured out why else and take a really long time and a lot of a lot of money, a lot of student debt. But I was still very interested in that whole genre of human behavior and cognitive processes and so forth. But I saw more opportunity. I’ve always been interested in business. So I pivoted to marketing with a specialty in research. OK. And so that really, frankly, kind of tick both boxes. So so really studying your market research, studying markets, studying human behavior. We think about purchase patterns and shopping behavior and and likes and dislikes of different very, very interesting. And so, you know, I when I graduated, I went to work for this little boutique firm in Dallas called e.r.’s, not not around anymore. BENTA We were this is in the mid 90s. And so this is when p._c.s were still fairly new, right? And really, the Dells were and Gateways were starting out, gained serious momentum. And there was this whole build your own ecosystem starting to take the development. So we were we were really focused on that space. And I I my area of expertise were printers. And I remember why print it? Well, it’s just part of that computing ecosystem. So I had a colleague that focused on the monitor, Mark, and of course, those were S.R. TS and you had if you had a twenty inch monitor you super BGA your life.


[00:11:46] You had it, but you had a box. I mean the. Yeah it was a too bright jerai. So. So you know nowadays we have the flat flat panels. Right. But these this was in you, you had to like glue around your weight in the wall.


[00:11:58] Steve it is as it is Steve at his desk. You do have to look around. Dickerson Post-it notes on the side of your monitors. Yeah. Or like the sign on the top that said in or out. Yeah. You could look at and say, oh, he’s back there. Yeah. But in any case so. So all these peripherals we were studying this whole ecosystem.


[00:12:15] Right. And you know, that was really good. But you went onto to work for, you know, other research firms. But I had a really interesting year in tech journalism. I worked for a computer retail week, which sounds fascinating.


[00:12:33] And it was a weekly definitely had its day. Definitely. And SEUS yard sale. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s back when you had a lot of retail, a lot of USA computer city, incredible universe.


[00:12:47] Oh, my gosh. That we see that jerai andI Ryder that we used to call incredible universe incredible overhead. But in any case, a lot of these these brands, these retail shops are gone. And you know that that big, thick manual, it came out, I think every month is called computer shopper. Yes, computer shop. And it was it was all mail order catalogs. And I’m sure there is a company and there was it was all they sold were hard drives. It was called dirt cheap drives. Dig in. And but it was it we would we would that was like our Bible. You know, we’re studying this thing. But but we were looking at trends and so forth. But Computer Retail Week, we were all about computer retailing. Then the Internet happened. Yeah. And that’s really when my career pivoted in the in the late 90s, early 2000s, I moved from Texas up to Virginia DC metro area and went to work for a firm called p.c Data that eventually got bought by NPD Group. But it really in that P.O.S. electronics P.C. software tracking space, I was there for for a few years and then in 2004 join CTA, which has then Consumer Electronics Association.


[00:13:56] See eeeh because our constituency were mostly yep, you guessed it, you know, growing attracts manufacturers and and we had this budding constituency of retailers in the space. Well, fast forward several years ago we rebranded to Consumer Technology Association because really not just about devices these days, it’s about broader technology innovation that we’re seeing just really overlay the entire economy. I’ve been at CTA for 16 years and it’s great it where the fun is. We’re at this this nexus of the industry but also the economy. And so our membership consists constituency I’ve seen grow from just that core of electronics manufacturers, you know, the usual suspects of Sony and Panasonic and LG, all these guys and retailers, they’re of to automotive insurance companies, health care companies, anybody who uses technology. I mean, is that essentially. Who’s that? Yeah, that’s well-said. That’s pretty much it.


[00:14:56] So our our that was a line from Tommy Boy. Oh, yeah. Anything you want to know? But not really that so.


[00:15:03] I mean, we hear this story a lot and that is that technology’s become so pervasive that companies are becoming digitized, digitalized, whichever the. Right. Right. Yes. And that’s they are you know, they’re using technology in greater, greater measure as part of their delivery or their solution.


