Tech show offers up-close and (very) personal

Thu, 2020-01-02 23:05

SAN FRANCISCO: The screens will be bigger and bolder, the cars
will be smarter and some of the technology will be up-close and
personal — even intimate.

The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show opening in Las Vegas will be
crammed with the latest in connected devices, from light bulbs to
underwear, along with the newest technology for automobiles, health
and wellness, smart homes, retailing and more.

One of the world’s biggest trade shows, the gathering features
4,500 exhibitors, an estimated 175,000 attendees, and 1,000
speakers in exhibit areas equivalent to more than 50 football
fields. The CES runs from Jan. 7 to 10.

Small startups and large tech firms from dozens of countries
will be angling for a slice of the trillion-dollar-plus global
consumer electronics marketplace.

The show, organized by the Consumer Technology Association, will
see a large presence from tech giants such as Google and Amazon,
vying for leadership in providing the “brains” or digital
assistants for many smart products.

With improvements in artificial intelligence (AI), digital voice
assistants are becoming smarter and more like humans, opening up
new possibilities, said Simon Forrest of Futuresource

“We can see devices that can now sound happy if your favorite
football team has won and… dejected if your mother is at the
door,” Forrest said.

While the long-sought goal of “emotional intelligence” in
computing is still far from reality, he said, advances are allowing
more computing power to be packed into smaller spaces including
smart eyeglasses, in-ear “hearables” and other devices.

“We can imagine the voice assistant in the ear which can do a
lot more than it does today,” Forrest said. “Maybe the
restaurant across the street can read you their menu, or you can
get turn-by-turn directions in your car.”

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,”
extending a trend.

Innovation around the small screen may lead to more folding
smartphones and other adaptations.

“Imagine an iPad device you can fold and carry around with you
— I think we will see a lot more of those,” Moorhead said.

Fully self-driving vehicles may not be ready to go mainstream,
but that is not stopping innovation.

The Alpha Mini robot uses artificial intelligence to dance.

“There’s a deepening understanding that the companies have a
big hill to climb” before deploying fully autonomous cars, said
Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey.

Accenture analyst Juergen Reers said CES is increasingly
important for the transport sector because “most of the
innovation is happening in software and services” rather than in
vehicles themselves.

Reers said the industry is changing because “consumers are
looking at mobility as a service, rather than simply buying a

China-based Futurus Technology says it will launch what it
claims is the first “mixed reality interactive windshield” to
give motorists real-time information about a vehicle’s status,
performance and surroundings.

Others will use 5G technology and artificial intelligence to
help cars detect pedestrians, bicycles and other vehicles.

California’s Xperi is unveiling an in-cabin system using iris
identification, facial recognition and other biometrics to unlock
vehicles and detect driver fatigue.

Amazon is revving up its auto efforts with a booth showcasing
its cloud-computing AWS division aimed at “intelligent,
personalized products and services.”

And a new Fisker Ocean electric car is set to be unveiled, in
one of the latest challenges to segment leader Tesla.

In the smart-home space, more devices will connect to digital
assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, or their

These will include smart screen command centers, smart mirrors,
and kitchen gadgets and appliances.

Avi Greengart of the consultancy Techsponential expects more
smart home devices like security-focused video doorbells, but says
the integrated smart home is not yet here.

“It isn’t exactly clear people want to live in the
Jetsons’ home,” he said, referring to the cartoon series about
a futuristic family.

Wearables are reaching more of the human body in the quest for
improved health and connectivity.

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.

The textile computing firm Myant will be showing smart clothing
— starting with connected underwear — with sensors that monitor
a wearer’s heart and breathing rates, temperature, movement,
posture and sleep.

“It is time for technology to morph around people as opposed
to the other way around,” Myant founder Tony Chahine said.

Other CES exhibitors will be showing robots for health and
security, artificial intelligence for food, airborne devices
including a “flying gondola,” and technology aimed at improving
the retail experience.

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Source: *FS – All – Science News Net
Tech show offers up-close and (very) personal