AI-Enabled Smart Devices Will Make Biggest Impact at CES 2019

LONDON — Look for dominance by Silicon Valley firms launching more sophisticated smart devices for the home and business at next year’s CES 2019.

That was the prediction made by UK-based Digital Production Partnership, a nonprofit, membership-based organization promoting common specifications and workflows. Managing Director Mark Harrison discussed his prognostications at the DPP’s HPA Creative Tech Retreat this week in London.

While CES 2019 is likely to attract close to 4,000 exhibitors, Harrison said that only a handful of them will actually matter. Tech giants, like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, will dominate the industry with innovations related to smart assistants, smart cars, the smart home, business operations and e-commerce, among other widely adopted consumer technologies. And Chinese giants like Alibaba, Baidu, TenCent, Huawei, Hisense and ZTE will have an especially strong presence.

[Read: CES 2018: Big, Thin And Very Smart Is TV Theme]

Predicting that “the future will be hiding in plain sight,” Harrison added that there “will be lots of voice control, enabled by machine learning, and we’ll see some interesting examples of personalization. They’ll give us glimpses of what truly usable personalization, that works seamlessly across different environments, could look like. But the technology needs to catch up before we see the full picture.”

Harrison explained that since machine learning works best with very narrow problems to solve, we’ll see plenty of small-scale — and business to business — integrations, predominantly in controllable environments with a clear utility, such as the car, retail, workplace and public spaces.

While CES 2019 will focus on personal tech, Harrison expects to see an incoherent mix of personalization with personal security and data privacy. There will also be devices that help control how much the technology controls our lives, as well as tech for well-being.

Other key trends include even greater immersive technology enabled by the combination of augmented reality and the ubiquity of smartphones, which we’ll see in new mobile AR apps for shopping, travel, games, messaging and specialist training. And while 5G technology — which promises high-speed, mobile connectivity without the need for ubiquitous Wi-Fi — won’t be ready for significant deployment until around 2020, it will be a focus of attention for some major infrastructure players.

The DPP’s CES 2019 report, to be published in January 2019, is prepared with the help of DPP/UK member Covatic, which specializes in creating personalized consumer experiences for media.

CES 2019 will be held in Las Vegas Jan. 8–11, 2019.

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Claudia Kienzle