Every January, the world’s leading tech brands and media gather in Las Vegas for CES – a celebration of cutting edge innovation. Around 175,000 people attended the show this year, including over 6,000 journalists and over 68,000 brands.
Here’s a rundown of the biggest trends from the show.
Smarter AI is coming into our homes
Samsung (Edelman client) showcased several concept products showing off their advancements in the AI space. They announced Neon, an interesting AI-powered on-screen avatar that looks and acts like a real human and was described by the company as “Not an AI assistant. Not an interface to the internet. Not a music player. Simply, a friend.” This was also accompanied by a new smart-assistant called Ballie, a tiny personal robot resembling a football that rolls around the home.
Privacy is important, but we’re not seeing progress
Several major tech giants tried to put their best foot forward with new privacy announcements. Google launched two new voice commands for people to better control their privacy while using their popular voice assistant. Facebook showcased a new version of its Privacy Checkup tool to walk users through their privacy settings and Amazon’s video doorbell (Amazon Ring) introduced a new privacy and security dashboard after suffering a security breach. Even Apple appeared at the event for the first time in decades to join a panel discussion on privacy.
But The Washington Post was sceptical of ‘privacy-washing’, suggesting that many tech companies continue to gobble up data while failing to make any meaningful progress towards protecting consumer privacy.
Foldable screens are getting popular
Foldable displays are now becoming increasingly common, with notable product announcements from Lenovo and Dell. Lenovo displayed its ThinkPad X1 Fold which it describes as a "foldable PC" but appears to work similarly to a foldable tablet, while Dell displayed its own concept devices including a dual-screen laptop and a tablet.
The wellbeing industry is getting a tech upgrade
Health and wellness took centre stage at the annual Digital Health Summit. Sleeping has become an in-vogue health and wellness topic in recent years, and the technology is coming. SleepTech is teed-up to be a huge market, with announcements at CES including several climate controlling mattresses, a snore-stopping pillow, and an advanced smartwatch designed for monitoring signs of sleep apnea.
Other interesting HealthTech came from OrCam, whose wearable camera employs lip-reading technology to improve the effectiveness of hearing aids by isolating specific voices.
Most mobility innovations are still just concepts, but they’re edging closer to reality
As we come closer to electric vehicles becoming the norm and automated cars hitting the mainstream, several companies used CES as an opportunity to show off their visions for the future of transport. There were dozens of products and concepts on display, ranging from the practical to the fantastical.
Fisker announced its new Ocean SUV, which is claims is “the world’s most sustainable vehicle”. The car features a solar roof that can provide up to 1,000 miles worth of power in a year and is less than half the price of Tesla’s Model X SUV.
Mercedes showed off its Vision AVTR concept car, featuring a design that was directly inspired by the movie Avatar and is company’s vision of what cars will look like in the distant future. It abandons the conventional steering wheel in favour of controls that connect the driver directly to the car through biometric readings.
Meanwhile, Hyundai demonstrated a flying taxi concept which it will be working with Uber to roll out. The company is hoping to have the vehicle out of the lab and up in the skies by 2023.
Check out our pick of the top 10 most inventive announcements from CES 2020:
- NextMind took hands-free to a whole new level with a Bluetooth headband that allows the wearer to control TV channels and games directly from their brain using AI-based algorithms.
- Charmin tried to solve that pesky household problem of running out of toilet roll with a robot that brings users a spare roll when called for through a smartphone app.
- The Juno Chiller is a cooler that spins drinks to chill them in under a minute, without making them fizz when opened.
- Impossible Foods created a fake pork solution that will soon be available at select US Burger King branches.
- AirSelfie gave the selfie-stick an upgrade by creating a drone that uses facial recognition to take selfies at the perfect angle.
- Kohler showed off a portable smart-speaker that hooks up to your showerhead for music while you shower.
- Bosch has developed a virtual visor that uses AI to track your eyes while you’re driving and block out the sun, without obstructing your view.
- Wello debuted a new way to get around with their solar-powered auto rickshaw.
- Mateo made a smart bathroom mat that tracks your weight and posture.
- Lexilife created a pulsing light to make reading easier for people with dyslexia.
To learn more about the exciting tech showcased at CES this year, read Justin Westcott’s blog from his time on the ground here.