NEXT 2019 Podcast Series

NEXT 2019 Conference Series – Lesley Rohrbaugh – Consumer Technology Association

Welcome to the 2019 NEXT Conference Series. Recorded live in Chicago, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Lesley Rohrbaugh, director or research at Consumer Technology Association.

Find Lesley Online:




Lesley with CES.  Thanks for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast today.  


Thanks for having me.


We are live at the NEXT Conference in Chicago.  What do you think about the show?


It’s amazing.  It’s so nice to be here with so many of our colleagues in the research community.  A lot of great turnout from all sides of the research community. So we have exhibitors here, and we have analysts on the corporate side, the non-profit side.  So it’s great to pick each other’s brains.


CES is a big deal.  I mean it’s the trade show of trade shows of trade shows, right, the mother ship.  But I hear that you guys have a track specific for research. 


We do.  So, a few years ago, we started a research summit at the show that precedes the actual show days.  And we have a ton of participants there. We have multiple panels; we have speakers from big and small companies.  So we have startups and then we have the big, large corporations. But it’s attended by a few thousand people, and all we talk about for a few days is just research, research, research when it comes to technology.      


So, the application of technology to enable customer conversations sort of bent?  Is it user experience research, market research, kind of broad umbrella of just consumer points of view?  


It’s a mix.  We also have B-to-B in there as well.  So, with technology, you have to be able to adopt it somehow, and what better way than to talk to companies in their space and see how they’re actually using things like voice, things like AI, robotics, all these different areas.  So it’s a mix of folks, and it’s really interesting to see the application of things like Artificial Intelligence being built into the data computerization and seeing how people are actually making these ideas come to life.    


I loved your talk this morning, especially as it related to smart devices.  The microwave is still frustrating to me because of all the stupid buttons on it.  




And a microwave that actually can identify the objects, the items that are going in there, and then smartly uses that information to not burn the popcorn, as you aptly said, right?  Why don’t you give them sort of the highlights of your 30-minute chat? 


Yeah, sure.  So, obviously, 30 minutes is not long to talk about the entire 350+ billion-dollar technology world.  But some of the highlights include 5G: where we are? where we’re going? what it means? who’s driving it? which is really the industry as opposed to the consumer, which is a little bit different.  Additionally, we talked about Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality: how that impacts both the consumer and research and insights. And then also things like healthcare technology. We touched on that a little bit.  There’s a lot going on in that space. But, overall, I think some of the underlying technologies that we see throughout all of these products include Artificial Intelligence and the real state of Artificial Intelligence and where we are.  Things are not necessarily just smart anymore; they’re intelligent. So, I think that’s an underlying theme we see in a lot of these products.   


That’s an interesting distinction that I have, probably moronically, never made before your talk.  This idea between smart and intelligent. Because one is more of information in action – it’s doing stuff with it and then forms and outcomes.  Going back to the smart or intelligent whatever, microwave, that’s actually really interesting how you’re seeing a continual evolution in this new, uh, with AI. 


Yeah, that’s right, and it has so many different applications, whether it’s synthesizing these massive data sets.  I know I brought up the example of using AI for segmentation analysis and how much time it would save you. But also, just being able to read people’s emotions in an intelligent manner.  So, that facial recognition, that object recognition, that’s where it kind of comes into play. You know what are people’s emotions really telling you in a real-time fashion?  


If somebody wants to learn more…  The audience for this particular podcast is centric to insight professionals, UX professionals, and market research professionals.  If they want to learn more about what CES is doing in research, how would they find out that information.  


Sure.  So, CES is actually produced by the Consumer Technology Association, who conducts the research.  We can be found at  And we have an entire research page, and we typically publish about three dozen studies a year, and that’s everything from B-to-B research, to B-to-C, but also it covers a ton of different topics and everything from your traditional tech like television and video and audio all the way through emerging tech studies such Artificial Intelligence. 


Love it.  Lesley, thanks for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast today.  


Alright.  Thanks for having me.


Of all the guests I’ve ever solicited to be on it, you were the easiest.  Like you literally just like pivoted, walked right to the mic. It was hilarious.  


Well, good to hear.


Thank you so much.  And thank you very much, Insights Association, for hosting us at the event.  Really appreciate it. If you found value in this episode, please take the time to screen capture, share it on social media.  We would love it. Reviews are always appreciated. Have a wonderful rest of your day. Bye, bye.