Expect Privacy, AI to be Main Topics at CES 2019

Posted On January 7, 2019 By Protolabs

More than 150,000 attendees and 4,500 exhibiting companies will be a part of CES 2019 next week (Jan. 8-11) in Las Vegas, the giant, annual technology trade show formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show.

The gathering is, as Wired sardonically describes it, “an exhilarating and nauseating display of gadgetry, a kaleidoscope eye into what’s to come: blinking smart lights, liquid-looking displays, hovering drones, yogic phones, driver-free vehicles, newfangled wireless protocols, and intangible technologies that all come with the promise of making life better. It’s the Super Bowl for nerds.”

Privacy Will be a Theme at CES

In a time when Facebook, Google, and Amazon are facing more skepticism from consumers around privacy, this issue will likely be on the agenda at this year’s CES.

“I think privacy will be one of the main themes at CES,” Nicholas Thompson, Wired Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, said in an interview with NPR’s Marketplace Tech. “I think this will be the first year where…you'll see a lot of gadgets where they talk about when the camera comes off or how easy it is to turn off tracking or how privacy has been built in to protect your data. Because there's always this tension. Gadgets like to say, ‘Here's all the data we're collecting, and here are all the amazing things we can do with it.’ And this year they will be saying that—and also ‘We're going to be limiting the data that we're collecting so that we don't end up screwing you over on privacy.’”

Driving Consumer Electronics Innovation

We at Protolabs pay attention to what is featured at—and what eventually emerges from—the annual CES event. That’s because we help drive product innovation in this industry by manufacturing prototype and end-use injection-molded plastic parts and sheet metal components for a variety of consumer electronics products. A few examples include supplying parts for smart home electronics products, working with several companies on a variety of wearable devices, and producing parts for automotive OEMs for autonomous-vehicle prototypes.

So Will Artificial Intelligence

As the New York Times reports, artificial intelligent virtual assistants will take center stage as a prime tech topic, too, “with companies big and small expected to showcase voice-controlled devices like robot vacuums, alarm clocks, refrigerators, and car accessories.” Of course AI was a big deal last year, too, which shows, as the Times article suggests, that the tech industry is in a state of iteration rather than making leaps and bounds with something totally new. However, one key leap or bound for AI to look for at CES might be defined by how sentient or how predictive our personal technology can be.

A Rollable, Scrollable Giant TV

For pure gadgetry fun, electronics manufacturer LG will—yes—roll out a rollable or scrollable OLED TV at CES, with an eye for launching it next year as a real product. It appears to be an advanced version of a prototype shown at last year’s CES, which was a 65-inch 4K OLED display model that could roll itself into a box a fraction of the size. The idea being that, the bigger our TVs get, the more unwieldy they become. As Engadget muses, “Rollable OLEDs are one way to keep our screens huge and our door frames intact.”

Car Tech at CES

CES has also become a prime event for major auto tech announcements, now rivaling the North American International Auto Show. Indeed 11car manufacturers will be in Las Vegas, up from nine last year. Autonomous vehicles remain a big deal, with Toyota, among others, bringing a self-driving prototype to the event. As Digital Trends reports, the Platform 4.0, or P4, is based on the Lexus LS, the flagship sedan of the Japanese automaker’s luxury brand, and features Toyota’s two-pronged approach to autonomous-driving tech, with systems designed to drive without human intervention, or to assist a human driver.

Eye on Innovation is a monthly look at new technology, products, and trends.