What should we expect from CES 2020?

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As you probably have already seen, the internet is already awash with what to expect from CES 2020 articles. In fact, the show has already started for journalists. The rest of us will be let loose on the show floor tomorrow.

But will we see anything radical at this year’s show? While it’s unrealistic to think the event to be widely different from year to year, we’re always talking about how technology evolves rapidly, so it’s not unreasonable to see noticeable evolution, even if a revolution is perhaps a bit much to expect.

Las Vegas CES 2020

Taking flight with Wi-Fi

The first encounter with technology on my CES journey was on my journey to CES – hundreds of miles before I got there, in the form of the in-flight Wi-Fi. I was pleased to see it was being offered on the Dreamliner I was fortunate enough to be flying on and along with USB and regular socket power I was looking forward to my own flying office for a few hours. However, while the plane thankfully remained aloft, my “getting-some-work-done-in-the-air-dreams” stated to come down to earth. It turns out that in-flight Wi-Fi is pretty bad. The patience that it took for me to repeatedly try and connect and pay made it clear that even if I succeeded it wasn’t going to be worth it.

And I was right. I chose the medium £12.99 option for a grand total of 150MB of data and a 350Kb speed limit, thinking this would be enough for me to check the CES app, check some email and perhaps send a small document. Perhaps down on Earth, this might have been fine, but up in the air, the connection was so unreliable as to be unusable and I soon resigned myself to kissing that £12.99 goodbye. It all had the feeling of trying to use dial-up internet in 1996, with painful speeds and being cut off when your Mum picked up the phone. So much for being closer to the cloud.

However, after trying repeated times I was able to login bring up web pages, albeit very slowly, and while frantically trying to stop videos from playing. You don’t think about rationing your data until you can see the numbers racking up

Changing perspectives

I haven’t attended CES since 2006 when USB sticks and portable hard drives were still exciting. From my personal perspective, I’m excited to see how the show floor has changed, now that I’m in the future, as it were.

I’m hoping to be both wowed and amused by-products that are both brilliant, and nonsensical. It might even be difficult to tell the difference between them – all part of the fun!

Many of these will no doubt feature AI. To pick just one example, I’m reading that we can look forward to far better performance from our robot cleaners – those circular ones that cats like to roam around the house on. While these have been around for years, they’ve suffered from being rather dumb, but improvements in vision algorithms will see these being smartened up.

I’ve also heard they are going to be put AI in a toilet. I’m going to have to track that one down to see if it makes any sense or if the idea just… well, stinks. I’m also interested in seeing how AI is advancing this in the kitchen and around the home in general.

AI should also have a big role to play in automotive. Will I see self-driving cars ferrying people around? (Answer – no, of course not. The taxi from the airport had a person driving it, just in case there was any doubt). Will there be convincing evidence that self-driving cars are becoming a reality? I’m also keen to see what the latest is in automotive in terms of large all-screen dashboards and cool in-car entertainment.

TVs are always getting smarter, but I am sure there will be a notable rise in larger screens, fuelled by the growth of 8K. Again, AI will be crucial here as the lack of native 8K content means manufacturers will be relying on upscaling to deliver the picture quality improvements consumer will be expecting to see.

In terms of mobile, the big news could be foldable screens. Will they start to emerge and with two screens, what will this mean for GPU requirements?

CES 2020

In terms of wider topics, the broad areas that will be discussed and covered in panel and keynotes from the consumerisation of AI and wider trends such as transportation, tourism, and digital health. Privacy will also have its profile raised by the fact that Apple is returning to the show in an official way by taking part in a roundtable discussion of the topic.

So, I predict CES to be fascinating, wacky and serious all at the same time. Of course, CES is far too big to try and summarise in one short article, but that’s the magic and the madness. I’m going to try and let it sink in and see what sticks. I just hope the Wi-Fi on the ground will be better than it is in the air.

What are you most looking forward to this CES? Let us know in the comments and if you’d like to arrange a meeting with Imagination, then you can email us: we will be at the Venetian Tower, Hospitality – Venetian Palazzo Hospitality Suites, between 7-10 January 2020

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even

With a background in technology journalism stretching back to the late 90s, Benny Har-Even has written for many of the top UK technology publications, across both consumer and B2B and has appeared as an expert on BBC World Business News and BBC Radio Five Live. He is now Content Manager at Imagination Technologies.

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