Our Top Takeaways from CES 2019

More than 180,000 people flocked to Las Vegas for a week of tech mania at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). From Samsung’s foldable phone and LG’s yoga mat-like televisions to connected skincare products from Pantene and Olay, CES offered both a reality check about the progress we’ve made to date and a glimpse into our technological future—all while Alexa and “Hey Google” listened in.

Avnet showcased its IoT chops, with products like the Microsoft Azure Sphere starter kit, an industrial Raspberry Pi IoT gateway and a new IoT device that enables developers to quickly deploy AI at the edge: SmartEdge Agile. We also demoed first-of-its-kind technology, from a wearable that helps both the deaf and hearing experience music through vibration to a connected health monitor. Plus, our ecosystem arrived in full force, with hardware expertise from our element14 and Hackster.io communities to the software and AI prowess of our newest addition to the Avnet family, Softweb Solutions.

Here are some of our biggest takeaways from the show.

Getting comfortable with autonomy

Judging from the CES floor alone, you’d think self-driving cars were already a road reality. Concept vehicles like Hyundai’s walking car, Bell Helicopter’s flying taxi, John Deere’s autonomous combine, BMW’s self-driving motorcycle and autonomous pods of all form factors drove themselves around practically every empty parking lot off the strip.

While the roads may not resemble the Jetsons just yet, we’re clearly getting more comfortable with autonomy—and as technology like embedded vision is becoming more accessible, understandable and affordable we’re getting creative with its applications. As we’re learning more about the challenges of autonomy, companies are looking more at “last mile” opportunities like the expanding front door to ensure secure package delivery. But autonomy can also revolutionize day-to-day activities. (See: Foldimate, an automated laundry folding machine; Ovis, a suitcase that will follow you around the airport; and BreadBot, an automated bread-baking vending machine.)

It’s time for AI to grow up and get a job

An Avnet employee assisting an attendee at the 2019 CES conventionWhile AI showed up in almost every kind of consumer product imaginable at CES, from televisions to toothbrushes to tractors, the industry is starting to be more critical of AI just for the sake of AI. The real conversation is as much about how we can make it happen as it is about why we should implement it at all.

To implement AI on a grand scale, we’ll need to pair the right philosophy behind it with the appropriate advanced technology to support it. That clearly showed up at CES, from new chips to more robust edge computing solutions supporting AI at the edge. But the hype around AI still screams buzzword more than business opportunity, so be on the lookout for when applications do more than just skim the surface.

Nobody can do it alone

As the world gets more connected, the expectations of consumers rise—and many companies are realizing they can’t tackle all of it by themselves. As a result, we’re seeing even more unique and surprising partnerships from tech giants to help technology keep up with increasing business opportunity. For example, Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG all announced partnerships with Apple and its new AirPlay 2.

Partnership goes far beyond end applications, though. To create connected infrastructure in a timely manner, we need to better connect our experts—from hardware to software or IT to OT. IoT is a revolutionary technological advancement, but also a complex one—and one that no one can do alone.

To move quickly and cost effectively, developers and creators need partners and business ecosystems to go from promising prototype to CES sensation.

RELATED ARTICLES

Don’t ignore analog—it’s the secret sauce of IoT

Most of the innovation in IoT is focused on digital technology. From power servers running software ...

Today's case for AI at the edge

AI might feel far away, but engineers are innovating everyday. Should you consider edge AI? ...

Designing for the IoT as Intelligence Moves to the Edge

The Internet of Everything will be all inclusive, from huge data centers to single-purpose sensors. ...