While at the recent CES, I got to report on a session that featured an interview with Shark Tank celebrity and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The always outspoken Cuban discussed how he had been attending CES since he was a teen, and, when asked about this year’s show, said that CES, like tech in general, has inflection points. For CES, it is one year of innovation, followed by five years of imitation, followed by three years of idiots.
He said this was a year of imitation, but didn’t specify which year we are in. He also didn’t elaborate on the idiot years, and I really wish he had.
I would agree with the imitation tag for this year’s event in that it felt very similar to last year’s show. 5G is going to change the world. AI will bring unbelievable connections between humans and technology. Smart cities and autonomous cars are coming!
By all the evidence on the show floor and the discussions in the panels, I have every reason to believe that the tech future will indeed be bright. But part of the fun of being at CES was getting a preview of the year’s new products before they hit the shelves. See it in January, stock it by the fourth quarter.
5G will be a gamechanger, and we will have handsets and more this year — Lenovo and Qualcomm introduced a 5G laptop. But that is a small part of the 5G revolution. For true 5G, infrastructure needs to be built, including new towers. That is the technology that will drive smart cities, which need even more infrastructure built, and possibly change the home dynamic for internet access from cable providers to cellular services.
Of course, the AV manufacturers came through. 8K televisions are available despite the lack of 8K content, although the upscaling technology may warrant the early adoption for your clients. Video games keep coming in stronger and provide a significant chunk of the consumer tech business. And there were plenty of new home theater audio products to be found — including powerful AV receivers and in-wall-speakers.
There were also plenty of smart devices that will be available for purchase this year, and, while some will undoubtedly find their way to the networks you create and maintain this year, there wasn’t anything that could be described as revolutionary.
Revolutionary was on-site, however. Mercedes showcased an Avatar-inspired concept car that they built in partnership with James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment. Toyota previewed a smart city that they are building at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan that will prove the concepts of smart living can work in a real-world setting. Even Sony introduced a concept car.
None of these will be available to the average consumer in the short-term, or probably ever, but they certainly pointed the way toward a better future with zero emissions and zero waste.
So maybe I didn’t leave with a wishlist for my living room, but I did escape CES with high hopes for our technological future. That, and a slight head cold.
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