Lessons from CES 2018: everything is connected
Posted on January 24, 2018
4 min read
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is a whirlwind of devices, gadgets, drones and robots. At times it is difficult to see through the noise and colour to get a sense of the practical use cases that have the potential to change our lives – versus what I call “we did this because we could” tech.
Now that I have had a bit of time to reflect on the show, there were a number of key themes and developments that stood out for me, which are important for our customers and for Telstra in the short to medium term – both as a network provider and as a technology company.
My overarching takeaway is that connectivity is everything, clearly reinforcing that our strategy to invest in providing the best networks to our customers, both in the home and while on the move, is the right one.
The battle for your home
The first key theme was the number of smart devices on show and the battle for control of the home. Last year Amazon’s Alexa was a big talking point and voice assistants were a big part of CES2018 again.
While Alexa again had a big presence, Google Home was everywhere – and there was also speculation about what impact the Apple HomePod will have in the smart home market when it launches.
One thing was clear – anything that can be connected in the home will be connected, from fridges and mirrors through to toilets, beds and pillows; improving your night’s sleep was, surprisingly, a key theme itself!
For a company with connectivity at our heart this provides enormous opportunity for us to improve the customer experience.
While consumers grapple with the choice of calling out “Alexa”, “Hey Google” or “Hi Siri”, for Telstra the applications and benefits that will shortly be available to our customers mean the size, speed and security of their home wifi network becomes all important.
It means our customers’ home gateways will become a central hub that not only connects their TVs to stream the latest movie, but also their watering systems, air-conditioning and baby monitors.
Wi-Fi needs to reach into every corner of the home (and garden), which is why our aim is to differentiate our gateway to provide the best in market. We are also working with partners to provide a range of Wi-Fi extenders aimed at unleashing the full potential of the smart home for our customers.
Innovation acceleration in autonomous vehicles
The second key theme at CES was transport, and what I saw as the merging of drones with autonomous vehicles. These two technologies definitely took up most of the show floor.
Of course many vehicles are already connected, and have technologies like cruise control and lane departure warnings that help us drive. The technologies on show at CES were not about helping us drive, but were about doing the driving for us (or without us).
The broad convergence of a number of technologies including vehicle systems (particularly for electric vehicles), digital mapping, data analytics and artificial intelligence mean our roads will soon be home to fleets of self-driving, self-navigating, and effectively self-aware cars, trucks and vans. Soon steering wheels and pedals will be redundant.
Take the idea a little further and you have a scenario where you no longer need to ask what type of car should I buy, but ask what type of vehicle is right for the trip I want to make? A fleet of cars is available and when you get in the car recognises you through facial recognition and automatically configures your seat, temperature and radio station based on your preferences stored in the cloud.
Where drones and transport merge is in the development of autonomous drones with the capability of carrying people. Intel had a helicopter-like drone on show at CES which it is touting as the future of taxis – you simply climb in and tell it where to go and it takes you there.
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