It’s the first week in January and that can only mean one thing. The annual geekfest known as CES has rolled into town and Las Vegas is filled with people and technology! I mean a lot of people. Like 160,000 people from all around the world. They pretty much fill up all the hotel rooms in town. So if you went room shopping for this week and noticed a spike in room rates, that’s why.
Today was the first day of the actual convention and it wraps up on Friday.
What is CES?
CES is the largest convention held each year in Las Vegas and its been held here since 1978. Originally it was the Winter Consumer Electronics Show with a summer version held in Chicago. In 1998, as electronics became mainstream, they stopped having the summer show and made the Las Vegas version THE show.
Sorry, but it’s closed to the general public. Only open to anyone involved in the consumer electronics world as well as accredited media. (I’m both)
It was once called “The Consumer Electronics Show” but recently the owners of the event keep telling us to stop calling it that and to use its Offical Title: CES 2019. Basically, if it’s sold to the general consumer (you and me) and it has an electronic chip in it or is electronic, it’s here. Most of what is here is what you will see hitting the stores in the next 3 to 12 months. It used to be what we see here in January, your average consumer would see on the shelves next Christmas or later. But technology is changing so rapidly, it’s now down to 30 to 90 days!
The show covers about 3 million square feet of convention space over several properties. You have the main part of the show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Then it rolls over to the Sands Convention Center. Plus the hospitality suites and ballrooms in the major 5-star resorts like the Wynn and the Aria. some of the bigger vendors like to buy out the top restaurants to hold events in them as well.
Now stop for a second and think about that. A business, like Microsoft or Verizon, will buy out a 5-star restaurant for an entire day. Just to show off its newest product and talk to the people who could be using, buying or marketing it. It ain’t cheap. But its THAT important to be here and to spend the money to catch the eyeballs of the people you need to do business with.
What’s New in 2019??
This is the first time in years that I have not walked the entire event in one day. Usually, I have a few vendors I want to see, a couple of new gadgets I want to review and then I get out. Too many people and too many things to stimulate the mind!
This year, the way things have been changing, I think I will be needing the entire four days to cover everything I want to see. Today was spent in the South Conference Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This is mostly dedicated to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Wireless Virtual Reality (VR), Robotics and Drones. Not to forget 3D printing. Something that just recently took off and is a hot topic.
3D Printing. This was a small niche technology last year. This year it has just blown up and took over a good section of the hall. Smaller, cheaper, lighter, easier to use. Today, with a hand-held scanner, if you can make an image copy of it, you can recreate it in 3D from a unit that can sit on your desktop. You can buy a 3D Printer from Amazon for under $200!
Think the old cartoon The Jetsons, just became real. Lawn mowers, suitcases, window washers, tool carrier, it just boggled the mind and all of it within the average person budget. Mix that with biometrics and the machine can recognize who is commanding them and if they are authorized for such a command.
Look for videos to be published soon.
Las Vegas casinos have had biometrics and facial recognition software for a very long time. Now its available on the consumer market with very great accuracy. Pass by a small camera and it will tell whoever is watching the monitor what your age range is, body style and any specific feature that makes you stand out from a crowd. Like carrying a blue backpack or wearing jeans versus khaki pants.
ForwardX Robotics showed off the upgraded the Ovis Suitcase that will follow alongside you as you walk thru the airport. It can avoid obstacles and knows the person who they should be following by their biometrics. Check out this video
This also goes for pets and their food bowls. Yes, facial recognition for pets…
The facial recognition tech that has been added to the bowl recognizes your pet’s face. Once these sensors on the Mookkie bowl detect your pet’s face, a mechanical panel rotates to expose the food in the bowl.
Passing right by the relaunch of the original Pong video game and the next generation of the Segway personal transportation device (videos of these coming soon), I went for the big boy in the room. The $500,000 John Deere Combine. Listen for the primal grunt….
Yes, the once ordinary and practical farm machinery went high tech. It actually started to go high tech about 25 years ago, it just took a little while for it to catch up with the big boys in the AG business. (I was part of the original “Precision Agriculture” launch in the 1990’s). Now John Deere wants to show off how the farmers of today use it to save money and harvest better crops with satellite GPS technology that is also connected to the local Co-Ops and the farmers home computer.
The Connected Home
As always, form follows function (?) just about any product that could be connected, showed off their ability to work from the Google Home or the Amazon Alexa App. If they could, the connected every device possible to the home automation bandwagon. As for popularity, I would say Google is making some fast inroads to where Alexa was the dominant player. They now seem to be almost equally embedded in the new gadgets moving forward.
- Check out the Next Generation of Alexa at Amazon
- Check out the New Google Home Assistant at B&H Photo
In all, I walked over 18,000 steps today and only saw one-fourth of the show! Tomorrow I head over to Central Hall and North Hall where we get more into the home appliances and entertainment as well as the automotive products. After that, I want to make it to the Sands Convention Center for the health and fitness toys, tools and gadgets!
Look for videos to post soon!