Move over beauticians, the robots are taking over! Procter and Gamble introduced a device that can scan your face for blemishes and spray paint some make-up material to actually cover it up. I could see this being useful when you wake up in the morning and just have the device make you look good. Wonder if it can make you look 20 years younger too?
It is an interesting example of how companies are pushing the boundaries of technology.
There is simply too much tech hype to digest at CES so it takes a lot to find the tech that really matters. That said, it’s a cool place to see what’s happening in a tech World gone wild!
A fire detector as opposed to a smoke detector is an interesting life-saving gadget. I do not know how many smoke detectors are rendered useless when a fire happens first without the precursor of smoke, but it seems like this fire detector can make a lot of sense as it does a better job in detecting actual fires than the standard devices. Now it seems like you need a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and an actual fire detector. There was even a device that will automatically close your door in case of a fire.
Car stuff was everywhere and you guessed it, self-driving is at center stage. What can you do when you convert the passenger space of a typical car? Convert into a living room? Office? Bedroom? Bathroom? Poker Room?
Connected cars are also going to speed up as they talk to other cars, pedestrian cross walks, traffic lights, bicycles and all of the restaurants, gas stations and shops along the way…Stop here for gas and get a free coffee! Breaks automatically being applied as you are approaching a cross walk. Sorry, you will be receiving a ticket for not stopping properly at that red light and for YOUR convenience, we have already deducted the payment of $100 for your ticket from your bank account – thank you, please drive safe! Seems like the machines may be calling the shots so the makers certainly do not want us to be thinking anymore!
Looks like the next battle will be around the TV and related streaming content as all devices rally for a bigger piece of the pie, especially Apple. Apple is seeding their AirPlay and HomeKit with many vendors, including Samsung, Sony and LG. Disrupters like Spotify have already demonstrated that the content streaming business can be blindsided so vendors are all keeping their eye on the ball. It seems that every device with a screen will somehow deliver content from the endless supply of providers like Netflix, HBO, TV Networks etc. You will be fed content 24/7, 365 days a year. Next up, content being fed while you sleep?
The 5G roll out will be taking a while, but loads of vendors are already banking on this high-speed access for IoT devices everywhere. I am afraid to know what this will mean to our health, privacy and security. I would encourage you to learn about the 5G NR (New Radio) technology, as it pumps out high-band millimeter waves and how it may pose a real health risk to people. 5G will require the build out of hundreds of thousands of antennas with massive concentrations in smart cities. What will be the health price for always-on Internet 5G access everywhere? We will see…
Gadgets like Google assistant are just blowing up. These listening devices will continue to become normalized for all sorts of interactions and inquiries by people as well as with other devices. If you do not understand that these edge-listening devices are constantly feeding Deep-Learning AI machines that will impact your privacy and personal data (or you just don’t care), then continue to obliviously enjoy the device. These listening devices are also being put into cars just as society is battling the use of cell phone distractions that can cause accidents and deaths (In Ontario, you can now face a fine of up to $3,000 and automatic license suspension for using a cell phone while driving)!
The era for Personal Digital Assistants are already changing how many people behave and will eventually make people more dependent. How many of us still remember phone numbers since we have been auto-dialing with our smart phones? Of course, with the PDA, we will not need to remember anything. Who needs memory anymore?
Virtual Reality gear will also be getting lighter and better! This technology is really quite interesting. It will accelerate the learning curve for so many things. Most types of entertainment are going to be crazy huge on these devices. It will add another depth to the already addicted gamers in our society. Virtualization should also take pornography to a whole new level. I am sure many industries are already salivating on this technology! Watch out for more people being zoned-out as we add to the already big problem of people walking carelessly while texting.
There was one amazing product at CES. It is a gizmo by a company called Zero Mass Water that combines solar energy with air in a Hydro Panel device to actually make water! This may be the most important piece of technology seen at CES and it can be a game-changer for the planet! Think about it…a renewable source or water using a renewable source of energy. Mind blowing!
A Power Watch that harnesses energy from your body and the sun to power the device. It never needs charging. This sort of self-harvesting energy technology can fuel the growth of many IoT devices as well as just about everything that needs energy. Anything that ends or reduces the need for batteries is a good thing for the planet!
Artificial Intelligence is buzzing everywhere. It used to be we were learning about products, but now products are learning about us! As devices like headphones and smart phones learn more about our behaviors, they will adjust in real-time. Headphones adjust sound levels and type of music as you change environments or mood. Smart phones automatically goes silent when we enter a cinema or airplane (or sit down for dinner).
