CES 2018: Top 10+ Trends and Products


The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brought 170,000+ attendees, 4,000 exhibiting companies divided into 26 Marketplaces, and 1,200 speakers to Las Vegas last week. CES offers more than “Consumer” and “Electronics,” but is definitely a “Show.” CES offers perspective on what’s now, new, and next – you just have to find it.

Applying the Innovation

  1. Talk to your customers about their plans and opportunities for implementing new technologies. Will your customer consider your company when topics like AI, smart buildings, and IoT arise? Are you sure?
  2. Use your customers’ feedback to learn more about new technologies and practices that align with your strategic plans. Look to HTG resources (like the HTG COF), peers, vendors, and distributors for solutions that fit.

 Similar to my posts about Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit, Microsoft’s Ignite Conference, and Salesforce’s Dreamforce Conference, here’s my perspective on CES.


Top 10+ Trends and Products

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is both exploding and misunderstood. (Is it AI with Machine Learning or just smart software?) Google was all-in at CES for the first time promoting their Google Assistant ecosystem. Their battle royale with Amazon Echo’s Alexa-enable products has just started. The joke among attendees was, “Fill in the blank: I just saw a Bluetooth enabled ______________ that integrates with ____Alexa/Google___ (choose one).” Remember, Amazon announced Alexa for Business at their partner conference in November. And Samsung is becoming an AI player in mobile, home, business, and automobile.

Smart Buildings
and Smart Cities are real, though with much more to build. CES included a full Smart City exhibit hall of products and solutions operating in silos. I liked modular Smart Building system from MIRCOM and a Building Management Platform from Site 1001, a spin-off from JE Dunn Construction. Cisco Kinetic for Cities Starter Solutions and Kinetic IoT Initiative were also on display.


Most all the B2B IoT world depends on engineering solutions from components and products obtained from distribution vs. pre-assembled solutions designed for verticals. Specialty distributors like AVNET, Arrow, along with product (Multitech; Digi) and wireless (KORE Wireless; GetWireless) vendors help partners and customers build end-to-end solutions.


There are IoT software platform vendors offering starter packages to help with proof-of-concepts as alternatives to AWS, Azure, PwC, and others. Check out Systech Corp. (and their vertical applications), QNAP’s QIoT Suite Lite, and OpenDataSoft for data management.


Drones are flying higher, farther, and with specific applications. There were mainstream players like DJI along with small drones for gaming, drones for spraying fields in agriculture, and drones for carrying people like Intel’s Volocopter (PDF). It was interesting to see how many different products and investments at CES involved Intel.


“Voice is a game changer. 5G will be a game changer”…though which game(s) and when is to be determined. All the major carriers promoted 5G. Intel’s exhibit hall offered demos of 5G gaming with VR/AR tied to the Olympics. The signal doesn’t travel as far as 4G LTE and won’t pass through brick walls but it is fast. 5G was heavily promoted over Wi-Fi for Smart Cities.


Security was a major concern, but there weren’t a lot of security products. For the home, Bitdefender BOX is a new product for securing all digital devices. Fortress Cyber Security has a product targeting “high profile, high net worth” individuals that secures digital assets and integrates with physical home security companies. For business, the some of the first options for using Blockchain to secure IoT devices and data were announced.


Autonomous cars and the surrounding ecosystem is massive. Almost all major players (except Tesla) were at CES with their latest model or concept models and technology. 49-inch-plus Byton console displays, advances in 3D LiDAR, better batteries, and expanded visions into “personal mobility” (Ford bought Ojo, a scooter company) were are on display. Lots of data generated, with most staying on the edge in the vehicle.


Launch services like Indiegogo, Ingram Micro and Arrow work together to bring new products to market. Industry associations like LoRa Alliance and IoT M2M Council help create standards and build ecosystems in buildings, wide area networks for IoT, and IoT/M2M (machine to machine).


“Cool” products, gadgets and toys are everywhere. Like the kids’ toothbrush gaming system connected to an iPad, or the Bluetooth-enabled water bowl for dogs, or the device that combines VR, gamification, and a gym workout. LG, Sony, and Panasonic along with huge smart home/kitchen product lines. (Yes, massive 8K and microLED TVs.) There were also leading tech products in 3D printing (printers and pens), robotics, child education, health wearables, sleep improvement, elder care, and more…like Peloton’s new treadmill or Coros’ smart biking helmet or Vuzix’s smart glasses (“the smart glasses Google wishes it did.”) There were 900 companies in an area named Eureka Park, most of which were from outside the U.S. (Think candidates for Shark Tank.)


Summing up, consider the Next Steps above. Take the initiative to discuss the role new technologies and innovation plays in your future. And if your calendar allows, make plans to attend CES 2019 January 8-11 in Las Vegas.


Additional Resources

CES Event Website and Exhibitor Directory

CES 2018 Podcasts

CRN - CES 2018: The Best of The Best

CRN - CES 2018: The 10 Most Important Product Announcements

CRN - CES 2018: The 10 Coolest Laptops Unveiled at CES 2018