Bigger and bolder screens, futuristic cars, funky robots, smarter homes and plenty of cool and crazy gadgets – we are talking about the CES or Consumer Electronic Show in 2020, to be held in Las Vegas at the start of the year that will witness thousands of companies, exhibitors, and journalists attending the world’s largest annual consumer tech event.
Now in its 53rd year, this year’s CES 2020 to be held from January 7-10, will see more than 4,500 exhibitors who will launch nearly 20,000 new transformative tech products to more than 170,000 attendees. The focus will be on smart wearables, 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence, connected homes, self driving cars, robotics and more. CES 2020 will feature new and expanded exhibit areas, 300 conference sessions with 1,100 speakers, and more than 1,200 startups from 45+ countries.
While the show covers a wide facet of the consumer tech industry, here are the key trends to watch for this year.
When Size Does Matter
Manufacturers including South Korea’s LG are expected to unveil new televisions with the latest ultra-high definition standard known as 8K, even if little or no content is now available in the format.
Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said he expects to see ‘higher-resolution, lower-price’ 8K televisions. “Imagine an iPad device you can fold and carry around with you — we will see a lot more of those,” Moorhead said.
The focus will be on streaming and the future of the video programming business model. There will be sessions on subscription- and ad-based streaming, addressable TVs, targeted ads, subscription models, and the future of televised sports. A series of panels on “The Future of TV” and a marketing advertising track would be the spotlights of the event.
Innovation around the small screen may lead to more folding smartphones and other adaptations. For example, Samsung is making a big push to make devices smarter and more connected as it promised five years ago. Today, the majority of Samsung devices have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth links, but there’s still a long way to go to create smart gadgets that talk to each other. Samsung’s possible 2020 CES announcements comes in a new artificial intelligence initiative called Neon.
This is the year that 5G phones to an extent is likely to go from experimental to conceptual. Some may also have the potential to change people’s day-to-day experience as the new 5G phones may come with significant trade-offs.
Read more: Android Phones in 2020 Could be 5G Ready
More consumers are flocking to Wearables in the quest for improved health and connectivity. While Apple’s AirPods combined with new technology like Qualcomm’s system-on-a-chip for wireless earbuds will continue to trigger excitement, experts believe it’s no longer about Apple’s dominance in the wearable industry alone. The Fossil Group, Garmin and Fitbit will also deliver plenty of new wearable devices for 2020.
According to a report in Wearables.com, Amazfit, from Amazon may launch at least three new wearables for 2020. While there were plenty of buzz surrounding the T-Rex watch leaks, Amazfit indicated in another tweet that smart earbuds and potentially even smart running shoes could land at the show.
German-based Bosch will be showcasing smart glasses designed to help motorists with heads-up navigation assistance, with other smart eyewear to be revealed. “Hearables” represent another emerging category including advanced earbuds, translators and AI-boosted hearing aids.
Ear-worn devices are among the fastest-growing wearables, capturing 47 percent of the segment in the second quarter of 2019, according to market intelligence firm IDC.
Read more: 2019: The Year of the Wireless Ear Buds
In the smart-home space, more devices will connect to digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and their plenty of big and small competitors. These will include smart screen command centers, smart mirrors, and kitchen gadgets and appliances.
One of the biggest themes at CES in recent years has been the addition of voice-controlled assistants from Amazon and Google in just about everything — from washing machine to your micro oven and television. CES will highlight how 2020 will be the year our homes are filled with more than just smart speakers. Trends on the rise include smart screen command centers, smart mirrors, smart-enabling devices for your basic devices and energy efficiency expansion.
As voice assistants have become a stronger force at the show, companies like Amazon and Google have slowly started to become the main attraction. Google has even set up its own theme park ride at last year’s show to draw attention to its own digital helper, the Google Assistant.
Driving Ms. Daisy!
Of the tech companies exhibiting at the CES 2020, many are directly involved with the business of autonomous driving, whether they are builders of Lidar sensors, producers of vehicle systems, or car manufacturers themselves.
Industry giants like Mercedes parent Daimler, Bosch and BMW will share the show floor with startup vehicle makers like Byton, and autonomous car specialists like Aptiv — which offered a self-driving taxi service at CES 2019 in partnership with Lyft, says a CES 2020 report from Forbes.
The event will showcase the future of self-driving vehicles – from intelligent car sound systems to voice assistants – with a focus on artificial intelligence, “envisioning a completely new form of interaction between humans, technology and nature.”
Autonomous delivery will be a big topic at CES 2020. Companies like Nuro, already running driverless cars on the US roads, will announce new technologies and delivery services for 2020 and beyond.
The restrictions of legislation on the driverless technology will be discussed in various sessions. For example recently Tesla was forced to issue a software update to its European vehicles limiting the autonomous abilities of Autopilot, due to changes in EU law.
Despite the presence of industry giants like Mercedes and Ford, we are unlikely to see many new vehicle launches at CES. Instead, this show will be all about the underlying technology, and what that means for future vehicles.
It’s also going to be a big year for 5G at CES. Carriers have begun rolling out 5G service and 5G-capable handsets, with wider availability of both expected toward the end of 2020 and beyond. While most of the 5G announcements and excitement will be targeted for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February, it will also make its way into CES. The focus at CES will likely be on the everyday scenarios on 5G from new ways of news gathering that will change future storytelling, to driverless cars to mobile entertainment. There will be discussions around how 5G will usher in new eras in healthcare, transportation, energy and public safety.
There will be health trackers, food tech, connected toothbrushes, electronic sex gadgets, pet tech, e-scooters, e-bikes and almost anything else health related that you can imagine. There will be robots everywhere, virtual and augmented reality experiences to try, and an explosion of connected devices suggesting that the “Internet of Things” is becoming a reality.
The Fear Persists
Analysts have been raising concerns for years about the ways tech companies were not doing enough to keep us secure on their platforms. There were countless stories about home security cameras from the likes of Nest and Ring getting hacked and other suspicious updates. Going into CES 2020, smart home device makers and platform owners will discuss about is how they are making sure their devices and customer accounts are as secure as possible. Companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and others will outsmart each other to prove how they’re protecting consumer data, keeping them secure from hackers and integrating digital wellness features.
While some announcements made at CES can feel more iterative than revolutionary. But such steps are still very important for moving the industry forward, said Tuong Nguyen, a senior principal research analyst for market research firm Gartner.