As the transfer of data between cars and local authorities happen, they will know many things like if you are speeding or driving erratic. How will this intrusion of privacy be offset by notification value of an accident or drunk driver? Imagine every car being a dot on a screen that is being monitored by a team of people or AI. What will this do to privacy? Imagine if they can sense if the driver is using a cell phone or if the driver is emotional. Will they stop your car with a remote kill switch or report you to the insurance company? As technology become more intrusive, we may be all like frogs in a pot of water that is slowly heating up.
Tech in health is also a big deal. The Omron blood pressure monitor and other medical devices will be measuring everything. This could actually be a good tool for seniors. Oral B is making an AI toothbrush that will tell if you are brushing too much or too little. Maybe one day it will book an appointment with the dentist when it senses a cavity or when your teeth needs cleaning? Imagine a “physical fall” technology from a device that you simply stick on a wall that will notify you when someone falls. This can be a good gadget for a senior or to monitor your kids when they are stumbling drunk.
Harley Davidson is bringing out an electric motorcycle in 2019! WHAT? Then there is the impossible burger. It is a lab-grown burger and tastes like real meat! I did not eat one, but I think this technology may be the answer to the rising meat consumption and its environmental impact (or you can just start eating more vegetables and fruits). Fitness devices will also help you do your workout and track your progress – even compete with your friends. The water bottle even tells you to drink more water! There is even a punching bag that measures your number of punches and power. And, of course the Gillette heated razor!
Every company is a technology company! That much seems clear, but WHY? Is it just because they could?
It is interesting to see the pundits just mouthing off these technologies like it is normal. Like the rest of the world should simply be getting ready to buy into this avalanche of new tech! They seem more like the sales evangelists for these tech products. Unfortunately, only the voices of the early-adopters are getting heard.
Some tech is simply already amazing enough for the vast majority of users! There were no crazy big improvements in new laptops announced at CES from all the major vendors like HP, Lenovo, DELL, ASUS and Acer. The 2018 laptops were already very powerful and since Intel did not have any big releases, the OEMs could only make smaller evolutionary tweaks instead of revolutionary stuff.
For example, DELL moved their camera to the top of the screen instead of the bottom, which is where it should have been in the first place. Other vendors improved their screens and made things a bit thinner and better looking.
The exception was gamer laptops as they got the bigger improvements as many vendors transformed desktop power into more compact models and leveraged more speed from GPUs. Asus made some cool improvements to their gaming laptop with a detachable keyboard. Alienware seems to have done some of the biggest improvements by adding some big specs into the Area 51 M product. It is up-gradable and looks really cool.
It was actually nice to see that laptop tech has leveled off for a while, as good-enough tech is just that, good enough! But hold on, Intel is starting to roll out it’s 9th generation chips and promises the 10-nanometer Ice Lake chips will be out this year so you can still expect laptops to get a lot more muscle in 2019.
I specifically did not talk about any improvements to smart phones, TVs or drones, as it is just getting a bit too much. Thinner (flexible to the point of roll up) TVs and better 8K displays with amazing sound are now expected. You can literally build a wall of TVs. Loads of add-ons for smart phones especially some power saving charging devices and connectivity to everything you can imagine. If you want your smart phone to do more, then buy a tablet or laptop. Drone technology is everywhere including the flying concept UBER. Drones just keep getting better but while that is going on, we are seeing the downside from the drone that stopped all air traffic for one of England’s busiest airports for days. It also demonstrated that the technology to combat these devices are not yet up to par. This may be one technology that we may need to be very afraid of.
There was a mountain of accessories for smart phones, but I will only mention a few that got my attention. The Nebula pop-can size wireless projector to watch video on a wall. Power cables from Anker can replace those that eventually shred and break from the OEMs. The vendor says that it can hold up 175 lbs and withstand 10,000 bends – sounds like greatly needed tech to me! Of course, the health-tech apps and tools were amazing as the boundaries are getting pushed. You can now test your eye-sight and check for brain concussions. Even an app device to check the purity of water!
Overall, I think, we should be asking WHY before we build out some of these technologies and wake up one day to wonder why our privacy and rights have already been bought and sold many times over by whomever can buy it!
Do not get me wrong if I sound like I am bashing some of the technology! I eat, sleep and breathe technology every day for as long as I can remember. I was born in the ERA of technology and my business is 100% revolving around technology, but at some point, we may just need to stop and ask ourselves if enough is enough.