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20 January 00:00

What We Learned at CES 2020

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Here's what we learned when attending this year...

By Jordan Hernandez

Combine self-driving cars, VR powered portable bathrooms, full-body scanning scales, and smart yoga mats and you get all that is the Consumer Electronic Showcase (CES). The largest gathering of innovations in technology across hundreds of industries is held every January in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year, Mediaplanet jetted from the Big Apple to Sin City for the first time and we were blown away by what is to come in the future.

The Experience:

CES 2020 brought together over 4,500 exhibitors, close to 20,000 new forms of technology, and over 170,000 attendees across several Las Vegas hotels and convention centers. Before going, it is tough to imagine just how large it is. While the onset was overwhelming, we quickly took away that an automated future is not too far off. The outlandish tech innovations such as toilet paper robots and talking showers were showstoppers, but more practical inventions such as smart gas pumps and water-saving sinks may be installed in our homes, offices, and local businesses before year-end.

Insight into new tech was further explained in several panel discussions we attended with key leaders in the tech space and through hands-on experience. In short, we laid in smart beds, hit virtual home runs, and tested how magnetic bracelets can help our balance while standing across from influencers such as Shaquille O’Neal, Katie Couric, and Alicia Keys. In conclusion to our experience, artificial intelligence is now a part of every industry from consumer in-home tech to the technology that is used in cutting edge surgeries.

The Future:

Customization and automation will be all the rage in 2020. One of the main areas where this innovation will take over is in streaming services. NBCUniversal shared they will be producing content in 2020 that would take over 12 years to watch in one sitting just to “keep up with the Joneses” of content. Other services like short-form video streaming service Quibi is pumping out mini clips as well.

While watching streaming services, consumers will be targeted with custom forms of advertising and new purchasing options during a television program. These ads will support the services, allowing them to be free or very affordable for viewers in return. As media junkies ourselves, these conversations of new media trades with a gigantic reach made our ears perk. Time will tell how this impacts us directly.

Although the way media will be sold is rapidly changing, one area we couldn’t help but noticing stay stagnant is the demographics of those working in technology. Yes, more females and people of color were seen on panels and as keynotes than in previous years, but the number is still not representative of those with high talents in these industries. Making waves in this area was Female Quotient (in partnership with WBENC), Walmart, HP, and others who advised implementing diversity from the top and building the pipeline from those with decision making power. Diversity is the key to innovation.

Key Takeaways:

The future is 5G. That is it. Yes, there was more to the conference, but it was clear with all innovation that we are moving to a new form of wireless technology and communication. Just launched in 2019, the adoption of this network is moving just as fast as the service it promises. We heard from the Consumer Technology Association’s VP of Research that we can expect two types of IoT to come of 5G: “massive IoT” and “critical IoT”. These types will make waves in industries such as agriculture and smart buildings to remote healthcare and traffic safety respectively. Be prepared for positive change all around.

5G stole the spotlight for its “cool” factor, but perhaps the most important and impactful take away from CES is the push towards sustainability on all fronts. With 71% of millennials stating they will purchase from a brand if it openly shares its sustainability practices, no matter the cost of goods, any brand with a product needs to place high importance on these initiatives. To be expected, brands like IBM, Moen, and Kohler have pushed toward changing our food chains and preserving water. But companies like AT&T are working towards more sustainability in the emergency health space and Dell’s leaders shared insight on how sustainability can be incorporated into the design of all new technology.

Our first experience at CES left a lasting impression! We cannot wait to visit again and to work with our new friends over the coming year.

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