CTA: AI, 5G to Take Center Stage at 2019 CES

NEW YORK – Artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G are expected to be among the technologies with the strongest presence at CES in January, along with the latest advancements in 4K and 8K Ultra High-Def (UHD) TVs, according to the Consumer Technology Association, which produces the annual tech event in Las Vegas.

AI is expected to be incorporated in an increased number of new devices shown at CES, Ben Arnold, CTA senior director of innovation and trends, said Nov. 8 at the annual CES Unveiled New York event.

As more devices have become connected to the Internet, we’re collecting a growing amount of data, he pointed out, adding: “These streams of data that are coming through the cloud are able to help our technology products work more efficiently” and “a big part of that trend … is what we’re seeing in artificial intelligence,” he said.

We’re seeing more developments in AI including in chip design for PCs and smartphones, he said. AI is also being increasingly used for voice control in TVs, while we’re also “seeing machine learning really make a big impact in cameras” for facial and object recognition, he noted.

Digital assistants had “a big impact” already at CES the past two years in devices including those powered by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, he said, predicting “more of the same” at CES 2019, with “a lot more Google and Amazon Alexa-compatible devices,” as well as newer products incorporating Samsung’s Bixby and Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant platforms.

AI will also likely be incorporated in an increased number of smart appliances from companies including LG and Samsung, Lesley Rohrbaugh, CTA director of research, predicted.

AI is also expected to be a major theme discussed in keynotes given by I.P. Park, LG Electronics president and CTO, Jan. 7, and Ginni Rometty, CEO and president of Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) member IBM, Jan. 8, according to CTA EVP Karen Chupka. Park will offer “fresh perspectives on the evolving AI landscape,” she said, noting that although LG has exhibited at CES for many years, this marks the first time that company will be keynoting at the show.

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg, meanwhile, is “coming back to the CES stage” for a keynote, Jan. 8, after taking part in a keynote on 5G at the 2018 CES, Chupka said. Vestberg this time will “explore the future of connectivity through 5G,” she pointed out, adding 5G is “the key component to making smart cities a reality.” CES will again feature a smart cities exhibit area, this time featuring 45 exhibitors, she said.

The transition to 5G “means so much more than just faster speeds on your smartphone,” Arnold said. Other advantages that 5G offers over 4G include lower latency and better peak data rates so more data can be transmitted at a certain time, he said.

This time, CES will feature more than 4,500 exhibitors, including 1,200 startups, Chupka said. Those exhibits will be spread out across 2.75 million net square feet of exhibit space, according to the CTA, which noted that other significant themes at CES will include the latest developments in blockchain, cybersecurity and eSports.

Several companies exhibited at CES Unveiled to provide a taste of what CES attendees will see in January. They included MESA member Sony, which touted the latest version of its Aibo robotic dog that incorporates AI.

Meanwhile, CTA expects technology product sales will increase 3.4% this holiday season from last year, driven by “continued innovation” in TVs and demand for 4K TVs, Arnold told attendees. CTA expects 4K TV sales will grow 11% in units this fourth quarter compared to a year ago, he said.