So you couldn’t make it to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas? No worries. We’ve got you covered. Check out the top three trends that emerged from this year’s show:
In 2018, data privacy became more serious than ever before. First, the year brought some pretty big data breaches (think: Facebook, Marriott, and Exactis). Second, new laws on the books (think: GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018).
So, it’s no wonder that privacy was a major topic at this year’s CES.
Perhaps a bit surprisingly, it was CES no-show Apple who kicked off the conversation with a 13-story billboard touting its approach to privacy. In what seemed like a hit to the recent privacy breaches faced by Google and Amazon, and in a nod to CES host city, Las Vegas, Apple had this to say:
Apple has always said they sell hardware and software, not customer data – a stance that’s well documented. This billboard overlooking the CES convention center reminded visitors of Apple’s long-standing approach. It also served as a cue to show participants that they need to be able to tell their own user privacy story in a compelling way.
However, the privacy conversation didn’t end there. Here are some other CES exhibitors creating products that target data privacy:
- A Chicago-based company introduced the Winston router, a device that’s able to stop tracking and surveillance and can also block ads and geolocation.
- Startup Smarte launched its new product, Mute, that creates a layer of protection to stop voice-enabled devices from picking up conversations not intended for queries.
- Mycroft presented its Mark II – an alternative smart assistant that promises never to collect or store any user data. Think: a smart assistant without a search history.
- Allstate unveiled its new “digital footprint” product that crawls the Internet to find customer online accounts, helping them understand which companies have collected their information and if that information has been compromised.
The Battle for Voice Control
Prior to CES, Amazon announced that its Echo speakers and third-party vendors using the system have sold over 100 million units.
That is until Google followed suit and announced that its Google Assistant would be on 1 billion devices by the end of January 2019.
At CES, the battle for who will become the “voice computing” market leader was on full display. The result was a stunning array of new products that integrate a voice assistant from one of the two companies (or sometimes both). Here are just a few examples:
- Kohler introduced an Alexa-enabled faucet that can turn on and control water temperature via voice
- Schlage debuted its Encode Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Deadbolt —their first Wi-Fi connected smart lock that doesn’t need a hub. It can store up to 100 unlock codes that can be permanent, temporary, or active during certain times. With the lock’s Alexa skill enabled, you can lock and unlock the door remotely and check the lock’s status at any time.
- Sonos showed off Google Assistant support on its Sonos Beam and Sonos One speakers (which are already Alexa enabled)
- GE demonstrated a 27-inch touchscreen – essentially a huge Android device – that’s made to be mounted above your stove. The touchscreen can be used for anything from looking up recipes to watching a bit of Netflix while you cook.
The dueling voice assistants were also integrated into a variety smart thermometers, door locks, showers, speakers, robot vacuums, ovens, sound bars, TVs, and washing machines.
But why all the fuss? Why are these tech giants battling so hard for voice-control supremacy? According to USA Today, the stakes are pretty high:
“The companies are pushing so hard to get their position in voice computing because ‘the battle for clicks, for pinches and zooms are over,’ says Bret Kinsella, the editor of Voicebot.ai, a blog that chronicles the growth of voice computing. ‘The Assistant will decide which website you go to, which shopping site you visit. Who is in control of those choices? Google, Amazon, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft?. This is a battle for survival.’”
We’ve written before about 5G – the next generation cellular network. In case you need to catch up, here’s a quick 5G cheat-sheet for you:
- 3G brought the Internet to our phones
- 4G enabled the rise of mobile-only companies (e.g. Uber)
- 5G will process data 10X faster than 4G enabling a host of new products and capabilities
At CES, we not only saw phone manufacturers highlighting 5G phone prototypes and potential, but we also saw chip makers and manufacturers from other industries, like automotive, dipping their toes in the 5G pond. For example, chipmaker Qualcomm devoted a large portion of its booth to showing off what 5G could potentially do on VR headsets. In one demonstration, a VR headset played a video streamed entirely over a 5G network with no latency. Car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW also showed off concepts of autonomous vehicles powered by artificial intelligence and 5G wireless connections.
While 5G isn’t quite ready for prime time, the opportunities for this technology are exciting.
These three trends align with some of the core offerings of Dev IQ: stable, secure software and application development, voice computing expertise and deep mobile experience. For more information about the exciting innovations coming out of this year’s CES, check out the official CES site. Then let’s connect! We’d love to show you how Dev IQ can help your organization keep a pulse on the latest trends impacting your organization’s technology.
Marketing Strategist, busy mama & blogger extraordinaire