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Trend Forecast

Trends to Watch at CES 2020: Into the Data Age

CES 2020, the world’s biggest consumer electronics show, marks the beginning of a new decade by featuring some of the coolest transformative technologies in the modern era. With more than 4,400 exhibitors and approximately 170,000 attendees, the exhibition showcased over 20,000 products across 11 venues in Las Vegas during January 7-10, 2020, including many innovations in 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, autonomous vehicles, digital health, smart cities, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).

Attendees explore the latest developments in AI and the next generation of intelligent, autonomous machines at CES 2020. (Photo credit: CES)

Attendees explore the latest developments in AI and the next generation of intelligent, autonomous machines at CES 2020. (Photo credit: CES)

As IEK Consulting indicated in a seminar early this year, the exhibition reveals a major tech trend of the new “IoT”, or so-called “Intelligence of Things”. The word “Intelligence” here refers to AI, the driving force behind the next generation of technologies and industrial innovations.

“Although AI is not omnipotent, it will be indispensable over the next decade,” said Stephen Su, ITRI’s Vice President and General Director of Industry, Science and Technology International Strategy Center.

Su further explains that application of the new “IoT” already exists in “Things”. For instance, in agriculture where drones can improve crop yields by detecting dry areas for watering, and in wearable technologies like ITRI’s iStimUweaR, a CES Innovation Award 2020 honoree featuring smart washable fabric that can record and evaluate a wearer’s performance for sport/healthcare management. These suggest that AI is permeating our everyday life through gadgets or devices and providing solutions to address global challenges.

ITRI developed smart washable fabric technology for sport/healthcare management.

ITRI developed smart washable fabric technology for sport/healthcare management.

According to IEK Consulting, three key themes were highlighted at CES 2020: Smart Everything, audio/video technology, and autonomous technology.

The so-called “Smart Everything” underscores the confluence of AI, 5G and edge computing. In the data age, the surge of AI-based analysis via the adoption of edge computing and 5G connectivity leads to greater data processing power, supporting 100 times more connected devices.

Tsu-Yu Chao, Division Director of ITRI’s Industry, Science and Technology International Strategy Center shared his view on the role and impact of 5G based on his observation at CES 2020. “5G technologies will be a game changer for vertical sectors such as transport and manufacturing,” he said. An example is Sony’s smart car, which adopts 5G, advanced sensing, and visual technology to detect the concentration and fatigue levels of the driver through facial expression and body movement. This prototype can also automatically adjust cabin temperature based on passengers’ conditions for better comfort.

Another key theme to look at is the revolutionary audio/video technology. Big companies like Samsung and LG followed the trend to target smart home innovations including the debut of new 8K TVs. These giant displays utilize the power of AI to optimize resolution, sound settings as well as smart capabilities, for example by placing health and wellness content onto TV for consumers to track their fitness progress. Also, novel ways of mirroring content and controlling home devices are introduced to provide users with a more immersive viewing experience.

Meanwhile, autonomous technology that centers on self-driving vehicles also played a major role at CES. Though fully autonomous cars are not quite ready yet to roam on the streets without human assistance, major tech brands surprised us with some of their concepts and visions. BMW, for instance, demonstrated a mock-up cabin featuring gaze detection, which can track what you are looking at outside of the car and then present relevant information about it, providing users with an immersive experience.

A self-driving car that features a gaze detection system and provides users with an immersive experience. (Photo credit: BMW)

A self-driving car that features a gaze detection system and provides users with an immersive experience. (Photo credit: BMW)

Apart from the three key themes highlighted at the show, Chao noted that CES 2020 definitely shed light on the rise of AI consumerization. He explained, “Fusion AI is like an ‘enabler’ that will boost the use of more AI control for many end devices and services.”

With increasing transformative technologies and emerging trends including self-driving cars and digital health being played out across this year’s show floor, this signals the advent of the data age, where consumers will embrace faster connectivity and advanced intelligence for vital technologies to optimize our everyday life.

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