For an event labelled as a Consumer Electronics Show, there are a lot of products in the business and enterprise categories that can be found. I have been able to lay out a plan across my four days on the ground to bring you news in this area from a consumer focused show.
Here are some of the key areas I will be looking into while I am at the event.
We already know that the smart speaker market is dominated by Amazon with Google and Microsoft playing catchup. As I wrote recently, just having one of these speakers in your office can drastically increase your usage of the service. It looks like other companies are starting to build up their own voice control capabilities into their products or using existing ecosystems to add that option to their services.
Internet of Things (IoT)
This category has been growing for some time now, and ranges from simple devices that connect various items to the Internet to collect data and those with much more detailed capabilities. One area that was big at CES 2017: secure routers that help provide security to the IoT devices that do not have that ability built in. By learning the data patterns, these routers could recognize when attached devices might not be doing what you expect them to do.
The overall IoT push continues in the name of saving money and resources in the enterprise or business organization. These products now cover a wide range of services from the aforementioned data collection, security, and environmental sensors. In addition to these capabilities, new product/service categories are emerging that provide tools to collate and analyze all of this information so it can be turned into actionable data. That, in turn, helps to automate processes so that companies get a return on the infrastructure investment.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML)
These behind-the-scenes technologies impact nearly every service that can be used today in business and enterprise applications. Last year, I wrote about how Microsoft approaches AI as an invisible force behind the smart services they offer customers. Other companies take the same approach, and the mentions about AI and ML in the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 email flow have been very frequent. One company is even demoing an emotion chip for robots and AI machines. While that particular deployment reminds me of the Star Trek movie where Data installs his own emotion chip, I’m very interested to see this among all of the AI/ML items on my list, and if it has a true impact on those applications.
Cyber and Physical Security
This is a category that has a lot of crossover with the AI/ML and IoT categories above, and several vendors are showing off products and services that enhance these two approaches to security. Included among this category are traditional networking companies like Netgear and new offerings of Private and On-Premises Cloud services to compete with the big three (AWS, Google, and Microsoft).
Making sure you can do business with every potential customer is an important approach to your products and services. Translation tech brings together machine learning, artificial intelligence and speech as a primary interface. One of the companies I plan to visit has what appears to be a universal voice translator, and another one appears capable of translating sign language.
Odds And Ends
Some other odd areas I have planned to check out include: wireless charging, turning tactile surfaces into touch interfaces, co-working spaces, ergonomic furniture, and docking stations. The needs of a mobile workforce create the demand for technologies that make those employees more productive when they are on the go and when they drop in for a recharge before heading back out again. There are even a couple of companies touting Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality solutions for enterprise/business related work.
Stay tuned here at ITPro Today and on my Twitter account (@WinObs) for our coverage throughout the Consumer Electronics Show 2018.