[00:15:22] We like to say, you know, every company is a tech company these days or wants to be perceived as a tech company, which is why at CBS it I think, yes, there is still, you know, manifold gadgets. But it’s not just a gadget show. I mean, there are a lot of other market plays there. And we had exhibitors like John Deere with a huge connected sprayer with this massive 120 foot wingspan, if you like. Sherkin big boom. Carbon fiber booms in twenty nineteen. They had a connected harvester. Yeah, L’Oreal P and G. Procter and Gamble, all these consumer packaged rants. Why? Well because they’re developing technology solutions in their marketplaces. Because this is what consumers expect. Maureen. You know, they don’t want to keep doing it the old way and and brands want to be perceived as innovative. Right. And they can’t afford to keep doing it. No. Correct. And so and they’re they’re embracing consumer tech in a number of ways to improve the user experience, deliver better convenience. I mean, it goes on and on and on. Which is why CBS 20/20 covered nearly three million net square feet of space and is the world’s largest innovation event on the planet. I mean, it’s it’s the biggest event, tech event on the planet, world’s largest innovation event. Why? We have over one hundred and seventy thousand trade professionals attending the show from all walks of the industry and economy. Yeah.


[00:16:53] So let’s talk more about your role at V.P. of research. Sheer. And you know where your focus is and some of the you know, we like still, if you don’t mind, some of your key takeaways from the keynote you gave earlier today, which again, by the time this publishes, this will be a recap of that anyway.


[00:17:10] That’s true. No, it’s good.


[00:17:12] So CTA Consumer Technology Association is the North American Trade Association for Consumer Tech. Right. And you know, we’ve established that our constituency is is beyond just the core device side manufacturer, very broad, a very, very broad. And we’re best known probably as the owner and producer of CBS. Right. And a lot of c_t_s_ is so large and so influential. It is that that a lot of times we’re thought of as a trade show with an association instead of an association with a trade. Yeah, but in any case. So whilst we’re we’re probably best known as the owner producer of CBS, really like a lot of other trade organizations, I mean, we’re we’re very much involved with policy advocacy. And what I’m saying is, is really helping preserve America’s leadership, our global technology innovation stage, clearing a path for four innovators to bring those those innovations to market to help not only be make America more competitive, but to help us as Americans and so forth. But research my shop is one of the things that really I think distinguishes CTA in that genre of trade associations in that trade association space, because what we have not a lot of other very, very few, if any, have a trade association have what we have, which is the equivalent right of a boutique research firm inside the walls of CTA.


[00:18:41] Right on time. These associations can be so focused on membership or the events. Right. Or or even the Asian education Sheer occasions. You. Yeah, research is often overlooked in this from least from our experience in the industry association space, and that’s where some the most value can be delivered to the market. All right.


[00:19:01] Well, this is true. And a lot of trade associations. I mean, they use industry data, but they partner with a third party to get statistics that therefore describe their industry like, you know, forestry or our paper products, something like this. Well, we generate our own statistics because we work with our constituency, which said to get. Yes, to get perspective on the market. So we have and this is remarkable. It sounds remarks to a lot of people like what really about on order 25 to 30 different B2C and B2B studies per year. I mean, that’s everything looking at at human behavior as it relates to technology, to topics like new use cases for drones and also artificial intelligence, 5G. So so B2C, B2B, domestic international, we do a lot of international work. So we look at markets like China and we kind of compare and contrast what’s happening there also in Europe. We’ve done a lot of interesting work around notions of privacy and security and how that’s developing globally. It’s not congruent. I mean, what we see today in tech is that a lot of these major technology themes are happening all around the world, not just in this place or that place, but they they tend to to evolve at different rates. Right. Part of that’s related to regulations, the regulatory environment course in the EU, of course, where they have GDP. Which means to privacy and security. Right. And then you have kind of the other bookend is China, where you have really, let’s be honest, no expectation of privacy. Right. And so when we think about whereas the US will someone somewhere in between. So we do a lot of work with the with our research to to inform technology policy advocacy in the U.S. and in Canada. But also, it’s a really big hook for our for membership because everybody is looking for perspective on these major trends that these they want.


