CES Review – 2020’s tech trends

CES in Las Vegas is known for being the world’s leading gathering place for people who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. This annual event is how every leader in innovative technology kicks off their calendar year. From self-driving cars to the latest in beauty technology, along with 175,000 delegates and over 1,000 speakers (one of which being the daughter of the President of the United States), the list of what the show had to offer this year was simply mind blowing.

Each year, CES has major themes that seem to slip their way into every tech company’s announcements. 5G, XR, AI, and 8K were the major themes that dominated the 2019 show, and if this tech show is anything to go by, they’re only set to become more prominent through 2020.

5G continues to grow

Since its initial rollout in 2019, 5G will be even more accessible throughout 2020. CES saw Samsung unveil its latest 5G Telematics Control Unit (TCU) technology and join forces with BMW to showcase their collaborative project to create ‘mobility experiences of the future’. 5G-capable TCU brings together technologies such as; ADAS, AI, semiconductors, memory, batteries, as well as user interface, car audio and driver experiences, linking external networks to onboard electronics systems, where vital real-time information is accessible to drivers in a range of situations. BMW went on to announce that 2021’s BMW iNEXT will be the first car in the world to use with 5G technology from Samsung and HARMAN.

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AI delivers our sci-fi fantasies

It was clear that AI would continue to play a huge role in the immediate future of tech. While devices are getting smarter, we are seeing increasing numbers of tech companies declaring that their innovations are AI (even when that’s not necessarily the case).

Samsung-backed start-up, Neon, used their platform at CES to launch a product that sci-fi fans have been dreaming of for the last 20 years – a neural network known as Core R3 that simulates incredibly human-like avatars. These avatars can be used in many ways – as digital assistants, translators, flight attendants, and whatever else fits the need of the person or business controlling them. Their anatomy is so similar to that of a human it’s as if they had been plucked straight out of the Blade Runner movies.

Neon described the technology as; “A computationally created virtual being that looks and behaves like a real human, with the ability to show emotions and intelligence.”

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Tech tackles health and wellbeing

As technology evolves to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, it is important to mention the digital health innovations that were being shared at this year’s CES. The most notable trend in the digital health sector was the increasing interest in AI fitness apps that offer interactive, motion tracking and digital recognition capabilities as a replacement for costly and sometimes inaccessible personal trainers.

The event floor was flooded with advanced wearable technology to help with health and wellbeing. From gadgets with the ability to measure your glucose levels, to your body temperature and even your toilet habits! On top of tech that measures your fitness activities, there is also a plethora of devices for all things sleep released – smart mattresses, sleep measurement and stress relievers.

Other health and wellbeing technology included the BenjiLock bike that uses fingerprint recognition to unlock the bike. This isn’t the only time we have seen biometrics being demonstrated at CES. The event was packed with products – mainly locking systems – that incorporated the use of fingerprints and other biometric methods as security measures. One exhibitor was even promoting a “fingerprint free” touch lock. It was also the first time that the event used facial recognition for delegates to receive their ID badges.

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Sustainability offers an opportunity for new ideas

Sustainability played a huge part in this year’s CES, as expected. The event saw many new sustainability innovations from tech giants, including robots designed for clearing rubbish off beaches and a highly impressive rooftop panel that uses solar energy to create water. In food tech, Impossible Foods shone once again, continuing the success of its ‘impossible burger’, and the vegan food company launched its new plant-based pork, containing roughly half the calories of sausage meat and even less fat, as well as being sustainable and cruelty free. Additionally, manufacturing company John Deere spoke passionately about methods of reducing chemical use in farming.

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Uber takes to the skies

Uber launch their own ‘Uber Copter’. The ride-sharing company unveiled their plans to implement ‘flying taxis’ into their transport offering, through the display of a full-size model of the vehicle, created with Hyundai, offering customers the chance to “fly above the traffic rather than add to it.” Uber plans to have fully implemented this service by 2023 and is already working with aircraft manufacturers, Bell Helicopter and Embraer, to make this happen. Will the ‘Uber Coper’ be a disaster for the environment? According to a report by Jalopnik, the current Uber helicopters burn around 88 gallons of fuel per hour. Is this a step in the wrong direction for Uber in an era where our society is becoming more aware of the effects our carbon footing has on the environment.  Or will this new electric version with its ability to fly in a direct line prove to be more sustainable than fossil fuel taxis?

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