2017 CES may prove to be a pivotal year. The enormity of the show over multiple locations in Las Vegas makes it impossible to see everything, but the pervasive theme was that key emerging technologies are being transformed through integration and ubiquity. As an example, Internet of Things devices went from demos in a number of assorted focused companies last year, to every booth that builds products for the home. Most devices were tied together as systems and were integrated with Amazon Alexa for control, or used Homekit as their software platform. For the home, almost every appliance had a screen (some replicating mobile phone displays) while providing everything from remote control, to building your grocery lists–from which Alexa can place orders.
UHD technology continues to improve with both hardware and software taking advantage of High Dynamic Range and audio advancements. The TV smarts in the physical device itself have been moved to a separate bar, allowing the display to be thinner than a whiteboard. One demonstration showed a sliding glass door on a bookcase that could be ‘turned on’ and become a TV. On the service delivery side, the network technology for bringing QoS to wireless media delivery also gained considerable attention – good news for MSO and OTT providers focusing on IPTV. And just like with IoT devices; Robots, Drones, VR goggles and smart heads-up glasses were everywhere.
The most integration was seen in the automotive hall, where concept cars had doors that opened with biometrics, were full of cameras and lidar or radar, had virtual ‘personal assistants,’ and were exclusively electric. They provided either mixed autonomous driving or completely driverless operation. A Mercedes panel van without rear or side windows, featured a robotic package handler that retrieved a package and pushed it out the top to a drone for doorstep delivery. Consider all the technologies that have come together for this vehicle–pretty incredible.
This show gave the sense that we are at a technology tipping point where Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence will be coming at us faster than we anticipated, and in many forms. It was a refreshing look into the future.