[00:21:03] They think they want to know why it matters and how it’s going to impact them. And they want to. From what we see, at least they want to bring it back down from the conceptual or theoretical to how it an impact where we make our money or where we deliver value for consumers or, you know, they want to. What? So what? Right.


[00:21:24] Well, exactly. They want to know three things. They want to know what’s happening in a given space. They want to know why does it matter? And most importantly is. So what do I do about them? Yes. And that’s where our research really comes in, whether it’s these these say consumer studies around human behavior as it relates to digital voice activated digital assistance and how people used to use an app for a certain thing. And now they’re just talking to Alexa as one example. So it’s a big shift in consumer behavior that’s starting to gain momentum or sizing markets. We do we do robust forecasts across 300 different technology categories and peaceful people can understand how big is this market, what’s the opportunity, the total addressable market, but also the growth trajectory of and so forth. Household penetration rates, ownership density, a lot of these metrics install base and a lot of this comes into play again with the advocacy efforts. Yeah. Because, you know, we can we have the stats. So a lot of a lot of different regulatory folks and with state level at the federal level, they want they want to do this or that like like energy use is a big topic. And so we have you, right? Well, we we actually more, I think, go to them through through different briefs and things. But we provide them. No, no. The actual install base for this is thus inside. And so that we can we can work with with with government to help basically design more responsible innovation friendly led legislation and policy that that helps preserve America’s competitiveness on the global stage.


[00:23:00] Love it. So shifting gears a smidge because we could. There’s so much you shared there and the different angles UPS on the research you publish in the white papers and all we can do a show for on each of those. But following.


[00:23:14] Yeah let’s each each of those. NCIS. Yeah. Yeah. Or it distracts from. Yeah. CTCA I’m. That’s right. Good point. Yeah.


[00:23:23] So from your Keena here today. Yeah. What do you as you’re able to gage. Audience or me. And I’m not sure if you took the Headey Q&A, but what do you think left the biggest mark on the audience. What do you think that could be. So Jon Gold was on the show earlier and we were able to walk through some of his keynote as well. There’s a couple of those nuggets that we were educated just sitting here in 45 minutes.


[00:23:47] And we’ve we had him share a couple of things. Yeah. About the good because there are misperceptions about e-commerce and how big it is. Right. And John was able to address that and questions about whether retail generally or retail or bricks and mortar retail is still growing. It is relevant, right?


[00:24:07] Guy. Yeah. So is there. You have. Yeah. So I think. Cool. You can share.


[00:24:11] I guess what I would I would like to to share with with our listeners is that it’s really my my thesis on consumer tech thinking that everybody’s looking for perspective on in tech innovation and what’s all this stuff mean. And so I think when we look across the the consumer tech landscape today, you know, we think about devices and other hardware, software apps, entertainment content, social media, all these things, you know, how do we describe that dynamic? Boy, I think I think the last decade, last 10 years, really the answer would be IAPT, you know, the Internet of Things. So a lot of things got connected in the last decade.


[00:24:52] So IATA is something we’re very we invoke that term routinely. Yeah. But but what’s happening now here in 2020? And what do we expect to really unfold over the next 10 years? And the answer there is I think we’re confronted with a new iota. And that is the intelligence of things, the intelligence of things. And of course, this new IAPT, the intelligence of things, bears testimony to the fact that artificial intelligence is permeating every facet of our commerce and our culture. And so it’s this new IAPT, the intelligence of things. I mean, we as business people, we endorse a eyes. influence and impact on commerce because this is one way we improve profitability and return better shareholder equity through various efficiencies, improve cutting consumer customer service.


