(6 Jan 2019) LEADIN
The annual technology show CES is about to open and this year some of the biggest buzzwords are 5G, IoT and automotive technology.
But behind the glitz and hype, there is an underlying concern that trade conflicts, privacy concerns and a slowdown of innovation could create problems for the tech sector.
Las Vegas is famous for its Elvis impersonators roaming the streets to sing a song for a tip from a tourist.
But over the next week, the city of sin will also be the global hotspot for tech innovation.
Thousands of companies, from the large giants like Samsung, Sony and LG, to small startup firms, will show their products and platforms at the annual CES technology show.
This year there will be a lot of talk about 5G, the next generation of wireless communications network, that will slowly start being rolled out in select areas around the world.
5G promises faster download speed, lower latency and more stability compared to the existing 4G network.
“CES 2019 comes at a very important time, right before 5G is really going to roll out around the world,” says Michael Villanueva, editor of Gadget match technology news website.
“So here at the show, I expect to see a lot of technology that talks about what 5G means. Hardware that kind of supports this new technology, and maybe, finally, IoT (Internet of things) will become a thing.”
Mobile phones that are 5G ready will start to be released in 2019 and cities around the world will start trialling 5G networks in smaller geographical areas.
It will most likely take years before 5G infrastructure has been built to cover larger areas and whole countries.
When it’s up and running, it is thought that it will allow more gadgets, home appliances and cars to be connected to the internet at all times.
“5G is about connectivity everywhere, connectivity that is reliable,” says Villanueva
“And IoT (Internet of Things) is all about devices that are connected and can talk to each other. So when you have the infrastructure that supports it, the technology can finally follow.”
CES in 2018 was the year that voice assistants, such as the Amazon Alexa or the Google assistant, took centre stage.
Companies added voice assistants to a wide range of products, fridges, ovens and even toilets.
“The battle for voice assistants are going to carry on in 2019. But this year I think that we are going to start to see the car becoming one of the spaces that voice assistants are going to try to claim,” says Nicole Scott, editor of Mobile geeks technology website.
“So, Alexa is going to move into the car and the automotive manufacturers are finally starting to come up with something that is sort of useful but I think that, you know, the people that are making voice assistants for your phones have a massive head start.”
Car manufacturers will also use the show to launch some of their new vehicles. German car company BMW will release the electric iNext at the show.
Companies like Honda and Hyundai will also show off new vehicles.
“The space inside a car is really becoming a space that brands are starting to claim to really communicate with the consumer,” says Scott.
“You are trapped in your car for a really long time so it is a great place for tech to exist. But car companies are really only now beginning, in their roadmap of evolution, to have technology good enough to talk about with the consumer.”
After the announcement, Apple shares fell 7 percent.
The glitter and glamour of Las Vegas during CES will of course continue.
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