Silicon in Focus: CES 2020

CES 2020

As CES 2020 approaches, Silicon spoke with leading technology specialists and asked what they think are the highlights of the forthcoming event.

As the world’s largest and most influential tech event, CES 2020 represents the entire scope of the global technology market – from AI to 5G, vehicle technology, AR/VR, robotics and beyond. With 61% of all Fortune Global Brands participating, CES 2020 will transform industries beyond the traditional tech space, reinforcing that every company is now a tech company. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), CES 2020 will run January 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Companies across every major industry are using technology to transform their businesses, and CES 2020 will be the global stage for the latest innovation across all sectors,” said Karen Chupka, EVP, CES. “The show will represent all facets of global business where attendees can expect the unexpected.”

With more than 170,000 attendees, 4,500 exhibitors and over 1,100 industry thought leaders on the CES stage, what was once a traditional technology tradeshow has evolved into a global event for all industries.

Dave Castell, GM Inventory and Partnerships for EMEA, The Trade Desk.

Dave Castell, GM Inventory and Partnerships for EMEA, The Trade Desk
Dave Castell, GM Inventory and Partnerships for EMEA, The Trade Desk

The latest and greatest TV tech is a guaranteed feature of CES, but this year we’re more interested in what will be seen on-screen rather than the set itself. The TV streaming market has heated up significantly over the past few months with the entrance of several new streaming platforms – and there’s no question that 2020 will be the year that connected TV claims the crown from its old, linear predecessor.

As a result, the traditional practice of upfronts is set to be turned on its head. Advertisers will cease to blindly commit big budgets to programming with no real sense of the content their adverts will appear next to, or how it will perform. Rather than locking spending into linear campaigns starting in six months, we’ll see a new kind of deal – let’s call it ‘newfronts’ – where advertisers commit instead to data-driven ad campaigns for streaming services. I believe this year’s CES is where we will start to see this shift – and consumers will be grateful to see random ads replaced with smart inspiration for the products they want and need the most.

Geoff Blaber, Vice President of Research, Americas, CES Insight.

Geoff Blaber, Vice President Research, Americas, CES Insight.
Geoff Blaber, Vice President Research, Americas, CES Insight.

2020 could be a defining year for CES. With high profile names such as Intel, Qualcomm and Nvidia either reducing their presence or not exhibiting at all, CES needs to show that its increasingly broad scope from automotive to wearables and robotics is relevant in the face of competition from smaller, more focused events”

The strength of CES has always been its breadth but as the technology landscape continues to grow, the event is becoming vast in size and scale. Automotive, 8K TV, content and Smart Home will be a central focus with 5G and WiFi6 the connective tissue that promises to connect these disparate parts.

With the North American International Auto Show now later in the year and 8K finally emerging from a niche to mainstream TVs, CES 2020 is likely to be dominated by automotive and 8K TV announcements. The hits of previous years such as wearables and VR are likely to struggle to be heard above the noise from North and Central Halls.

In recent years, the Smart Home has been dominated by the presence of Amazon and Google with their respective assistants. The big question is how this market scales and whether it’s sustainable for a vast eco-system of players. Signs of consolidation seem inevitable in the next few years with CES the canary in the coalmine.

Declan Fay, VP of Strategic Business Development, Mobica.

Declan Fay, VP of Strategic Business Development, Mobica
Declan Fay, VP of Strategic Business Development, Mobica.

At CES 2020, we would expect to see current and emerging trends in digital including products, solutions and services targeted at the consumer market as well as how providers, from silicon to products and platforms are responding.

Digital is increasingly transcending markets so, in addition to smart home and wearables, we should see everything from connected health, sports, autonomous driving and smart cities as well as the current and emerging tech supporting this market convergence such as 5G, AI and automation. In an increasingly digital world, core issues like privacy and security should be front and centre too, and the program line-up looks to have a significant focus on diversity which is timely, topical and well-placed at CES.

Pedro Pacheco, Senior Director Research, Automotive and Smart Mobility, Gartner.

Pedro Pacheco, Senior Director Research, Automotive and Smart Mobility, Gartner.
Pedro Pacheco, Senior Director Research, Automotive and Smart Mobility, Gartner.

We predict CES2020 will remain as a key event for technology and innovation, attracting more companies from outside the tech realm, like automotive. As such, it’s no coincidence mobility will be one of the main areas of the show. We will see mobility companies announcing technologies around AI, autonomous drive and smart mobility platforms.

On a more general level, we will see more, smarter and more specialized applications of AI, not only moving towards the democratization of the technology, as also enabling more multi-experience (like augmented reality) and human augmentation. Displays and immersive experience will also be present, along with concerns around data privacy and analytics.

Thomas Husson, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester.

Thomas Husson, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester
Thomas Husson, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester.

Given the massive number of start-ups and large consumer electronics brands announcing new products at the show, it is difficult to stand out from the crowd at CES. That said, this annual tech bonanza gathering is always a key opportunity to put technology-led innovation in the context of broader key trends impacting businesses.

Most discussions are likely to be centered on how companies in automotive, health, and smart home industries plan to leverage AI, automation and robotics to launch new offerings and experiences. Whether robot vacuum cleaners with security cameras or new brain-sensing wearable devices generate the most hype remains to be seen. What’s for sure is that privacy and security questions will be front and center. Consumers are increasingly in search of deeper meaning and look at technology not just as a way to improve their daily lifestyle but also to minimize climate change. Expect a lot more innovation this year both around individual wellness and collective tech for good initiatives.

