In the run-up to CES 2018, which will open Tuesday, the Consumer Technology Association’s research brain trust, Steve Koenig, senior director of research, and Lesley Rohrbaugh, senior manager of research, offered insights into some of the main technologies they said would color the show and future years’ product iterations. Prominent among them was 5G.
5G’s higher speed, greater capacity and lower latency were factors making the tech a requirement for the development of self-driving cars, said Koenig, projecting enhanced mobile broadband’s arrival for toward the end of this year or the beginning of next. He pointed out the progress of broadband’s performance evolution, citing the download of a two-hour movie having sped up from 26 hours (at 3G speed), to six minutes (4G) to 3.6 seconds (5G). 5G’s advent will have enabling effects, CTA projects, on the telecom, industrial automotive, health care and AV/VR categories.
AI, meanwhile, said Rohrbaugh, has taken hold through the medium of the smart speaker; U.S. smart speaker shipments were up a staggering 279 percent this year, and are expected to experience a 60 percent growth in 2018 in the U.S. But the technology is evolving well beyond the digital assistant level. “Consumers expect expansion,’ said Koenig – and they will get it. What’s the next step? “Conversation with context,” he said, and the move from conversations to relationships; this touches on robotics’ evolution as well, he added.