Every year, tech updates at CES are becoming less about showing off a single product and more about showing the assimilation of multiple products – rather than multiple products that serve a single purpose we now have single products that serve multiple purposes. This year there was also a lot of talk about 5G and more focus on our ever-connected lives becoming even more connected.
Although one of the most popular topics at CES 2019, 5G networking didn’t necessarily feature physically at the event but was referenced and promised by several big-names. Verizon CEO, Hans Vestberg, claimed “5G will change everything” and “is the promise of so much more than what we have seen from wireless technology”, sentiments that were backed up only by words and a Samsung smartphone prototype. Will MWC offer more insight here I wonder? I hope so; the web is buzzing with news that OnePlus are set to show off their 5G prototype and great things are expected of Huawei and LG at the event too.
The general buzz from CES 2019 was about 5G offering speeds at least 10 times faster than 4G and more capability in terms of cloud computing and the inevitable impact this will of course have on supporting smart city solutions in the future.
The smart homes trend continued at this year’s event and even our bathrooms are now benefiting from tech advances. Several AI integrated toilets were debuted at CES 2019, most noteworthy being Kohler’s ‘intelligent’ toilet with built in Alexa. The Numi 2.0 offers a ‘personalised’ experience that lets the users fine-tune every aspect – an exciting prospect for anyone who likes to unwind in the bathroom! The $7,000 toilet boasts Bluetooth® music sync capability, ambient coloured lighting, a heated seat and perhaps most interestingly, entirely hands-free control with embedded Amazon Alexa for ‘easy voice control to activate toilet features’. If you have any queries during your experience with the Numi 2.0, ask aloud and Alexa will happily oblige to answer any questions with regards weather, traffic and so on.
Other smart home highlights included multiple advances in home security – the Kasa doorbell features a 2k HDR camera that also has facial recognition enabled. Smart locks were also popular at CES with the debut of the ‘Secure Pro’ by Lockly - with multiple features such as an app, voice assistant command, fingerprint scanning, keypad and a physical key, which will no doubt become redundant over time!
Whirlpool showcased a brand new ‘Connected Hub Wall Oven’ that uses a form of augmented reality to help you prepare your favourite dishes with the help of Google Home assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Great idea – I can finally say goodbye to the microwave ready meals and start impressing my friends with some Master Chef-worthy menus!
From James Bond style fingerprint scanners to climate control, there were some interesting developments showcased across this sector.
Car keys will clearly become obsolete – Hyundai have developed multiple fingerprint scanners for the latest generation Hyundai Santa Fe that allows you (and only you) to open your car door and start the engine. In the latest self-driving advancement, Mercedes have announced ‘The Vision Urbanetic’, an autonomous vehicle that interchanges between a 12-passenger vehicle and a cargo hold for goods. Nissan have taken the next step forward in car mapping abilities. Their new piece of kit, ‘omni sensing technology’, boasts onboard sensors that provide a 360-degree map of things like cars, cyclists, pedestrians and other hazards that may be in the vicinity of the car.
Other noteworthy automotive advancements from CES 2019 include new electric vehicles with better batteries, backseat virtual drivers, personalised climate control and windscreen heads up displays.
As tech improves, the need for human interaction is reducing – and although it may be costly at the moment, we can expect lavish notions such as a “hands free” bathroom to become a lot more commonplace. Gimmicks aside though, what I’m most excited about is the impact of 5G and I’m looking forward to next week’s MWC in Barcelona to hopefully hear a bit more on that.