While not new, the focus on new products powered by advanced audio technologies, augmented reality and computer vision will accelerate. Adding sensors to computing machines and peripherals will humanize technology and enable consumers to scan and interact with the world around them. While early days, these technologies will make contextual marketing more powerful.

8K displays, OLED/QLED TVs, foldable or roll-able screens, new line of smart appliances and connected products from the likes of Samsung, LG, or Sony won’t really get noticed because what matters is how they truly morph into total consumer experiences powered by content and personalized services.

The likely focus on 5G connectivity will fail CMOs and business executives too. To consumers, 5G in 2020 will feel like 3G in 2004 or 4G in 2010. It won’t enable new business or marketing use cases due to a lack of critical mass – and will primarily remain a hot debate between telcos, network equipment vendors and industrial firms.

Fiamma Panerai, Global Digital Strategy Director, Spark44.

Fiamma Panerai, Global Digital Strategy Director, Spark44
Fiamma Panerai, Global Digital Strategy Director, Spark44.

Last year CES was about 5G, AI and smart device connectivity. In this era of endless digital disruption, where individualization, on-demand and seamless customer journeys are table stakes, I expect CES 2020 to bring immersive technologies like voice assistants, chatbots and mixed reality at the fore, for real.

With 5G will come more online content and more visual spam. Voice assistants not only offer unprecedented convenience by helping consumers navigate their overwhelming number of choices, but also minimise costs and risks.

In the end, customers make trade-offs and create habits around products that improve their lives. It won’t be long until their allegiance will shift from trusted brands to a trusted AI assistant. In this context, brands should balance reinforcing direct relationships with consumers and optimising their positions on AI platforms.

So, while I hope we’ll be hearing a lot about the future of data privacy to tech-driven immersive experiences, I’m also looking forward to seeing more bold, brave and honest sharing of cases about how connected voice assistants have used predictive AI to help brands better engage with consumers on a daily basis. The world needs leaders who walk the talk.

Professor Kevin Curran, Senior IEEE member and Professor of Cybersecurity at Ulster University.

Professor Kevin Curran, Senior IEEE member and Professor of Cybersecurity at Ulster University.
Professor Kevin Curran, Senior IEEE member and Professor of Cybersecurity at Ulster University.

As in previous conferences, CES 2020 can expect to see incremental security and privacy enhancements from both software and hardware vendors, including ARM, Intel, Qualcomm to Microsoft, Google and Facebook. All the IT giants will be there – including Apple for the first time in 28 years – as well as the main security-focused giants. For instance, F-Secure is showcasing its Connected Home Security – One Management App, which aims to offer consumers a personalised, seamless security experience for families in a single app that lets them manage all of their devices. Roomba is rumoured to reveal a robotic vacuum with advanced security cameras, while Firedome, a provider of endpoint cybersecurity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, has been recognised as a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Honouree for its real-time, endpoint cybersecurity solution for IoT devices.

In terms of speaking sessions at CES 2020, Grant Thornton is sponsoring a session, titled: ‘Innovation transforming customer experience for business growth,’ where it will discuss how companies are enhancing customer experiences, while also protecting privacy, mitigating risk and fostering growth. This is important, as evolving expectations from consumers are forcing companies to embrace innovative technologies or risk being overtaken by more disruptive competitors. There will also be a panel, titled ‘Security considerations for a connected future,’ featuring experts from The Columbus Partnership, AB-inBev and Blackberry, who will be discussing how companies and tech innovators can work together to focus on security as we move to a future of smart cities, autonomous vehicles and an IoT future.

In addition, Dell and IBM will discuss how companies are working to ensure best security practices and implement a security-first approach in product design. This is especially relevant given that, in today’s connected world, product usability and security have become equal priorities. There will be a session addressing the factors driving today’s connected consumers to adopt security solutions and strategies that leverage smart home devices and services. STEER tech CEO, Anuja Sonalker, will host a session, discussing why the cybersecurity evolution is at the crossroads of electrification, connectivity and autonomy from new mobility models. This is vital – from product development to post-production deployment and OTA, to real-time service at enterprise scale, cybersecurity more than ever affects automotive and micro-mobility systems.

Finally, Allstate will share how, as artificial intelligence technologies continue to take advantage of large datasets from different sources, it is important that individuals, organisations and governments analyse the effect of automated decision making and determine what privacy policy strategies need to be implemented to ensure trust and security.

Stuart Lipoff, IEEE Fellow and President, IP Action Partners INC.

Stu Lipoff, IEEE Fellow and President, IP Action Partners INC
Stu Lipoff, IEEE Fellow and President, IP Action Partners INC.

At every CES, there are two windows on the consumer electronics industry. One window looks toward the future and is revealed through the presentations in conference educational sessions. The other window looks at the present and is revealed by the actual products on the show floor.

The topics looking toward the future will deal mainly with 5G cellular, Internet of Things (IoT) and consumer privacy/security. 5G cellular will not only increase data speed but also increase capacity for data and voice, likely leading to lower costs and even more high-quality video and rich streaming media. The other feature of 5G is not just high-speed cellular but also for very low speed, unlicensed spectrum support for technologies like IoT. Expect to see every device in your home with a plug or a battery connected to the internet via 5G. With everything big and small connected to the internet, today’s privacy and security issues will become more visible and more in need of solutions.

When we look to the show floor, we’ll see even bigger and better legacy categories of devices in the entertainment, information and communications categories, but the big news will be the explosion of the new categories of products, services and applications that did not exist a few years ago. The list is too long to condense in a few words but the major categories will fall into the automotive, smart home, healthcare, robotics, and drone camps.


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