So we read the reviews about CES this year. How it was boring and there were no new advances to get excited about. While we sort of agree there was not much mind-blowing and there was a lack of truly new “IT” technology on exhibit, we like to think we find inspiration in everything so we were excited to see:
- the new ways companies are manipulating current technology
- the advancement of thinking in some revolutionary new ideas
- the innovation in areas like food production that, though not the first you’d think of as being at the Consumer Electronics Show, still represent the kind of creative thinking we at Gramercy Tech engage in every day.
The team from Gramercy Tech was onsite at CES working with several clients on their activations at CES. After getting them up and running, our team took to the floor in order to view some of the the presentations of both established brands and over 1,200 startups represented at the show. A few of their favorite trends, the ones that will have significance for the future of our clients’ businesses include:
#1 AI and Google Assistant powered a Ride!
Arguably the most important trend is the continued influence of AI, best exemplified at CES by the virtual Google Assistant. In addition to hosting their own pavilion, the Google presence was felt in all exhibition areas. Google employees in their distinctive white uniforms could be found explaining their integration capacity with products like display technology from LG, virtual reality, gaming and even automotive products.
One of the most notable and noted features of both the Google pavilion and CES was Google’s foray into the interactive experience space with its Google Assistant Ride. This fully automated installation took riders on a journey through the everyday life of a typical family, including all the ways Google Assistant is able to help families run more smoothly.
#2 IBM’s Quantum Computer
While it’s important to see technology that is currently functioning and available, it is also necessary to check in on the progress of technology that is still in the development phase. Which is why the unveiling of the IBM Q System One is a big deal. The Q System One, though a largely experimental device, represents IBM’s work on building a practical quantum computer. At the moment, quantum computers have a few challenges: they are unable to outperform even laptops when it comes to useful tasks, they must be kept very cold, and it is hard to maintain their stability. However, when these issues are solved, quantum computers will fundamentally change what computers can accomplish.
We at Gramercy Tech don’t know exactly the ways in which quantum computing will help our clients. But as innovators and thinkers, we are excited by the possibilities we see including, the ability to exponentially increase the amount of information that is processed and the scientific, pharma and even fusion energy discoveries that will be possible with this kind of computing. Our imaginations have been sparked and we can’t wait to see what IBM is able to accomplish.
#3 Smart Home Technology in everything
Our own Gramercy Tech innovators predict that, within the next few years, most products will have a smart home integration, including small kitchen electronics, showers, toilets, etc. Not only that, but the growing influence of smart cities will provide users with services that include finding empty parking spots, gas sensors that monitor air quality and emissions, and sensors that identify security threats and infrastructure issues. It has been said that every company is, or should be, a technology company. That assertion becomes more true every day.
The question of how companies will be able to maintain customer engagement as technology evolves is perhaps best answered by the ongoing revolution in and development of wearables. This year, CES offered a full-day summit dedicated to this segment of the industry at which innovations such as smart fabrics, cloud computing as related to wearables, flexible membranes and activity tracking were discussed. Most interestingly, the concept of “powered clothing”, or clothing that augments human strength, was explored. The implications for those dealing with mobility loss, balance issues or other losses in muscle tone are tremendous. It was stated that wearable tech is becoming a work requirement in certain industries as wearables go from having potential to being essential. At Gramercy Tech, we will be keeping an eye on this technology as it evolves. We see the possibility of integrating wearables with our existing meeting planning and attendee tracking product lines.
#4 Metal Printing
But what happens if a part breaks during the manufacturing of any of these products and services? Another exhibitor, Markforged, arrived at CES with a Metal 3D printer. The application of this printer will enable manufacturers to create parts in-house and on-demand, resulting in significant savings in time and money for any business or industry involved in production. In the case of Gramercy Tech, access to a Metal 3D printer could mean a decrease in downtime in the unlikely event that one of our onsite installations requires servicing during a meeting or conference.
#5 Hacking Food!
Finally, this recap wouldn’t be complete without referencing Stephen, Andrey and Maggie’s unanimous pick for the most surprising product at CES: the Impossible Burger 2.0. This plant-based, vegan burger apparently tastes like, in the words of CNET’s Dara Kerr, “well massaged Kobe ribeye” and has been called a “triumph of food engineering.”