January 14, 2019

2019 the year of 'ables'?

"CES 2019 was the most boring CES in recent memory" - so what was all the hype about?

2019 the year of 'ables'?

Like many of you I've been watching CES 2019 hoping to glimpse into the future tech is making its commercial play this year. There was a lot of noise with over 4,500 exhibiting companies, 250 conference sessions and nearly 200,000 attendees many of whom were tweeting, posting, vlogging and more.

I'm calling it, "CES 2019 was the most boring CES in recent memory". The over-whelming story that came out of most booths was "You know that concept stuff we showed you last year, well, it's commercial reality now". sigh

It did feel like everything had an "able" added to it this year, sure these have been around for a while, however it seemed evident the 'able' tag is being added to more tings.

  • Wearables - sure we get this, things we wear. Watches to fitness trackers and cameras.
  • Nearables - these are devices/things that interact when near one another. (NFC, RFID, mesh networks, Low energy Bluetooth, beacons)
  • Deliverables - self driving, drones and robots that focus on the delivery (aka, the last mile of deliver)
  • Findables - devices that geo-track or geo-mine to constantly ping location services and build understanding of the world map (or simply stop your keys from being lost) - never loose your wallet again!
  • Touchables - we've had these for a long time (iPhone, iPad etc) but now I'm seeing underwater touchables, fabric touchables and strangely enough touchless touchables & touchable augmented reality (yeah, go figure)
  • Foldables - the new kid on the block with technology (screens in particular) that are foldable. Royole introduces the worlds first foldable touch screen phone (does that make it a foldable touchable?)

In all the noise of new gadgets and toys I did see some core trends:

  • AI: artificial intelligence is booming right now and CES was loaded with devices and services that had AI baked in to help make better decisions or to simplify life, in-fact forbes go as far as to say AI was the dominant theme this year!
  • Voice: following on from last year, Amazon and Google went at it in the voice wars. It is still evident that Amazon is the market leader here, but Google is not sitting back with the launch of Google Assistant Connect to make more things assistant (or voice) enabled. Interestingly in the USA last year 26.2M homes have 1 or more smart speakers and that is projected to hit 36M by the end of 2019 (source)!
  • Robotics: anything that can be done by a human can be done by a robot, at least that's what it feels like sometimes. There were lots of robots launched at CES this year, most in keep you company, kinda cute, play a game space. However Samsung took the 'helping' hand view of robotics and launched a set of robots to help us as humans, from delivering things around the house to helping aid in walking (great for those physically impaired).
  • Augmentation: this might be the first year where AR/VR actually come into the light. From Hyundai and WayRay bringing augmented views to drivers to aid with awareness, to at growing number of companies bringing AR headsets to market, to the resurgence of holograms it is obvious the world of tomorrow is augmented.

So, CES is over for another year and while I do say it was a boring year, I'm also excited to see that much of the 'cool future tech' is actually here today. I'm looking forward to seeing how people apply this technology into their lives this year.