I had the opportunity to attend the world's biggest tech conference, CES 2020. The sheer magnitude of it is enough to make one truly believe in the "world's biggest" tech conference. This year it took place from the 7th Jan to 10th Jan in Las Vegas, and prototypes from Sony's future car to Hyundai's flying taxi were astounding. Many displays and keynote sessions also paved the way for what the trends will be in the coming years.
Here are my takeaways from the past week in Las Vegas:
1. The transportation future is autonomous
The hype and conversation around the future of transportation being autonomous has been going on for a while. However, CES 2020 confirmed it, paving the way for a new wave of technology and how humans transport. Hyundai showcased S-A1 air taxi in partnership with Uber that is designed to cruise at 200 MPH with an operating range of about 60 miles. Confirming my hunch in air taxis, Bell Nexus showcased Bell Nexus 4EX air taxi; a helicopter that can carry 4-5 passengers for up to 60 miles, cruising at 150 MPH.
While flying cars and taxis were definitely a hit, Honda showcased an augmented driving concept that envisions a future sans pedals with full control lying in the steering wheel.
I was personally surprised by Sony displaying a car at CES this year. While the company does not plan to venture into cars, the purpose of displaying the Sony Vision-S was primarily to show how Sony’s cameras, sensors and communications technologies can be integrated into a daily driving car. Another very interesting showcase was definitely Mercedes-Benz teaming up with James Cameron to show VISION AVTR in a crazy concept that merges humans and machines. Interestingly, Lamborghini and Amazon displayed Lamborghini Huracan with Alexa integrations that can help control seat heaters, interior lights etc.
LG’s partnership with Adient for a connected self-driving car concept was another interesting showcase. It displayed OLED screen, tablets, snack cart, dry cleaner etc. Bosch debuted LiDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles and Toyota’s LQ concept car showcased automated driving capabilities.
2. The sharing economy takes over the road
Another very important takeaway from CES 2020 was how sharing economy is now moving and taking over the road, in terms of how public transport will continue to innovate. The conference particular conference saw five speakers discussing the ever-growing advancement of technology and how it especially impacts buses, trams, and other rideables.
3. 8k TV with super OLED displays shines
CES, being the biggest consumer tech conference, naturally has a large showcase of TVs every year. However, this year showed 4k TVs, 8K TVs and OLED displays. Samsung displayed The Wall MicroLED-based TV that showed off 8K QLED. OLED TVs deliver the best visual qualities and their sales grew by almost 20% in 2019.
4. Google innovates by being more AI friendly
Google focused on showing off its voice-command, AI helper, Google Assistant. Google showed more and more innovations that make AI friendly and easy to use in everyday tasks. For instance, I loved the new command “Hey Google, read this page” that will allow Google to read a long article for you by only reading relevant texts and thereby saving times. Google’s booth displayed products that work well with Assistant including smart lighting, speakers, Nest hub etc.
5. The home gets smarter
One of the most exciting thing that came out of CES 2020 was the number of gadgets that are set to make the home smarter. I was impressed with the number of intelligent gizmos that will change the way our homes function in the coming years. One of my favourite displays was “Ballie”, an AI voice assistant from Samsung that interacts not just with you but also with the other smart devices in your house, much like a butler. Samsung also showcased “Sero” that is a 47-inch 4K QLED TV screen. What’s interesting is that it can connect to your phone and if your phone is android, it will automatically rotate 90 degrees to Portrait mode, thereby allowing viewers to view phone-based content on their TV.
The LG ThinQ Smart Door was another very interesting showcase in the smart home category that takes security on another level. It is a monolith that includes multiple biometric security features such as scanning owners' palms and face before granting access to begin with. Meanwhile, the interior of the door featured a mirrored smart screen that displays time, temperature, news etc.
6. A plethora of screens of all shapes and sizes
From TVs to phones, CES 2020 was a mix of interesting screens of all shapes and sizes. Phones focussed on making the screens fold, while TVs focussed on ultra-clear displays. There were 8k televisions despite the lack of 8K content in the market. TVs also saw an increased focus on OLED panels and MicroLED adoption. Samsung displayed a zero-bezel TV as well!
7. Keep their eyes on 5G
A continuous trend that came out of CES this year, was that 5G is really coming and it’s coming fast. I am expecting to see 5G in not just phones, but also laptops and other devices. With networks still working on 5G availability, I am positive that we will see more 5G devices within this year.
8. IoT: Internet of Things' ‚AI or Intelligence of Things
One of the biggest trends of the decade will definitely be the new IoT aka Intelligence of Things. Essentially amounting to the fact that IOT with AI is integrating our lives from every nook and corner and disrupting all major industries and modes of commerce.
9. Foldable phones can bolster client service
CES 2020 featured the expected foldable phones, especially Samsung's Galaxy Fold. However, an interesting trend that came out of conferences and talks was how foldable phones can bolster client service.
CES stands up for every hype created. It truly is the biggest tech show on the planet and lives up to this title. I was able to experience and witness some very interesting technologies and innovations and I am confident that the decade that is about to come is going to be revolutionary. Technology will change the way our lives function, for good.