Our Take on the Consumer Electronics Show 2019
As we write, we are about 30,000 feet above the Grand Canyon. That’s right, we are returning from our annual trek out to Las Vegas for the biggest technology show in the world, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The show takes over the Las Vegas Convention Center and much of the Strip — as geeks, like us, converge in the desert to ooh and ahh over bleeding-edge technology that is trying to break into the mainstream.
The scope of this show is so massive that it is impossible to see everything, even if you stay for all four days of the mega event. This year’s show had more than 180,000 in attendance and more than 4,400 companies exhibiting in 2.7 million net square feet of exhibit space. We packed our tennis shoes, extra vitamins, and Advil and plunged into the sea of geeks that swarmed Vegas.
If we had to sum up our overall impressions from the show after countless hours on the exhibit floor and thousands of steps on our Fitbit watches, we would say that the following technologies look to be the most exciting, promising and impactful for the future: 5G, autonomous driving vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, flexible screens and TVs, gaming (we are not interested), and a massive proliferation of smart devices (most powered by Alexa) for everyday use.
5G is the buzzword du jour at CES and everywhere else in tech world these days. So what is 5G? Well, if you have heard of 4G (which is probably what your smartphone is operating on right now), 5G is about 10 to 20 times faster. 5G stands for “fifth-generation wireless” and represents a new standard for sending and receiving data over cellular networks.
All the major cellular carriers are building out their 5G networks in 2019, and consumers are already beginning to see a few 5G-compatible smartphones being advertised. (Unfortunately, your shiny new iPhone XS, and other new phones you may have purchased recently, will not be compatible with the new 5G network when it comes online.)
So leaving the technical details behind, what does 5G mean for consumers? Industry leaders tell us that, with its greatly increased transmission speeds and low latency, 5G communication will enable users to download a full-length HD movie in mere seconds, enable doctors to perform remote surgeries, and finally make self-driving cars a reality. One can only imagine other applications that will explode as 5G moves into the mainstream in 2019 and 2020.