It wasn’t that long ago that Consumer Electronics Show-goers were being stupefied by high definition TV’s and internet-connected home appliances. Now, those technologies have become so standard that, you’d practically be hard-pressed to find a non-HD, non-internet-connected television at your nearest electronics store.
With this year’s CES having come and gone, there are a lot of newsworthy innovations to talk about: rollable TV’s, convertible laptops, 5G-ready smartphones, and smart home decor, just to name a few. However, what’s more interesting about the gadgetry on display at CES is how it tells the story of where technology is going – and how it’s going to take humans there, too.
As a Los Angeles Public Relations Firm, Venture PR strives to stay on top of all things CES so we can generate excellent coverage for clients in the ever-changing tech space. Here are 3 trends from CES that offer a glimpse at the kind of tech that might be commonplace in just a few years.
Smarter Devices for Smarter Conversation
Smart fridges that can display recipes or a bathroom mirrors outfitted with a weather forecast just aren’t that interesting anymore. One reason is because our smartphones have gotten so good at displaying information, it’s difficult to justify spending hundreds of dollars just to see the weather on a glorified tech-mirror.
But imagine for a moment if your oven could automatically start preheating according to the recipe on your phone, or if your car was smart enough to start the air conditioning in time for your commute when it gets too hot or cold outside. CES saw a flood of devices that are designed not to just be connected to the internet, but to be connected to one another. Kitchen appliances, garage doors, wearables, TV’s, phones, washing machines, tablets, and more all talking to one another to help optimize your lifestyle – and these devices are learning at a breakneck pace.
Tech that Learns and Adapts to Your Lifestyle
Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home’s assistant were some of the biggest competitors at CES 2019. It seems as though every gadget under the sun you can possibly think of has a voice assistant integration, and this is likely because the goal of Amazon and Google isn’t to make everything in your home talk: it’s to create as many data sources as possible to learn about you and your lifestyle.
Google Home, for example, has released a wide variety of Home displays that don’t do much on their own. They can display the weather, play YouTube videos, and answer questions, but they’re nothing like fully-fledged laptops or even tablets you can use to get stuff done. Instead, Google relies on users being a part of their ecosystem to make Home devices useful: your Google Calendar and Google Maps data from your phone turns into handy notifications that inform your commute on the Home before you leave, and images from your Google Photos library show up automatically as background wallpapers when you aren’t using the Home.
Google is leveraging its many services to make the Home a sort of portal through which personalized, useful information is displayed when you need it. Of course, Google is just one company pursuing this vision: Amazon, Apple, and Samsung are all building slightly different versions of AI-learning platforms, and some play nicer with third-party devices than others. The real value of these AI-powered devices will come down to how well they can make our lives easier and safer.
Self-driving vehicles have been an ongoing trend at CES for some time, and this year we’ve seen some significant strides toward the dream of being able to nap in the car while on the way to work. For the past 5 years, auto manufacturers like BMW, Audi, Toyota, and Mercedes have been touting their own versions of self-driving vehicles at CES, but usually only at CES. State traffic regulations, bugs in software and hardware, and general public skepticism all create quite a few roadblocks for self-driving cars to overcome.
What’s different at this year’s CES is how driverless (or even driver-assisted) vehicles are being applied. Daimler, a German automaker, demoed a semi-autonomous big-rig truck, claiming that instead of replacing truckers, the company aims to aid them with accident-prevention technology. During Qualcomm’s press conference, Ford unveiled a “vehicle-to-everything” chip that can allow cars to communicate with smart sidewalks, traffic signals, and even other cars with the hope of making streets safer and traffic less congested. Even Lyft joined in on the self-driving fun, showing off their own version of a self-driving car that can pick you up and take you where you need to go without the awkwardness of human conversation.
CES 2019 marks a change in how the auto industry is approaching driverless cars. Instead of touting the productivity advantage most of us fantasize about, tech and auto makers are taking much more practical approaches. There are over a million auto-related fatalities that occur every year, or about one every 30 seconds, and most are due to human error. By aiding truckers with smarter driving assistance, reducing traffic congestion with smart chips, and minimizing the cost to get around a city in a rideshare, self-driving cars have the opportunity to save money, time, and in some cases, human lives. These cars still have a long way to go, but the innovation they offer could be felt in just about every industry that relies on automotive technology.
The Tech That Makes It Has to Break Through First
Along with the flood of emerging tech and innovative concepts, CES also attracts a spectrum of publications searching to find the latest and greatest. Of course, not every booth gets the coverage they’re vying for, and getting the right press can make or break a product launch. As a technology public relations firm, Venture PR supported multiple interesting clients, generating coverage for them on CBS News, ABC News, Fortune Magazine, Digital Trends, Gizmodo, VentureBeat and many more great publications. Just as the world adapts to the breakneck pace of progress, so too must modern PR practices transform to keep clients on top of the trends they inspire.