By Jeff Unterreiner, President, U.S. Connected Living at Assurant

In our latest consumer research, The Connected Now, 97 percent of the respondents said they might make a first-time purchase of at least one connected product in 2019. That optimistic outlook set the stage for over 4,400 brands debuting thousands of new products and services at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world's largest showcase for technology innovation.

The Convergence of Mobile, Home, and Auto Continues

Heading into the show, some reports were saying CES 2019 was an off-year, with few new products or groundbreaking ideas being unveiled. For those attendees looking closely, the future was right in front of them, beginning with the continued convergence of mobile, home, auto. Nearly everything Alexa can do for you in the home is now available in the vehicle. We took some time to demo the Alexa integration into Mercedes Benz. You can create lists, turn on lights and listen to the weather report, just like at home. 92% of U.S. car owners perform activities that require mobile or internet connection while driving, according to a Parks and Associates study. The connected car is blurring the lines of where the home starts and stops, and voice assistants like Alexa, Google Home and Siri are facilitating that connection point.

Voice Assistants Are Still Key to Adoption

While Alexa was a main player in 2018, Google’s voice assistant received noticeable attention this year, attracting continuous crowds to their massive village constructed outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center. For consumers, voice assistants are proving to be the key to unlocking massive adoption that industry insiders have been foreshadowing and will play a role in transforming behavior inside the home. Consumers are now realizing more value from adding new connected devices to their voice-enabled ecosystem, which could mark the tipping point to meaningful smart home adoption. In fact, 69 percent of respondents believe connected technologies make life better, according to our latest research.

5G Will Enable Innovation

While 5G was arguably the biggest focal point for the entire show, many of the physical devices displaying the technology will begin to trickle out during Mobile World Congress later this year. Faster phones, self-driving cars; zero lag on music, videos, and games; and smart homes will all take a step forward in 2019, thanks to 5G. Faster speeds are just the beginning of what consumers and the industry can expect with this revolutionary technology. How 5G helps facilitate the innovation and development of it all is where the magic truly happens. “5G is way more than just a step up from current wireless technology,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon Chief Executive Officer, during his CES keynote. “It’s a quantum leap that will bring an era of radically new possibilities across all areas of technology.” At Assurant, we are proud to be partnering with some of the world’s largest companies, helping them deliver an exceptional consumer experience, whether in the home, on the road or on their mobile device.