Location matters at CES

With 13 exhibition halls in 8 venues across Las Vegas, CES provides a showcase for 6,000+ companies and 1,000 start-ups to demonstrate their future product lines and technology. It is the biggest consumer electronics show in the US, attracting more than 180,000 business visitors from around the world over four days. It is a place to generate new business, partnerships and funding, and OS’ John Cartledge was there to look at location opportunities in tech.

This year’s show seemingly covered everything in technology. From phones and accessories, as you’d expect, to augmented and virtual reality, to amazing glimpses of the future with brain to machine interfaces and driverless car technologies, smart city services, sensor tech, robotics and personal assistants, internet of things devices and everything else you could possibly imagine.

Autonomous vehicles at CES

5G and the various broadband technologies that connect everything also played a major role, but it was the artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics that cut across everything.

Data modelling of the real-world and your interaction within it is key to many emerging technologies. It’s what artificial intelligence – when doing predictive analytics, controlling the autonomous things that will meet our needs in a future world – needs to do its job. Sensors in everything that monitors and models the world we live in are critical. We’re already seeing the benefits of real-time models of the physical world, with the emphasis so far on environmental monitoring and health and physical fitness monitoring. Dynamic city needs, such as electricity generation, water supply and communication bandwidth, will all become autonomously provided.

Here Technologies demonstrating a connected city control panel for Paris

Envision the future

Looking at the technologies at CES, it is easy to see how in the future we won’t need to own a car, an autonomous transportation device will appear when you need it. You won’t shop, the fridge will order the things you use and prefer. A robot will deliver your groceries and refill the fridge for you. Autonomous carpet and window cleaners will keep things spick and span, while gardening bots keep the outside tidy.  Your internet doctor notifies you when your health status changes through the biometric sensors in your clothes.

BUDDY, the first companion robot for the family, by Blue Frog Robotics

I personally felt the core of the future vision on offer at CES was that everything will be connected. And location is key to making these connections. Artificial intelligence will predict your needs and deliver via autonomous things (robots, virtual personal assistants, vehicles, toasters, fridges, etc). You won’t drive, order shopping, clean or even type or speak to a phone or computer, you will control it with your mind. Though this left me with the question: “So what will I actually do?”.

Having said all that, this reality is clearly a long way off. The technology is in it’s infancy (in most cases), but the world we inhabit will be a very different place in even five years. Much of our manual chores will be done by autonomous things, freeing up more time for us to work, rest and play.

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