In January 2019 I swapped Newcastle for Las Vegas and an immersion into the future of technology at CES. Over 180,000 visitors from 160 countries descended on Vegas for three days, traversing 4,500 exhibits. CES is the world's gathering place for those in the business of breakthrough consumer technologies. It is the global stage from where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.
5G, the next generation of mobile connectivity, is one of the most important technologies to be developed in our lifetime. 5G will be up to 1,000 times faster than 4G. Such a radical increase in speed and decrease in latency, will transform Iot and fuel the fire for innovations not previously possible.
There’s a convergence of robotics and AI, increasing global access to food. It was cool seeing John Deere's MASSIVE autonomous harvester and The Wilkinson Group's "Bread Bot". These companies are using technology to revolutionise the supply chains of cheap and healthy foods. There’s a trend for autonomous assistants in the home. My AI assistant will soon know me well enough to pre-empt my needs! Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are the early iterations of the "software shell" we will all have in the future.
There is no doubt that Amazon and Google are competing for our homes and data. Google is so committed, they gave a free Home Hub (valued at US$150) to every person who rode the ride in their booth. It was genius marketing. Hook the consumer into your ecosystem and turn them into loyal, lifelong customers.
And transportation? Over the next decade, we will see autonomous cars and flying vehicles transform the way we commute. The electric revolution will reduce our global carbon emissions.
In the future, we won’t have a car, we will have a moving room. Need to get some work done? Call a mobile office. Want to watch a movie? Call a mobile entertainment centre. Want to take a nap during a long trip? Call a mobile napping pod.
Sleep Tech is the new black. I was impressed with the new deep sleep headband from Philips, which uses EEG technology and low-frequency audio tones to increase the amount of deep sleep we get. Over the next decade, wearables won’t only collect data, they will be proactive and intervene to improve key health metrics.
And the TV displays! The LG roll-up, 8K televisions, and Hypervsn's holographs were innovations to behold! Yet dematerialisation of screens is heading our way. AR technology will disrupt the industry and remove the need for physical TVs altogether.
Teslasuit is a full body haptic suit that will enhance virtual environments, introducing physical sensation to the AR/VR experience. Peter Diamandis, co-founder of SingularityU, posed an interesting ethically loaded question, “If a goal in life is to maximise human happiness, should we completely dissociate from real life and move to a perfectly crafted virtual world?”
I was invited to judge Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) semi-finals, held at CES. XTC is the world’s largest startup competition and the 10 companies selected presented a variety of inspiring technologies, including blockchain, transportation, wearables, IoT and biotech.
The XTC 2019 Top 3 Finalists were:
- ActiveProtective - wearable airbags that protect the hips of older adults
- Elevian - creating regenerative medicines, to treat and prevent age-related diseases
- Lynq - the world's most advanced long-range tracker
The XTC Finalists competed for the top spot on Necker Island in April 3rd 2019.
We are living in exciting times. The connectedness of the global innovation ecosystem makes it possible for one person with an idea, utilising the latest in technology, to impact the world.