CES: 2020 end of show roundup
Image credit: reuters
As the world's largest consumer technology show winds down today in Las Vegas, we look at this year's hot topics and headline news.
The IoT was again the buzzword of this year’s massive Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas but with a difference. The Internet of Things is becoming the Intelligence of Things as artificial intelligence, environmental self-awareness and voice recognition join wireless connectivity in many more 'things'.
CES is the world’s largest consumer electronics show, with more than 4,400 exhibiting companies, including 1,200 startups. The number of visitors and exhibitors from China was down a little this year, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) said, due to trade tensions with the US and the economic situation in China. Interest from Japan and Korea were up.
CTA's Steve Koenig and Lesley Rohrbaugh previewed the January US Consumer Technology Sales & Forecasts. Skyrocketing popularity of streaming services along with 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence-enabled devices will drive revenue growth for the US consumer tech industry to a record $422bn in retail revenues in 2020 - nearly 4% growth over last year.
There were 150 exhibitors in vehicle technology this year – larger than many standalone car shows and there were a couple of flying cars on show attracting crowds. Hyundai showed off a model of the S-A1, an electrically powered 'personal air vehicle' capable of carrying up to four passengers. But the business buzz was around developments in self-driving technologies, with companies scrambling to establish their concepts and products in this space. Simulators and real cars are driving millions of miles to help develop software algorithms, for developers including AImotive and Hexagon and many more. Qualcomm debuted the Snapdragon Ride autonomous-driving platform.
Developments in automotive intelligence call for fresh approaches to the dashboard interface. Futurus, Harman, Cerence and Continental were just a few of the companies showing new interactive, voice controlled and in some cases AR displays for drivers, with an eye on the future of autonomous driving when these technologies could evolve into in-car entertainment. There was much talk this year at CES of the car being the new living room, or the living room extending beyond the home to the transport environment.
Digital health was another growth area up 25%, with myriad new technologies and gadgets ranging from everything from interactive yoga mats and meditation monitors, through lots of sleep improvement devices (including smart pyjamas and a smart bathmat that tracks BMI and posture) to ‘Internet of Me’ networked devices that take the idea of the fitness band much further and into the doctor’s surgery. Sex tech was an experiment this year for CES. Gary Shapiro, CTA president and CEO, said they had been careful about which companies it would allow to exhibit, restricting how such products are presented at the show in terms of the images and the dress standards, in order not to offend. He said it would be evaluated to make a decision on whether or not to repeat the category next year.
There seems no end to the development of TV technology, with some 8k launches this year although the broadcasts aren’t there yet. LG revealed OLED (LG Signature OLED 8K) and LCD (LG 8K NanoCell) TV models delivering a 'real' 8K UHD viewing experience. Panasonic launched the Flagship HZ2000 OLED TV with support for the UHD Alliance's Filmmaker Mode. And the UHD Alliance announced two additional television partners for its Filmmaker Mode initiative: Samsung and Phillips.
Samsung Consumer Electronics President and CEO H.S. Kim delivered the first CES 2020 keynote. Kim focused on the "Age of Experience," a decade of human-centric innovation that combines hardware and software to create personalized experiences to make life more convenient, enjoyable and meaningful. Highlighting the company's latest advances in intelligent robotics, AI, 5G and edge computing, Samsung offered a snapshot of the future in which these technologies will come together to offer richer, more adaptive experiences for consumers. "In the Age of Experience, we need to re-think the space we have to accommodate our diverse and evolving lifestyles," said Kim.
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz, delivered a keynote address Monday evening, where he shared the company's plans for a sustainable autonomous future. "When you come to CES you ask yourself what's next and that question is what we have been asking ourselves for 130 years," said Källenius. He was joined on stage by director James Cameron to unveil Mercedes Benz's latest concept car, the Vision AVTR, a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Cameron's film franchise. The car has no doors and 33 movable, multidirectional 'bionic flaps' that are meant to look like scales on a reptile. The Vision AVTR detects your pulse and can sense your breathing. Mercedes designed the concept car to merge the passenger and automobile into a "symbiotic organism."
Other major launches and announcement included:
- BrainCo showcased the final model of its AI-powered prosthetic hand, which works with an amputee's brain waves and muscle signals.
- Brunswick Corporation debuted the SLX-R 400e, a 22-passenger yacht-certified watercraft capable of speeds of 65 mph.
- Procter & Gamble was one of the growing number of companies from outside the tech sector at CES and this year is showed off a concept robot that brings you toilet paper and Oral-B's new connected electric toothbrush, the iO.
- Royole Corporation unveiled its Mirage Smart Speaker, an Amazon Alexa-enabled smart speaker featuring an 8" AMOLED flexible touch display.
- Sony unveiled the Vision S electric concept car featuring 33 different sensors and a newly-designed EV platform.
- Taiwan Excellence showcased multiple innovations from Taiwanese companies, including Noodoe's intuitive charging stations for electric cars.
- Valeo unveiled its autonomous, electric delivery droid prototype, Valeo eDeliver4U.
- FPT Industrial had legendary producer Giorgio Moroder on hand to premier his composition for the company's Cursor X powertrain. You can hear it on Spotify - search for 'Moroder Preludio'. A shortened version will become the sound that drivers hear when they switch on their vehicles, like Brian Eno's Windows 95 signature riff. E&T will have a feature on the collaboration soon.
This year’s show had one of the largest CES Unveiled events in show history, with more than 220 exhibiting companies, including 98 startups from Eureka Park, the startup hub at CES 2020. More than 1,900 media gathered at CES Unveiled for a sneak preview of the innovation debuting this week at the show, including the Source Hydropanel, which can extract water from air and electricity, a service robot for those with disabilities, AR/VR software that shows before and after workout results and a smart thermometer that measures and adjusts oven temperature.
CES expects to have a new hall, which visitors could see under construction near The Sands Expo, ready for next year’s show. CES will be the first to use it, said Shapiro. Elon Musk’s Boring Company also plans to build a tunnel for quick access to the hall but Shapiro said he will see if it is ready in time for CES 2021.
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