The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which took place January 7-10 in Las Vegas, saw some of the world’s largest tech companies show off new solutions and capabilities. CES is an important event for the connectivity and tech space because it provides a peek at technological shifts.
Business Insider Intelligence
Here are three key trends that the analyst team at Business Insider Intelligence distilled from the flood of company announcements, showcases, and events coming out of CES last week.
5G moving beyond the smartphone was a principal trend at this year’s conference.
Rayna Hollander: As expected, 5G connectivity was the hottest topic at the conference this year.
5G smartphones have taken center stage over the past year, with nearly 30 5G smartphones commercially available by mid-December. But CES 2020 revealed that 5G’s transformative power extends far beyond the phone, suggesting that the largest connectivity opportunities for 5G may lie outside the smartphone sector.
Here are three key announcements that demonstrate how the 5G trend is extending beyond the smartphone:
capable of bridging the vehicle’s onboard electronics systems with external networks to provide real-time information to drivers. BMW’s 2021 all-electric iNEXT SUV will be the first car equipped with Samsung’s 5G TCU, allowing for key capabilities and features including Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication, high-definition maps downloads, and integrations with other smart devices via Samsung’s SmartThings platform.Samsung introduced the world’s first commercialized 5G Telematics Control Unit (TCU). Samsung partneredwith BMW to showcase its 5G-enabled TCU, which is
- Nolo VR launched the world’s first 6DoF 5G Cloud VR solution. At a price under $200, the company launched a bundle — which includes the new Nolo N2 VR headset and Nola CV1 Pro motion tracking kit — that significantly lowers the entry barrier to high-end Cloud VR content. Instead of relying on an expensive VR-compatible computer to access 6DoF Cloud VR content, users can connect to a 5G network via a smartphone and attain similar levels of immersion and quality. Nolo VR has already joined forces with mobile network operators in China to accelerate the commercialization of 5G Cloud VR services and is likely looking to extend its efforts by allowing the operators to use it as an anchor for their 5G Cloud VR service promotions.
- Qualcomm and Lenovo jointly announced a 5G PC. The Yoga 5G is a portable 2-in-1 laptop that’s the first to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx as well as its X55 5G modem. The device supports both mmWave and sub-6 variations of 5G networks, which we’ve yet to see in the smartphone market. The Yoga 5G PC will start at a price tag of $1,499 and will be released sometime in the spring.
The battle for the car’s voice may be raging, but the battle for its media experience has just begun.
Peter Newman: Companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple are fighting to win over digital time in the car. They’re signing contracts with automakers to include their vehicle platforms within the car, and they’re trying to convince consumers to use their phone-based car services as well.
CES 2020 was the third year of the show where voice in the car featured prominently in announcements, and while there have been key developments at the event and elsewhere, voice in the car isn’t particularly groundbreaking anymore, but rather a matter of design wins and contracts. There’s not a huge amount of room for further innovation in this space.
But there is the potential for massive growth and upheaval in the expanding market for in-vehicle visual entertainment. Amazon, for instance, inked deals to embed its Fire TV streaming platform into the backseat of vehicles from BMW and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) so that passengers can watch video on seat-back monitors.
Chinese electric car manufacturer Byton partnered with ViacomCBS, meanwhile, to build up content options for the 48-inch screen that’s going to be included on its forthcoming M-Byte model. Other forward-looking vendors like Tesla have already developed systems of APIs and plugins to let people use the large built-in screen on the dash to stream media such as Netflix, Hulu, and more.
These ventures are just the beginning, though, and are setting the stage for deeper partnerships and markedly increased consumption that will come as autonomous vehicles make their way onto the roads. Self-driving cars will free the driver from the task of overseeing a vehicle’s operation, meaning that any car, whether it has passengers inside or not, is a potential site to consume multimedia.
The types of cars that automakers are developing to inhabit the forthcoming self-driving roads are geared to enable direct consumption, rather than simply directing attention down toward devices like the smartphone.
Establishing relationships with automakers will be a key race moving forward so that tech suppliers and media companies can get their content in front of viewers’ eyes, while likewise allowing purveyors of streaming media to improve their in-car experience before demand reaches the mainstream.
The connected home is transforming into a digital health ecosystem.
Hirsh Chitkara: Smart home technology often focuses on controlling media, connected home devices, and smart appliances. The most commonly used features on smart speakers, according to respondents to a Business Insider Intelligence survey who own those devices, are playing music, asking general questions, and controlling home media devices.
But just as wearables have increasingly become healthcare devices, so too has the broader connected device category expanded to include more fitness and wellness use cases. Alexa already reminds users to take medications, while Apple placed the Apple Watch at the heart (quite literally) of its healthcare ecosystem, which Morgan Stanley estimates could generate $313 billion by 2027.
But this year’s CES showed the connected device ecosystem maturing to further encompass healthcare applications, with devices in this segment more prevalent than ever. Here are a few CES 2020 products that speak to the future of this space:
- Samsung wants to embed its technology in consumer homes to promote exercise and healthier eating. The South Korean tech giant further refined its GEMS exoskeleton, a scaffolding that attaches to an individual’s hips, ankles, or knees to improve mobility. This year Samsung demoed GEMS as a fitness device that could track movements to analyze a workout. Samsung seems to be targeting a broader home health ecosystem, as the company said GEMS could analyze a workout to suggest meals in tandem with the smart kitchen, which includes an AI-enabled smart fridge to manage food inventory.
- Mateo is a bathroom mat that will track weight and analyze posture. One major trend in smart homes is ambient computing and tracking. Mateo brings this ambience to the processing of weighing oneself — the device, which looks like a bathroom mat, automatically weighs a user who steps on it, and can notify the user about weight fluxuations, according to preferences set up on the accompanying smartphone app.
- Companies offered devices to track and analyze movements of the elderly in their homes. CarePredict offers a wearable that can analyze behavior of older adults and identify deviations that might indicate declining cognitive health. Similarly, Linksys demoed wellness pods that can wirelessly track movements within a home — the product works with Alexa and aims to give alerts if, for instance, an older individual falls and needs assistance. Apple already integrates fall detection in its Apple Watch, but integrating it into ambient technology rather than a wearable could make a solution like Linksys’ even more useful.
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