CES 2019: The Usual, the New and the Silly

Kris Hoet
3 min readJan 8, 2019

You don’t have to go to CES to know what is bing announced or shown during the conferences or on the trade floor. But going to the event does give you a much better feel of how all these things come together, that’s at least how I experience it last year and how I found that experience different from just reading up on the news as I did before. And so we’re back.

The Usual

In a way nothing is really new and a lot of what you will see this week is a thinner, faster, smarter, more connected, sharper, … version of what was announced last year and the year before. We’ll see smaller TV’s, foldable phones, more wearables, phones with more camera’s, smarter fitness & health hardware, better gaming devices, drones all shapes, robots… and so on. All pretty cool stuff on its own but the type of updates you know are coming and aren’t that exciting or surprising. A bit like Apple lately. If you’re in the market for one of these devices you will probably be happy it’s finally there but if you just bought the latest last year then you’ll pass on the elevated price tag for the incremental upgrade.

The New

Nothing never comes unexpected (and I’ll stand corrected if it did by the time this week is over) but the freshest evolution is related to everything connected and controlled by very native conversational interfaces. I talked about it last year as ’smarter interconnectivity’ and believe we’ll see a lot more if now. It’s where the smart devices are finally really becoming smart with the rapid development of AI & maybe even more interesting how all the devices, hardware and services will start to communicate with each other — hopefully for your advantage. This is where the internet becomes invisible, where we don’t use an interface like a PC, phone or tablet anymore to connect to the world but each and every piece of connected hardware will do part of that for us. And we’ll engage with it in the most natural way. It’ll be classified as wearables, smart home, intelligent automotive but look at the signs where it all gets connected, this is what I’ll be on the look out for this year at CES, where it all gets really interesting I believe.

The Silly

An Alexa enabled toilet, a walking car, … for one of the other reason CES attracts more of these weird inventions than any other event that I know. And the two I just mentioned are only the big ones announced at the start of the event. Once you wonder around the trade floor you’ll see plenty of ideas that fit the same category. Solutions to problems that don’t exist or just tech for the sake of tech which can only make you smile. Someone somewhere thought it was worth spending time and money on so hopefully they’re happy with the result. For the rest of us it’s just mostly silly.

Last but not least, don’t forget to go check out the startups. There are literally 100s of small companies from all over the world presenting their newest technology. Don’t get distracted by the big players so you forget about the smaller ones, often you’ll see more signs of emerging trends and way more accessible to play with if you wanted to.