5 key takeaways from CES 2019

Here are our top picks of the key trends and innovative technology from CES 2019.

With global tech leaders and innovative start-ups congregating in Las Vegas for one of the world’s biggest tech shows, it was an exciting start to the year for cutting edge tech. They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but in case you missed this year’s show, here are our key takeaways of the top trends and innovative new tech from CES 2019.

The rise of 5G

With increased reliance on constant connectivity, tech has become an essential tool to complete day-to-day tasks. As such, experience expectations are sky-high, and customers expect providers to deliver. At CES 2019 5G was heralded as the key to enabling a faster, better connected future, one that will impact all areas of the economy.

Verizon emerged as a key player in this arena, urging brands to consider 5G applications beyond mobile handsets. At the show, Verizon announced a list of upcoming collaborative projects revolving around the emerging tech, from 5G remote-controlled drone flights to 5G assisted health care.

Customers expect speed and convenience and 5G will help enable brands to meet these evolving expectations. 5G has the potential to truly enhance brand experiences, from creating one-off immersive moments to simply reducing friction in payment and delivery.

The evolution of wellness tech

The concept of wellness has broadened from the basics of leading a healthy lifestyle to playing a role in all areas of people’s lives. CES 2019 highlighted the huge role tech has to play in this exponentially growing industry, focusing on the hot topic of sleep. The show featured 22 per cent more sleep related tech products compared to last year (House Beautiful, 2019).

Devices this year moved beyond passively tracking sleep metrics, and focused instead on actively improving quality of sleep. 10Minds showcased a smart motion pillow that automatically adjusts your pillow’s height and angle to combat snoring. Urgo Grouprevealed the Urgonight headband, a wearable device that ‘trains your brain waves’ to sleep better, taking an EEG of your brain and translating this into an image that has the ability to change your sleeping patterns. Patients who used this device were on average 40 percent faster at falling asleep (Digital Trends, 2019).

Tech is integrated into all areas of our lives already, creating an opportunity for tech providers to consider the role they can play in customers’ wellbeing. Cross sector partnerships will help add insider expertise to brand experiences. 

The lab is the new farm

With people becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of their food choices, the meat substitute market is expected to reach almost $6 billion in the next five years (MarketsandMartkets, 2017). As such, we have seen an influx of start-ups seeking to create the ultimate meat-free product and Impossible Foods made history at this year’s CES, with the first ever food tech product to be exhibited at the show.

The Impossible Burger 2.0 is an upgrade of Impossible Foods’ original plant-based burger, with improved texture and taste. Made withoutgluten, animal hormones or antibiotics, and containing a comparable amount of iron and protein to meat from cows, Impossible Foods ultimately hopes to substitute all ground beef with its lab grown alternative.

Developing countries are contributing to a global rise in demand for meat, and synthetic alternatives are becoming an increasingly viable option. There is huge opportunity for innovation in this sector and we will increasingly see tech and food in collaboration as the world seeks to sustain a growing population.

The battle for voice dominance continues

The rise of virtual assistants dominated CES 2018. Now a well-used feature in a variety of devices on the market, CES 2019 highlighted that the future of voice is in the hands of two major players: Amazon and Google.

Amazon has been dominating the market, thanks to the Alexa Connect Kit which allows companies to program Amazon software into any tech device. As a result, Alexa is now built into 28,000 smart home devices from 4,500 different manufacturers (The Verge, 2019). At this year’s show Google announced that it will now also open source its software, allowing external manufacturers to program their devices with Google’s Assistant Connect, from TV’s and lighting to camera security systems. This will even the playing field, giving developers more choice and really putting the two brands head to head.

The two-horse race means that it will be harder for smaller players to infiltrate the market. Moreover, increased reliance on two brands has the potential to limit innovation and creativity in the future. Nevertheless, the fact that two global brands are making their software accessible to external manufacturers indicates a future norm for open-sourcing not only software but ideas and innovations, allowing all brands to produce better products for their customers.

The long journey to airborne automobiles

And of course, it wouldn’t be a proper CES rundown if we didn’t give a nod to the latest developments in transport of the future. Airborne automobiles have been being predicted for roughly the last 100 years and while they won’t be coming to towns near you in 2019, CES this year revealed that it is now possible for cars to both walk and fly.

Hyundai showcased a walking car, with robotic legs that can extend upwards over rough terrain. Hyundai Elevate was developed to help emergency services reach people in natural disasters. This technological development has the capacity to both save lives and challenge mobility limitations. Uber and Bell Aerospace revealed a hybrid electric air taxi prototype,The Bell Nexus. The company expects to begin flight testing by 2023, enabling customers to hail a ride through the skies via the Uber app.
From air traffic regulations to adapting city infrastructure, there will be countless hurdles to face before airborne cars become an everyday reality. As governments clamp down on the environmental impact of road borne cars there will be increasing pressure to ensure new vehicles are as environmentally friendly as possible. Brands will need to build trust with the basics to convince customers that a flying car is safe, affordable and convenient way to travel when cities catch up with the existing tech.

Images courtesy of Unsplash 


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