CES never fails to deliver. Year after year, expectations for innovation are sky high, and year after year, CES delivers. From the hundreds of startups in Eureka Park to the tech giants in the main halls, CES is a celebration of creativity and the desire to make things smarter, faster, and better.
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According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), “the consumer technology industry enters a new decade riding high on several years of growth”, and the latest forecasts illustrate the power of innovation throughout the industry. In 2019, the industry hit an all-time high of $406 billion in retail value, and this year, CTA is predicting that the industry will grow 4% to $422 billion.
Here are a few highlights and insights from the past week in Las Vegas:
CES 2020 Takeaway #1 – Ingredient Technologies Create a Playground for Innovators
The keynotes are always a highlight of the show, and CES 2020 opened with Samsung CEO H.S. Kim introducing us to Ballie, a ball shaped robotic, AI powered personal assistant. Ballie is an example of what happens when multiple ingredient technologies merge to create a new product.
Today’s innovators have a very different toolkit than those of just a few years ago. Creating new products or solutions with maturing technology building blocks like Voice Recognition, AI, AR, robotics, 5G connectivity, and IoT is an amazing opportunity. As a result, the products being developed are equally amazing, delivering solutions that can change and improve people’s lives.
CES 2020 Takeaway #2 – Every Company is a Technology Company
The second and third keynotes of the show were from Daimler and Delta, where both companies introduced technologies that impact the way we move from place to place. We all know car makers are already morphing into tech companies, building R&D facilities in Silicon Valley and partnering with all kinds of software companies to deliver new solutions. Like other giant corporations, they are intent on participating in the newest mega-trends (like smart cities) as they pivot their business models to meet the challenges of a disrupted future. Airlines are also technology companies, investing in hardware and software solutions that help them differentiate from their competitors and improve the customer experience.
Cosmetic companies are jumping into the technology game by using image recognition, AI, and AR to create makeup that can be inkjet printed directly on the skin. It seems there are few or no industries that technology does not touch or is not transforming in some way.
CES 2020 Takeaway #3 – Innovation is a Team Sport
More and more companies are looking to partnerships to bring technologies together that create solutions to some of the world’s bigger problems. With a desire to combine skills and avoid reinventing the wheel, companies are coming together to create new products.
At CES 2020, Hyundai and Uber announced a partnership to develop a 100% electrically-powered flying taxi that can travel 60 miles, take off and land vertically, and carry four passengers at 180 mph. This is one example of the numerous partnerships announced at CES this year, bringing together software companies with hardware companies, AI specialists with retailers, and robotics companies with medical organizations. These partnerships bring the best of the ingredient technologies together to solve the big problems, to shorten development cycles, and to accelerate speed to market.
CES 2020 Takeaway #4 – Industry Lines are Blurring, Even Disappearing
When you’re on the show floor at CES, it’s very hard to see where one industry stops and another one starts. There are helicopters, bikes, and smart city solutions in the automotive halls, additive manufacturers in the medical technology area, robotics in the smart home zone, and AI and voice recognition just about everywhere.
This blurring of industry lines is indicative of a trend we’ve been seeing in recent years. It’s becoming increasingly hard – and, let’s face it: unnecessary – to pigeon hole companies into specific industry segments. It is invigorating to see companies transforming by bringing technology from adjacent, and sometimes far flung, industries.
CES 2020 Takeaway #5 – Mobility is Becoming Autonomous, Shared, and Multimodal
According to many, smart cities will completely revolutionize the way we move. 5G is seen as the game-changer for connectivity that will enable V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) and V2X (Vehicle to Everything) communication at a bandwidth, speed, and latency to make the movement of autonomous vehicles possible.
Imagine a scenario where a simple app allows you to choose and pay for a multimodal journey that might start on a scooter or electric bike, move to an autonomous bus, then to an Uber flying taxi, and end with a train ride, all just to get from Point A to Point B in the most efficient and cost effective way. This also flips the concept of vehicle ownership on its head, just another thing keeping car makers up at night. In the future, mobility will likely be part of the shared economy, and our desire to own a car will diminish.
CES 2020 Takeaway #6 – Security is Top of Mind
Over recent years, data security has been a secondary topic at CES. Everyone talks about it and appears to care deeply, yet we’re constantly hearing about data breaches with individual’s private data leaked every few months. For some, the concern is that big data is somehow seen as more important than privacy. After all, many technology developments that use AI or machine learning require huge amounts of data to “learn” correctly. Indeed, the more data points these systems have, the more likely they are to come to the right conclusion and drive better outcomes.
However, at this year’s CES, cybersecurity was clearly top of mind and seen as an issue so fundamental that it could slow or stop the adoption of certain technologies. Hacking a smart city, an autonomous vehicle, or smart hospital could have a disastrous impact, so this is continues to be a huge issue for industry to tackle.
As it does every year, CES 2020 delivered
It delivered innovation and creativity, underpinned by game changing ingredient technologies. It delivered solutions that will change the way we live our lives and help solve major challenges. It delivered debate and discussion, bringing key topics to the top of the industry’s agenda. And it delivered inspiration.
Thank you CES 2020!