CES 2019 Review

CES 2019 Review

I kicked off CES 2019 at the CES KeyNote Event hosted by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

CTA State of the Industry Address and IBM Keynote

Gary presented a few key insights for future application in product, systems and organizational development:

We will solve more problems in the next two decades than we solved in the last two centuries.

We all need to think horizontally and look for different ways to collaborate to solve problems. Vertical industries are a thing of the past.

Let’s all work together to create a world where everyone has access to healthcare, services and a better world for everyone.

This all points to the significant challenge of working on the right problems for the right reasons. Although the keynote event was inspiring, the challenges of the real world awaited on the streets of Las Vegas. The commute from the Venetian to the Convention Center is 2.1 miles and a 10-minute drive in light traffic, as measured by Google Maps.

The actual commute consumed at least an hour using UberX. I know, these are developed world problems in a world where vast numbers of people are struggling to find water, food and medicine for their children. In any case, Las Vegas’ busy streets offer an opportunity to unpack the real world challenges described by Gary Shapiro in his excellent keynote presentation.

Our cities are now more populated and crowded than at any time in our history and the global population is expanding. Many of us, in the developed world, are living longer lives. This simply translates to more people moving around in our cities of the future, leading to more congestion, even longer commute times, and a greater environmental impact as well.

Parking in Las Vegas is already a blood sport and very expensive when you are lucky enough to either find a spot or valet your car. Again, a developed world problem, but let’s continue our exploratory journey into mass transit of the future.

CES 2019 offered a glimpse into the future of shared mobility transportation, autonomous vehicles, EV and alternative energy vehicles.

There was an increased focus this year on shared mobility transportation (compared to CES 2018) and this is a really good development.

“Last mile transportation” solutions are being tested in cities and some universities. Initial indicators are encouraging for this mode of moving from point A to point B in a relatively closed landscape. The city of Las Vegas can apply shared solutions from the one end of the strip using existing feeder streets and/or, possibly, a small vehicle lane on the borders of the congested strip. This is an ideal city to prove out advanced applications and technologies.

As Gary Shapiro pointed out in the keynote, we need horizontal and collaborative thinking to solve the world’s biggest problems. This will require open innovation and contributions from municipal, corporate, universities and agile entrepreneurs. The future is indeed exciting and it’s a wonderful time to be in the vehicle development business.

Interested in learning more about Fredricks Design’s CES 2019 findings? Please contact us to schedule a detailed review, or to learn more about our work in vehicle development.

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Business Transformation Requires a Fresh Mindset

Business Transformation Requires a Fresh Mindset

This is a brief story about business challenges and different ways to develop solutions.

Ms. Smith has recently been promoted to lead her family-owned, West Michigan based company. She grew up in the company before attending an undergrad program and completing her MBA. The leadership team is well established and talented with deep industry experience.

Widget Corp. was founded by her grandfather several decades ago. They manufacture components and sub-assemblies for the automotive industry. The company is financially solid with a backlog of contracts extending over the next two years. Business is good, but there is a lot to worry about for Ms. Smith and her leadership team. (more…)

Fredricks Design, Inc. Mobility Solutions

Fredricks Design, Inc. Mobility Solutions

Welcome to the wild west. As automotive OEM’s continue to push the boundaries of new technology, drive systems and aesthetics in their production vehicles there is a far more exciting paradigm shift in the automotive market place; autonomous vehicles. We are tossing out the playbook on what a car is and what function it really serves. This is an unbelievable time to be a designer in the transportation space. We get to break the mold of automotive interior configurations and decide what will replace them as we drive forward into the future. We’re no longer constrained by the two front seats split with a center console and the 40/20/40 configuration of the back seat we’ve seen in the vehicles of our fathers and their fathers. The canvas is blank and it’s time to pick up the brush once again.

This paradigm shift will begin where all good design projects begin, research. Understanding how users interact and experience a completely new environment is the cornerstone of everything we will develop moving forward. This research will lead us in directions we never could have imagined even a decade ago and with advances in modern technology seemingly moving forward by the day it’s hard to say what the next decade will bring. As “car people” at the forefront of product development we are excited to walk into the unknown and redefine a crucial piece of product that really hasn’t changed much since the late 19th century. The automobile has already done so much in improving the human condition around the globe. It’s time to give back and let the automobile be what it wants to be; a seamless extension of your home, office and self.

Automotive mailer final

For more in-depth insights into our work in the automotive market visit our website to review case studies on recent transportation projects we’ve had the pleasure to be a part of.

Conor Fredricks

Industrial Designer

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, and consumer products markets.

fredricks.com

 

Fredricks Design, Inc. Rides and Animated Props

Fredricks Design, Inc. Rides and Animated Props

As industrial designers and engineers, we spend our time developing products and telling their stories. The story can be focused on our research, our clients, the product, the end- users or even some outside force to drive successful product design. If we picture product development as a film, the underlying story is the script. Just like films, all the stars in Hollywood and the special effects of post production won’t fix a broken script. You can’t fake a story; it either resonates with the viewer or it doesn’t. It’s make or break. There is no market we work in where telling this story is more apparent to outsiders than rides and animated props. We get to draw inspiration from characters, comics and epic films that our end users are already familiar with. We study repetitive forms and visual brand language associated with our story and incorporate it into our design. With the goal of immersing theme park guest into a world they only thought existed on paper or the silver screen.

Entertainment Roller

Conor Fredricks

Industrial Designer

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, and consumer products markets.

fredricks.com

You are Affected by PLM. What is PLM and How to Stop It?

You are Affected by PLM. What is PLM and How to Stop It?

This article is not about stopping a wide-spread, silent and dangerous disease as the title may suggest, but you’re here now so let’s talk about PLM, Product Lifecycle Management. To put it dryly, it’s an information management system that can integrate data, processes, business systems and, ultimately, people in an extended enterprise. [1] Most importantly, it’s a disciplined way to connect and supercharge a ridonkulous amount of information in your company to get a product to market faster, decrease redundant activities, and increase profits. To readers not operating “extended enterprises”, you can imagine PLM to be like the work of ecologists who study complex, living ecosystems. (more…)

Autoshow 2018: Tricky Times Ahead

Autoshow 2018: Tricky Times Ahead

2018 Ford GT at Detroit Auto Show

Image courtesy of Maury Fredricks

Just returned from a trip to attend the Industry Preview Days at the Autoshow in Detroit. It’s about a three-hour drive down I-96 from our home in Grand Haven. Typically, drivers are doing an average of 15 over the prescribed limit and traffic is tight in spots. You can move swiftly across the state and it’s worth the drive to check out the NAIAS, the Autoshow. As designers and engineers, we go to witness and take note of styling and technical trends. For us, it’s a bit of a museum of the past and lens to the future. Ironically, the most innovative vehicles shown may be the death of the show itself.

As I confirmed through multiple conversations at Cobo Hall, the show is dying from the inside. Difficult to change the course of a large ship and the NAIAS is at risk of not being able to adapt to the blurring social and technological landscape. (more…)

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