Is CES still relevant?

Nathan Baranowski

Is the consumer tech show keeping up with emerging tech or does the annual event seem one step behind?


CES 2013 saw true disruptive tech with VR, wearable and smart homes gaining some traction in the tech industry.

But as CES 2018 closes, is the tech industry any further forward with these technologies, 5 years on, and has anything new been introduced? The answer feels like not really.

The focus of the show seemed to be dominated by an abundance of connected tech including, toilets, showers, toothbrushes, suitcases and underwear.  Does Google assist (or equivalent) need to present on every item we own? Just because something can be connected and monitored, does it need to be? This felt like the industry concentrated on showing gizmos and gadgets, rather than on sustainable future proof tech which could be making people's lives easier and more efficient.

Add on tech is becoming more and more prevalent with actual technology breakthroughs are being forgotten. At the show, LG announced it would be adding AI to all its existing products this year. No new innovations just adding a feature to their fridge or TV. What advancements was this going to bring about by just adding existing technology to an existing device?

Wearables is certainly in danger of becoming a saturated market with consumers often having to wade through endless versions of the same thing, where is the new innovation? 

Aside from the consumer lack of innovation there was however a beacon of light. Whilst many tech sectors felt stagnated, Digital Health seemed to take centre stage this year.

Healthcare is ripe for growth as healthcare costs rise and people are being given more autonomy over their own care.

Many big tech companies have entered this market bringing forward their own health gadgets and products. Health gadgets, sensors and trackers for homes and cars far outnumbered any other market at CES 2018.

A couple of highlights:

Omron’s blood pressure smart watch is undergoing clinical tests but it can be programmed to take night readings, testing for hypertension and risk of stroke while sleeping. This is amazing innovative tech.

Sleep trackers are big business but Nokia Sleep goes beyond the norm by also addressing the room you sleep in, lowering lights and temperature for example.

Medical training in VR. Immersive VR simulation allowing collaboration of at least 2 people, student and teacher demonstrating from anaesthesia to operation.

We would like to see more disruptive consumer tech across all the sectors at CES 2019, rather than the add on technology demonstrated this year, let’s take some risks, and see where it takes the tech world!


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