I recently attended CES 2018 held in Las Vegas, Nevada, to hear about connected product advances, including the latest with connected and autonomous vehicles and the ecosystem required to make this a reality— manufacturers, vendors, and services providers. What's clear is that CES continues to be an eclectic mix of consumer tech gadgets, home technology, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles, which collectively are transforming the way we live our personal and business lives.
With that as a backdrop, following are my key takeaways from CES 2018 and some thoughts on what I expect to see at CES 2019:
- Connected products are becoming AI products that will eventually be able to explain themselves: An important development around liability, insurance, and trust for autonomous vehicles. This will become more apparent at CES 2019.
- There was a focus on smart cities and connectivity of vehicles to infrastructure, things, and people at CES 2018: This will need to be an ongoing focus for high-tech and automotive manufacturers and will require close collaboration between government and business entities.
- Functional safety of autonomous vehicles is a critical focus: Cloud, processing power, machine learning, and AI continue to be the tech enablers, as will simulation, verification, and validation in the cloud and at the edge (in the vehicle).
- 5G is coming (some say very soon), resulting in better experiences: The impact of this will be far-reaching, on automotive, city, infrastructure, telecom, healthcare, and industrial.
- Digital assistant growth is expanding in the home and vehicle — voice as the new UI grows: Other biometric interfaces will become important in vehicles, such as optical and facial fatigue and alertness sensing or authentication, so precise personal settings and services are automatically delivered when one gets in his or her car.
- 3D printing is still used primarily for prototyping, but will expand: According to our research, prototyping remains the focus with 3D printing, largely due to the speed and material limitations of 3D printers. Looking out 12-18 months, however, companies are planning to adopt 3D printing more broadly in their business as material and speed innovation progresses.
- The importance of the operation of connected products and assets will come more into the forefront as we move through 2018 toward CES 2019, raising the importance of digital twins: Digital twins, or virtual copies of products and assets, will become more prevalently discussed and used to improve performance and quality, as well as the safe operations of mobile connected and autonomous products, such as vehicles.
- Evolving the internal design and experience of the level 5 autonomous vehicle will become a focus: This includes the physical design of the space within vehicles — rethinking car interior design — as well as the type of content that's delivered.
CES is an annual exhibition of the convergence of multiple tech advances that impact our home, personal, and business lives - I'm already looking forward to next year's event. Until then, as always I'd welcome your thoughts. My complete analysis of CES 2018 is available to IDC clients at CES 2018: It's a High-Tech, Autonomous, Augmented World.