Three Thoughts on Day One at CES 2018

by Brett Sappington | Jan. 10, 2018

The Consumer Electronics Show has become such a staple in the life of analysts and the consumer technology industry, I actually now find myself surprised that the dates for CES are not pre-printed on calendars, much like Presidents Day or Groundhog Day. CES veterans often the same dueling anticipations - new discoveries vs. travel hassles and big crowds. Ultimately, the hope of the former overshadows the dread of the latter, and we visit the booths, presentations, press events, and hospitality suites to find the new and noteworthy.

The scale of CES 2018 is such that a single day only provides a partial glimpse into potential trends, but here are a few thoughts that I have after a dozen hours or so at the event.

AI is poised to be the new hot thing in 2018. Of the several companies that I have met with in day one, virtually all had an element of artificial intelligence in their products, plans, and messaging. Autonomous cars? Check. Security technology? Check. User interface technologies? Check. Data analytics to drive smart products? Check. Smartphones? Check. Importantly, many of these products use very different aspects of AI, ranging from machine vision to deep learning, which shows the diversity of tools available under the big umbrella of AI.

The pendulum of industry focus is swinging from the cloud to the edge of the network. Don’t get me wrong, the cloud is still critical. However, it seems that there is increasing focus in the processing and computational power in devices at the edge of the network and how that power can be harnessed and managed effectively. In fact, I have heard more references to processing at the edge of the network in the past 12 hours than I have heard in the past six months.

Rain in a desert town is a great thing… except when it isn’t. Yeah. That happened. More of a hassle than anything, but it is a bit surprising how a little rain really gummed up the works today. I saw several folks slowly considering their seating options in the front of the bus while a line of people politely stood in the drizzle behind them.

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