Last updated: 21 January 2020
This year marks the 53rd annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. And, as seems to be the case very year, this year the show was the biggest and best one yet. With new inventions stretching the imagination and appearing in almost every sector, 2020 promises to be an exciting year for technology, in particular within automotive, mobile, and connectivity. Here’s a breakdown of what we anticipate being the most important trends this year, based on observations from CES.
The Rise of Biometrics
While biometric technology now plays a regular part in our lives, for example when we unlock our smartphones, or pass through border control at the airport, the number of uses for the technology are continually increasing. 2020 marks the first year, for instance, that CES registered attendees could opt-in to pick up their ID badges using facial recognition. This was done at the entrance gates by comparing a photo of the person taken at the event to the photo they used to register.
However, the presence of biometrics at the show was much more than just at the entrance. There were also a range of exhibitors demonstrating how their biometric technology can tackle modern day challenges, extending far beyond unlocking our various items.
Some highlights this year included Union Community, who introduced a new category of biometrics with its Pet ID nose print recognition technology to identify pets who go missing, as well as LG who showed off a door that could scan your face to unlock. The door opens after scanning your face and palm for identity and, at the side, it also includes in-built delivery receptacles — one for packages and one for perishables.
With the conversation about data privacy heating up, it is perhaps not surprising that this year’s CES included several panels centered around privacy. Most notably, there was a live-streamed panel with the Chief Privacy Officers of Facebook, Apple, Procter & Gamble and the FTC.
This panel discussion focused on how companies could build privacy at scale, the role regulation could play in furthering privacy, and what consumers want when it comes to privacy. California’s new SB-327 law, which went into effect on January 1, was discussed at length – as it now requires that smart-home devices have “reasonable” protections of user privacy, after multiple devices experienced hacks in 2019.
In addition, one of the most heated topics debated was the idea of privacy-by-default, as research has shown that most consumers don’t change their default privacy settings.
Participating in public dialogue about such issues should help reinforce the message that privacy remains a top priority in this industry, as well as setting a precedent for future discussions in years to come.
Another trend we have seen developing at CES for a number of years now is the rise of autonomous vehicles. However, at CES 2020, there were more of them being showcased than ever before. With many vendors in agreement that commercial autonomous vehicles will be widely available sometime in the next 10 years, perhaps it is not surprising that the focus for many companies has shifted towards using CES as an opportunity to market their luxury autonomous cars of the future. Having said that, manufacturers also used CES as an opportunity to give attendees a glimpse of the future of public transport – with Hyundai’s autonomous shuttle showing that quality of transportation, efficiency and safety can all go hand in hand.
The real leaps forward in terms of autonomous vehicle technology have been in navigation, due to the fact individual companies have, until recently, each been developing their own mapping systems and often duplicating one another’s work, with no consistency between platforms.
Now, however, we’re starting to see the introduction of more software-as-a-service systems (SaaS), where any automaker can integrate another company’s software into their vehicle without having to develop a program of their own.
At CES 2020 for example, HERE Technologies announced that software is now available for manufacturers to integrate into their infotainment systems. This means manufacturers will be able to monitor the software after it’s installed and send updates over the air. With this the scope and power of autonomous vehicles is on the up each year, it will be fascinating to witness how these vehicles come to everyday fruition in the not so distant future.
Another trend that is here to stay focuses on the initiatives being put in place to redesign cities so that they are smarter and more sustainable. As smart solution providers are increasingly collaborating with public policy officials, and with advancements in next generation technology, the possibilities of processing evermore data inside the smart city, and therefore connecting more objects inside it, is expanding in capacity.
The importance of smart cities to IoT device manufacturers is perhaps no better demonstrated than by Toyota’s CES announcement to begin work on its Woven City project — a smart city concept that will be constructed in Japan underneath Mount Fuji, and will allow engineers to test self-driving vehicles, smart tech and robotics in a real-life environment.
The recognition that they could help countries solve some of the world’s most difficult upcoming challenges, including water conservation and climate change, mean that there has never been more of a demand for the sensors and data processing tech that accompanies them. Hopefully the pace at which we see smart cities popping up will have increased by next year’s CES.
Next Generation Health Tech
Wearable and health tech devices have featured at CES for a number of years; however, they were more plentiful than ever before at this year’s show. This is largely due to advances in chips and low-power wireless technology, which are now able to fully support the requirements needed to continually power these innovative solutions that will diagnose, monitor and treat our various illnesses.
CES 2020 saw numerous new smart health tech and femtech (technology addressing women’s health and wellbeing) devices that measure all the vital signs you could possibly imagine, including calorie intake, glucose levels, driver distraction, body temperature, sleep levels and can even predict when you’re likely to have your next bowel movement. That kind of tech doesn’t stink and truly puts health care directly in the hands of consumers.
French company URGOTECH, for example, launched its new sleep-focused product URGOnight – a connected headband that helps users with daytime sleep training and uses neurofeedback therapy to train the brain to produce brainwaves associated with sleep. And Tokyo based company Bisu presented a smart urine analyzer that helps consumers get personalized diet advice and optimize their health. With the healthcare industry currently being transformed by machine learning capabilities to spot patterns in data, the popularity of wearables and other devices that give us the power to monitor our own health better than ever before is unlikely to decrease anytime soon.
Did you attend the CES conference this year? What was your favorite innovation from the show? Let us know what your thoughts were by posting a comment below or tweeting to us @Gemalto.