[00:25:39] And well, that’s an experience that too all these things, but more broadly means is how we grow our economy. We grow GDP and so and keep competing. But so that’s the commerce piece. We endorse that. But but culture in this as a researcher, this is what I really lean into and I find very fascinating because what we’re talking about is we’re talking about a azis influence on human behavior and how we think and approach different matters. And and this is something that we’ve started to study more and more at CTA research. And we did a we did a study even as early as like August 2018 looking at consumers adoption and use of voice activated digital assistance. And the takeaways were really twofold. The first thing was that people weren’t doing just a few things with them. Yes. I mean, there were some like listening to music, checking the weather, basic Internet search. You know, these things there were some the usual suspects, you know, up at the top. But then there was this very long tail of different applications, which speaks to the whole constellation of brands that are supporting digital assistants with with a Google action or an Alexa skill as a couple of examples. Right. I mean, I talk about like if and if you need evidence for this. I mean, Pizza Hut has an Alexa skill. Right. So memory used to call the shop and then order your pizza. And then they had an app and will now you can just order your pizza through Alexa. Also, who who else has an Alexa skill? The Church of England. OK. Prayer of the Day. And you know.


[00:27:19] So right there, you’ve got pretty good bookings, pizza and God. I mean, you know, that tops if if you do not ever what else you need at. Yeah. Right. You know, I do confession. Yeah. Yeah. Well it makes maybe that’s gonna say yeah maybe that’s coming.


[00:27:31] But so this this long tail of actions that people were working with and using digital assistants to for. And then what was the second thing that was interesting is that when you look across all those different actions, these were actions that ordinarily maybe a year or two ago when people would ordinarily, you know, fire up an app on their phone or go to a Web site. Right. Click around. Right. They were just pivoting to Alexa or Google assistant for. So right there. And this was just like August 2013, we could start to see Sheer human behavior shifting. And that’s just going to increase. So, yes, that the commerce piece of the intelligence of things, you know, we get that. But the culture piece is something that we’re going to live out as consumers and we’ll reshape our lives in this data age of this decade. Aaron, 2020 is where it starts.


[00:28:20] So you’re your assertion regarding the intelligence of things is that as technology gets smarter and smarter, it’s not just reporting, it’s acting. Is that. I mean, to discern between Internet of Things, right? Your beer shelf, knowing that you only have one beer left. Yeah, right. Yeah. And the intelligence of things. So give us a better idea of the difference or what we’re talking about.


[00:28:42] There is so a-I one aspect. I mean there are many flavors of ice. We have computer vision, machine learning, facial recognition, object detection. We talked about Daryl nighters and all that stuff. But in that use case. But I mean, what we can really expect to unfold over this decade is is A.I. is automate more automation vis-a-vis A.I. And that will be, you know, great and small. And when I’m talking small, I’m talking like really small. Like I don’t have to have that mental bandwidth. And remember that I’m down to my last beer or whatever or I I don’t have to take an action to then add it to my shopping list. It’s just done for me. So it’s automating all kinds of little micro tasks that today we still have to keep track of and do and earn bandwidth on. Well, yeah. Burn bandwidth. And so and then the more, you know, larger expression of this are automating tasks like, you know, in my in my keynote, I talked about how McDonald’s is starting to look at deploying a digital assistant at the drive thru. Love it. Which is why would why would they do this? Well, it’s because the person working the drive through has a tough job. It’s a low paying job properly. And and they’ve got to take the order. They’ve got to handle the transaction. They’ve got to organize the order. And the people coming through are in a hurry just on principle. So what I’m saying is we can expect a lot more human machine partnerships just in just things that we don’t even think about. A.I. is taking care of like that. Down to your last beer example and it’s automatically, you know, automatic fulfillment. Are things down to these four in the workplace, on the factory floor, in the warehouse, human machine partnerships. That’s what we can expect to unfold over these next 10 years. So Rono. Yeah, right.


