For a few days every January, the future descends on Las Vegas. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) draws hundreds of thousands of attendees eager for a first glance or grasp of the technology of tomorrow, but the annual trade show is more than just a mecca for the tech set: With its buffet of cutting-edge gadgets and curious consumers, CES is an unrivaled feast for marketers as well. Now, even if you couldn’t make it, here’s your chance to take a look at some of the most exciting trends on display at CES 2019:
Connect the Devices
“Everything is connected” might sound like inspirational advice you find printed on the side of a tote bag, but at CES, this mantra applied to a host of devices making their debut. For years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has built invisible bridges between our gadgets and making them smarter, and today, device manufacturers are hoping that consumers will continue to embrace the smart revolution. From diapers to lawnmowers, no product is safe from the long arm of connectivity.
The proliferation of connected devices is powered by the quasi-imminent arrival of 5G cellular networks. Experts predict the widespread commercial availability of 5G products is at least one year away, but when it does come marching in, it’s expected to unleash unprecedented mobile internet speeds and a massive wave of interconnected devices—potentially 50 billion globally by 2020. There’s still much left to be developed before 5G can usher in a connected mobile utopia, but as the sheer number and scope of connected devices at CES suggests, a more connected future is on its way.
It’s an AI’s world, and increasingly, humans are simply living in it. Countless products featured at CES were powered by artificial intelligence or machine learning, revealing how what was once a wild fantasy is now quotidian. Ironically, many people still have passive anxieties surrounding AI, so AI’s wide reach reflects that the presentation of this technology has become so subtle and non-threatening that most users are barely conscious of it. The machines are becoming more human—or, at least, more palatable for humans. Many of the AI gadgets on display at CES this year were smart speakers or other smart devices, like microwaves or appliances, that connect with them.