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On January 5, I attended the CES press kickoff presentation “2020 Trends to Watch,” which was hosted by CES Vice President of Research Steve Koenig and CES Director of Research Lesley Rohrbaugh. Koenig and Rohrbaugh set the stage for the week with their presentation, answering the question, “What’s happening in the industry?”
Koenig described the electronics ecosystem is “dynamic,” characterizing the teens decade as focused on the internet of things (IoT).
Koenig then postulated that the 2020s would be different (the intelligence of things). Koenig’s point is that AI is permeating both commerce and culture and that tech’s influence is affecting human behavior.
The duo of presenters then shifted to a discussion on interconnect technology, segueing into 5G. They provided documentation that approximately 50 5G networks were deployed worldwide in 2019 and that by 2022, it is projected that the majority of cellphones on the market will be 5G capable.
Then, they talked about the drivers for 5G, namely, enterprise. Treating IoT as a key consumer of 5G capabilities, Koenig broke it into two main categories: massive and critical. Massive IoT creates a little data but at a high number of endpoints (think streetlights). Meanwhile, critical IoT may have fewer endpoints but creates a massive amount of data (think biometrics scanners). It seemed their point was to assist the press (and our readers) in better understanding how different IoT devices use the internet.
Rohrbaugh led the discussion about the consumption of AI, identifying four key categories: machine learning, end-user devices, services (for content), and emerging technologies. These categories are already well entrenched in our emerging use of AI already. One need only consider the presence of smart lightbulbs, smart electrical sockets, robotic vacuum cleaners, voice-activated access terminals (e.g., Alexa, Google, Siri), and streaming services. All these touchpoints in our lives learn over time, becoming more configured to us as individuals.
Extended reality, or XR—which is the umbrella term being used for AR and VR—continues to advance closer to the mainstream. Content is also shifting from mainly XR-related to AR-specific.
Next, the presentation shifted focus to automotive. Koenig pointed out that the automotive pavilion is often regarded as a show within a show and made it clear that there will be plenty to see an automotive. Koenig also emphasized that we seem to be near the inflection point for electric vehicles. With battery and charging technology continuing to improve and to deploy, along with better longer-lived electric drive motors, the 2020s are shaping up to be the decade for the electric vehicle. EVs are likely to be a big story here this week.
Of course, we can’t talk electric vehicles without moving over to self-driving fleets (all of which are based on electrically powered platforms). The big theme that Rohrbaugh highlighted is that widely deployed self-driving fleets will require extensive business partnerships: batteries, motors, mechanical design, software programming, etc. The self-driving car is a mechanism too complex for a single company to masterfully build was the implication.
Koenig and Rohrbaugh wrapped up the presentation with a callout about digital health products with 150 exhibitors in that space this year. At least one in three households has a wearable device, and insurance and healthcare providers are beginning to embrace the medical wearable monitoring market as a useful first-level of data collection for ongoing patient care. The pair of presenters also highlighted the tech startup sector with 1,200 startups exhibiting at Eureka Park and 50 alone from Denmark.
Overall, this preview for the media promised a busy and news-filled CES week.