2019 Consumer Electronics Show Highlights

Written by Kristi Salmon on February 22, 2019.

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), is the global stage for innovation.  Each year, they unveil the latest transformative technologies that will redefine industries, improve lives and solve some of today’s most pressing global challenges. The world’s largest and most influential tech event features some 4,500 exhibiting companies, including a record 1,200+ startups, with more than 20,000 products launching from the show floor in Las Vegas, NV. 

During the week, attendees got to experience all that fuels the expansion of tech into new areas such as 5G, artificial intelligence, smart cities, resilience, sports, vehicle technology, digital health and more.

IBM Chairman, Ginni Rometty discussed what’s next for IBM across data, blockchain, AI and computing and how the proliferation of data is helping better serve travelers. Executives from Walmart and Exxon Mobile demonstrated how technology is improving the food supply chain, optimizing the power grid and enabling new energy solutions. While Rometty explained that data is the “world’s greatest natural resource,” she noted “scaling these technologies is what really matters.”

Companies across all industries unveiled AI solutions, creating a customized user experience over a variety of markets, including smart cities, sports tech, vehicle tech, digital health, robotics and beyond. More than 60 exhibitors were featured at the AI & Robotics Marketplace.

There was also a focus on disruptive industry trends that will shape the future of consumer technology.  Executives from USAA, Philips and Veoneer detailed opportunities with AI as the technology advances. The panel also identified several challenges in its use to solve pressing problems in health care, mobility and cybersecurity. The need for high quality and clean data emerged as an important priority to support the growth and evolution of AI in solving problems.

The marketing and entertainment industry also joined the conversation with many content creators, Hollywood, the ad industry and media, who uncovered disruptive trends impacting brands.  The discussion developed around how game-changing technologies such as AI and blockchain are transforming day-to-day marketing operations and to innovate, they are constantly looking for what resonates personally and emotionally with customers.

In a world of device hungry consumers, a frequent topic was the evolution of video consumption. Samsung, Verizon and YouTube discussed the effects trends like mobile video, 5G, virtual reality and over-the-top video are having on how we consume video content. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said “5G will change everything…5G is the promise of so much more than what we have seen from wireless technology,”.  He highlighted how the next-generation wireless network will not only be a “quantum leap” in speed, reliability and connectivity for everyday users, but also enable next-gen technology. He showcased how the improved network will connect journalists all over the globe, enabling new technologies like virtual and augmented reality to bring readers closer to the story than ever before.

Some elements showcased have grown in interest but not fully materialized. There is the ever-popular word “The Internet of Things” which basically means any product that connects to the internet, like a Nest.  The connected or smart home consists of so many different devices, but the obstacle is that many of these devices do not “talk” to each other. They are individually managed via an app or website.  Robotics is still growing, Sony’s robotic dog Aibo is one example, but wrapping one’s head around use and need for a $3K product is hard for most consumers to justify. Smart cars that drive themselves seem like a Sci-Fi movie coming to life, but consumers may still be hesitant to get into an autonomous car and feel 100% safe.  One thing is for sure, technology in cars is basically the new “cup holder” – it will simply be expected. 

Check out more trends and talks that made the news in this article by Interesting Engineering.