For some the beginning of November is the official kickoff to the holiday season. If you run one of the largest consumer technology shows in the world, and your name is Gary Shapiro, it means it’s CES Season.
At the Consumer Technology Association’s® (CTA) annual CES Unveiled event in New York last night, CTA’s president/CEO Shapiro kicked things off by asking attendees, “Are you CES Ready?”
The answer to that is simple, it’s impossible to ever be ready for over 4,500 exhibitors, 160,000 attendees and a show that literally takes over the entire city of Las Vegas in early January every year.
Among the many big announcements at the event, held at New York’s Metropolitan Pavilion, was news that smart cities and connected vehicles will be stealing some of the headlines. The two sectors have been connected themselves, as the prospect of greater urban concentration most certainly brings challenges to urban mobility.
Thus, the two categories will undoubtedly garner a great deal of attention at the 2020 CES.
The 4C’s of Smart Cities
With regard to what you’ll see at CES on the smart city front, you can expect to hear a lot about the 4C’s – or Collect, Communicate, Compute and Control. Jesse Berst, chairman of the Smart Cities Council in Reston, Va., explains these are the four major components to any successful smart city initiative today and he breaks each C down thusly:
Collect: This is the very heart of IoT and networking in which data is being collected and shared about a city’s condition — and this is happening anywhere and everywhere.
“You don’t have to wonder if your streets are congested,” Brest says. Your streets tell you, thanks to a system of cameras, apps and networking.
Communicate: This is about accessing and sharing data where it’s needed most, like city-wide networks that Berst predicts will soon operate on a 5G network (it’s already being tested in Asia).
Compute: This is how analytics are read and reported, ushering in an era of predictive analytics that help local governments make smarter decisions. For example: Should a traffic light change 10 seconds earlier to help cut back on congestion? Could a water sensor discover a leak before there’s any real damage to a street or community?
Control: This is how people truly harness the power of the other three categories — with data and tools over a secure communications network. The result can be as simple as knowing when to turn off lights when no one is in a room to tracking street maintenance before it poses a problem.
Berst further breaks down the smart city concept using two terms—the outside-in and inside-out approaches.
“Outside-in is getting this information, getting environmental sensors and video cameras,” he says. “Inside-out is taking the city’s services and delivering them digitally. Just like I do a big percentage of my shopping and most of my banking on my phone, people expect to interact with their cities 24/7 by phone or browser.”
You can expect to dive even deeper inside the smart cities of tomorrow and how their growth will influence policies, transportation, cities and towns, industries and our planet. You’ll see innovative technology and hear from global leaders in IoT, 5G connectivity, transportation and smart automotive, energy and utilities, health and public safety, artificial intelligence and data analytics, as smart cities will incorporate tech that brings all these sectors together.
According to CTA research, over $34 billion is expected to be spent on smart city development by the end of 2020.
Not Your Father’s Ford
As for getting from place to place within these cities of tomorrow, expect to see the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall overflowing with the latest automotive tech as self-driving technologies, aftermarket enhancements, and smart mobility take center stage with many participatory ride-and-drive experiences part of the mix as well.
According to Mike Ramsey, senior research director for automotive and smart mobility at Gartner, automakers are realizing that the technologies important in the future will not be mechanical.
“They’re software-based technologies, where the auto industry has traditionally been weak, and they have to acquire because they can’t develop — not right now,” Ramsey said.
The top 20 global automakers collectively, many of whom will at the 2020 CES, participated in more than 50 startups over the course of 2018, according to recent data compiled by Crunchbase. A large chunk those investments went to tech companies for self-driving and electric cars and ride-hailing services.
It’s clear that the automakers of today are repositioning themselves as companies that are now going way beyond simply manufacturing cars.
Owned and produced by CTA, CES 2020 will run Jan. 7-10 at the Las Vegas, Nevada Convention Center.