[00:30:32] Here’s one of the interesting things related back to the psychology of this. This technological revolution we’re seeing. So tell secret. So with our family, we got to elect a Lexie’s alecks. I let’s I look back to the Vice’s with us. We put one in our den and put one in the upstairs kids room. Right. We got three kids and we got tired of yelling because they’ve got a couple doors that they always shut. So after they go to bed, so they marikar to take them off the hinges. These. Well, you’re sure about that. So now they say, hey, Alexa, drop in on the kids and it drops in directly into the room. Yeah, well it it took well. Man, that was a quick study. It took me a while to come around to accepting that this is what we’re gonna do rather than just yell at Fred Flintstone upstairs. The kids, on the other hand, love it. And now they have learned how to make announcements to us. And they just you know, I think a long point besides kind of Sheer in a Skilton calls is the kids. And this this revolution we’re seeing, it is bringing out the innate technologists that are at heart.


[00:31:46] Right, that they’re digital natives. Yeah. One term that’s maybe overused. You’re exactly right. I mean, kids, I hear from a lot of a lot of folks that have young kids, they just take to it quite naturally.


[00:31:57] And it’s like I came. Alexis, right. I can get the name of that. I’m supposed to they get respond, kids. I’ve got it. Diagnose how they can use it to their advantage in very short order.


[00:32:10] It’s just they accept it. They get used to it.


[00:32:12] Yeah. So. So all this this technology. Now, this usage, I mean, it’s also I mean, the other side of that coin is there’s a there’s an increasing narrative, of course, that we endorse around that. So call it, you know, digital hygiene and we start to see examples if like if you have an iPhone, you’ll get a little pop up that says, you know, hey, your screen time went up 20 percent this year. You know, and so we’re getting more metrics to keep it real. Right. But I think what we can expect is, is less of the technology, kind of like in your face you like, but more in the background. So like with Alexa. Yes, we’re around the house. We just you know, Alexa Watts might be our first meeting or what’s even more interesting and we can expect is right now we have to initiate conversation with, say, Alexa. Don’t. Right. That’s right. Well, I don’t. Yeah, well, not for much longer because pretty soon and and if we opt in, which is the key phrase. And if we opt in for this, I think Alexa or other voice activated digital assistants will start conversations with us. Yes. And so that’s some of the things that we started to see it see. Yes.


[00:33:14] 2020 is is these eyes really becoming like digital or virtual companions? And of course, she.


[00:33:22] Yeah. See the movie. Yeah. With Walking Theenergy. The great, great movie. Way ahead of her to see it. Yeah. Yeah. I mean dystopian. Dystopian to be out to be. To be clear. But but I think emblematic of of the very thought provoking and and how we can sit.


[00:33:38] But this has kind of real world implications for like seniors at home, aging parents that they have a virtual companion that’s there, that’s kind of it that never sleeps. That’s there all the time.


[00:33:47] Have you fallen and can’t get up rather than having to initiate the conversation? Ortho I that member that commercial in the 80s. Good point. You don’t have to wear the little who’s he wants it or. Yeah, I still sell that thing. I know they say that it’s safe from the makers of Fall and I can’t get that trademark it. And here’s another example.


[00:34:03] So… So what do we have to do it like? Let’s say there’s a big snowstorm predicted overnight, but we’ve got, you know, a 9:00 meeting at the office. We’ve got to be there. And, you know, we’re we go to sleep and, you know, we wake up. And what we do now is we look at we’re like, oh, my gosh. Yeah. I mean, we’re Snowden. Well, what if you know these based on our prescribed requirements like. Yep, something like this. I want you to tell. Maybe the A.I., you know, wakes us up a little bit early to say, hey, it snowed overnight and yet you need to get you up earlier because you’re going to need more time to get into the office instead of like I wake up the regular time. There’s no way I’m late. I missed the meeting. Everybody’s upset. That’s helpful. Yeah.


