CES has traditionally been a harbinger of technology and societal trends with the products that are launched there: 1981 saw the introduction of the camcorder, 1991 the Interactive CD, 2001 the Microsoft Xbox and 2011 was the year of the tablet as countless competitors to the iPad emerged. I predict 2021 will be the year of automation.
Actually, as I continue my research on how automation – robotics, machine learning, wearables, drones etc – is changing every job category – in accounting, advertising, agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, outsourcing etc, I was impressed by the announcements and demos last week and what should mature over the next few years.
There was a session on the “fusion of robotics, AI, and Cloud Computing forms the blueprint for a new breed of machine: the “learning” robot.” IBM showed a blend its Watson with Softbank’s Pepper robot.
TechCrunch announced apps are passe, bots are taking over. “Your personal bot will supervise other bots on your behalf, per your personal preferences. You may choose to delegate authority to bots that act autonomously on your behalf. Your shopping, scheduling, tracking, monitoring and messaging can be automated according to personal preferences.”
Autonomous cars got lots of press this week. ABC said “One of the more important announcements will come from Quanergy, which will unveil low-cost solid-state Lidar, or lasers, that can see 360 degrees regardless of weather” and “ Companies such as Nvidia are working on artificial intelligence to decide how to handle the millions of situations a car will encounter.” and “Delphi will show off a new wiring architecture to handle 1,000 times more information, so cars won’t be obsolete as soon as they leave the dealer.” and “parts maker Visteon is among companies that will show off infotainment systems that are better protected from hacking attacks.”
USA Today reported “Drones are one of the most popular gadgets on display at CES, with over 100 new drone models here, and the rodeo (in the Nevada desert away from the CES campus) has them in every shape and size, from teeny tiny toys, to industrial.”
3D printing : “Over the past two years, a lot of big companies have thrown their hat in the ring. Bosch, HP, Ricoh, and Toshiba…just to name a few. They bring big R&D budgets and established production, sales, and service forces. Then there are new entrants like Carbon3D, backed by a $100 million investment from Google.”
There was much more around virtual reality, wearables, and other technologies which are digitizing labor in many occupations.
Of course, CES is consumer focused, but historically, enterprise grade versions and adoption of technologies that debut there follows in a few years.
Funnily USA Today, writing with the consumer in mind complained “If there’s a bone to pick with this year’s CES over 2015, it is for a lack of wow. Instead we got meat-and-potato updates.”
Not so for the enterprise. The 2021 CES should have much more enterprise class automation.
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)