There’s no quiet January for the tech industry. All eyes will once again be turned to Las Vegas for the biggest consumer electronics event on the planet: CES. Once again there will be thousands of exhibitors showing off their latest wares across three million square feet of conference floor around the city. With the likes of Sony, Samsung, LG, Amazon and a range of carmakers all set to unveil new products and prototypes, there’s plenty to make the journey worthwhile.
Over previous years we’ve seen innovations as diverse as 4K UHD displays, virtual reality headsets, and even — going right back to the early noughties — Blue Ray players. The big question is what’s coming next. Here are some of the areas we think might generate the biggest interest at the show.
A 5G revolution?
With network providers ramping up full-scale rollouts of 5G technology throughout late 2019 and into 2020, the consumer electronics space will start to respond with new gadgets designed to take advantage of the searingly fast broadband speeds this supports. Expect to see laptops, smartphones, tablets, and a host of connected technologies touting 5G capabilities in what could be a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity. Intel, for one, is gearing up having recently announced a partnership with MediaTek to develop 5G components for 5G laptops.
Get set for 8K
Samsung has been leading the 8K charge for most of 2019, but has not yet really won consumer hearts and minds. Our take from IFA 2019 was that there’s no head-turning jump in performance over 4K displays big enough to warrant the significant extra cost. But with LG, Sony, TCL, Hisense and Sharp all getting in on the act, CES 2020 could set the stage for a new generation of more affordable 8K TVs.
We are more likely, however, to see more TV innovations like LG’s roll-up 4K OLED display, Samsung’s The Frame concept, and Panasonic’s transparent OLED set. These have struck a chord with the public over recent months.
IoT is coming of age. The intersection of many technologies takes place in the smart home. And with 5G finally set to reduce latency and improve the performance of connected technologies, we could see these systems starting to deliver on their undoubted potential. This year, expect a surge of new products featuring built-in support for AI-powered voice assistants – the digital glue that binds these heterogeneous offerings together.
In fact, connectivity will continue to extend way beyond the home. Innovations in the automotive sector include a new Transparent Hood from Continental, and advanced sensors to support autonomous vehicles. For a true glimpse of the future, how about this new brain-sensing wearable from French start-up NextMind? The neurotech device senses and translates brain signals from the user into digital commands for their devices.
It will be a while before this replaces the voice commands used today by Siri and Alexa. But that’s what people come to CES for: to have a look at the trends of tomorrow.
© CONTEXT 2020