CES 2020, Las Vegas

Over 200,000 people and 4500 exhibitors bombarded Las Vegas for CES this year, making it as challenging as ever to separate the wheat from the chaff. 5G enables us to stream premium content in our autonomous cars. Wearables measure our steps (or lack of them). But what data is being collected as we watch our seven-minute chapters by Steven Spielberg? I was fortunate to moderate a panel with three of the world’s most respected tech reporters to help us understand “what is next?” Here are the highlights to help corporate innovators stay ahead.

Data is The New Nuclear Waste

Rob Pegoraro believes the number one trend at CES is, and should be, data and consumer privacy. He pointed out that a number of the “smart” TVs being showcased were partially being paid for by the sale of data, and that a number of the iOT devices, social networks, and telecom companies are not only tracking and using our data, but also are storing it. For what? Because it may one day be useful to them? That isn’t an acceptable reason, nor is the value exchange equitable enough for the individual to justify the convenience of more accurate targeting. He suggested that a consumer reckoning is at hand as more people start to understand who is collecting data on them and what kind of data is being collected. Rob has written on this extensively in articles in Fast Company and USA Today.

5G is Under-Hyped

Eric Savitz argued that the impact of 5G on our lives and on big business is under-hyped. While mobile companies are bombarding us with messaging about their networks and availability, once this technology hits critical mass its impact will be far-reaching. The b2b implications of 5G will mean interconnectedness at scale that we can’t even fathom. These incredible opportunities in data will open up a host of avenues for learnings and efficiencies. 2021 will be the year that 5G phones and networks will start to impact consumers. By then, we may not think 5G is cool, but it will fundamentally change our ability to interact with each other and optimize business. See Eric’s top 5 take-aways from CES here in Barron’s.

Sports As a Hack to Discover Frontier Tech

Rick Limpert has been voted the No. 1 sports tech writer in the U.S. on two different occasions and enthusiastically told us that, “Many of the innovations we use in our everyday life got their start as a sports idea or product.”  Rick was certainly right when he pointed out that, “Sports tech and connected fitness are two of the hottest areas in tech as we move into a new decade.” In particular, Rick pointed to the mainstreaming of Fitbits and other exercise tech. In his excellent blog, Wireless Wednesday, he looks at emerging tech that’s tackling allergies as well as cardiovascular disease. 

CES is Replacing The Auto Show

Eric pointed out that CES is becoming the must-attend auto show, as cars are morphing into our tech hubs and living rooms. As autonomous vehicles continue to improve, there will be a battle for our attention now that our attention needn’t be on the road. Automakers and tech companies showcasing collaborations at CES has become as ubiquitous as the new TVs on display.   

Content Replaces Technology for Innovation

Rob pointed out that the content itself is more interesting than the hardware and technology innovations at this year’s CES. How do the streaming wars play out? Can Netflix, Peacock, Disney, and Apple continue to pay hefty sums for original and desirable content? When do consumers start to cut the cord on streaming and turn back to bundles that are easier to manage? There was also a fair amount of discussion on whether $400 million dollar Quibi could forge the gap between premium content creation in a user-generated format – and, oh yeah, there is a new TV for that vertical content.

Interestingly – these insights all intersect with one another. Hopefully someone is still tracking our steps, and those steps are going forward.

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