[00:34:47] Or it goes to Zillo and says, hey, there’s a house in Florida for sale and we think you could make enough of selling your house to buy that house and never have to deal with this again. Would you program my Alexa? That’s all right. So let’s. I hate the start. It closed down the interview because there’s so much we Clair’s so much we can unpack. We’re glad to have you come back to you. Maybe you maybe we should go to the event. Well, I think you need to.


[00:35:13] Yeah, well, we’ll get you back. Love to get you to weigh in more on some of the topics you brought up. But appreciate your support of the RLA come out in keynoting. We know it went well. We’ve enjoyed finding the combination of technology and the human psychology site. Absolutely fascinating.


[00:35:32] Yeah, especially for your kids. Yeah, cause it’s gonna totally shape their development and a lot of I think very positive ways. Yep. And so forth. But yeah. Don’t, don’t, don’t be shy.


[00:35:45] Drop in on him more. Yeah I will. But how to.


[00:35:48] As we wrap up, how can folks learn more about the Consumer Technology Association.


[00:35:53] That’s real simple.


[00:35:54] Are our web site is S.T.A.R. DOT Tech, TCAP Chip and CBS Dot Tech. For more about see. Yes, 2021, which will be January 6th through 10th and right here and right here in Vegas and in twenty twenty one big ass show held in Vegas.


[00:36:12] Is that right? I think in terms of the size and scope, yeah. There are some others that like I’ve heard of Concrete World, which is a lot of outdoor concrete, and Seyma which is automotive. So it takes a lot of space a little bit smaller. But but yes, it’s c_t_s_ is is pretty much in a class by itself.


[00:36:30] I think a lot of managers, they can access research and show everything at the euro, right.


[00:36:36] Yeah. It’s S.T.A.R. Tech. They can learn about. Listeners can learn about membership opportunities, how to connect with our research, of course. We’ve got a lot of great studies that offer a lot of perspective on a lot of different topics. So we’d love to connect. And it’s great to be here at RLA. They’re an allied association of ours. We’re we’re very pleased to to partner with RLA. And it’s great to be with you both today. I think lining’s for having me on.


[00:37:00] Very enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it. As we’ve been talking with Steve König Vise president, research with the Consumer Technology Association, learn more at CTA Dot Tech. Sit tight for just one second as we wrap things up. Greg hits keep coming.


[00:37:14] Yeah. home-run. Yes. The. Yeah.


[00:37:17] Fascinating. So much wood. We can’t get to in a 35, 40 minute conversation, so we’ll have to dove in deeper down the road a bit for our events where we direct and people to supply chain now.


[00:37:31] Radio dot com slash events. That’s right. You can learn about Moto X AIAG Corporate Responsibility Summit A.M.E. and another AIG A-G summit. We get to go to Detroit twice and look at cars, I mean, and then inform the people.


[00:37:47] Yes. Right.


[00:37:49] Inform the people that, you know, we always about our audience. Come check it out in person. We love these conversations like this. We learned so much in hoffler audience learns as much as we do. Check out events at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Be sure to check us out wherever you’re podcast from, including YouTube. Be sure to subscribe. So messy thing on behalf of Scott Luton Greg White. Stay tuned as we continue our live coverage of the reverse. Association Conference and expo right here in Vegas. The Center of the universe for all things returns and reverse Logistics. We’ll see you next time on supply chain. Thanks. By.

Steve Koenig is VP, Research at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies and which owns and produces CES® – The Global Stage for Innovation. He leads CTA’s industry research including consumer and business studies, technology forecasts and business intelligence. Koenig speaks and writes frequently on technology trends and their impact on consumer behavior, business opportunities and economies. Prior to CTA, Steve held analyst positions at NPD Group, Comscore, and a senior editor post at CMP Media’s former Computer Retail Week. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of North Texas.

Greg White serves as Principle & Host at Supply Chain Now Radio. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now Radio and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory:

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now Radio. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. He also serves as an advisor with TalentStream, a leading recruiting & staffing firm based in the Southeast. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about SCNR here:


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