CES 2019: Is This the Beginning of the Age of Personalization?

The transformative potential of 5G technologies progresses from promise to first products and will likely emerge as the hot underlying topic of CES 2019, which opens Sunday, January 6 in Las Vegas. ETC@USC will cover the trade show with particular interest in how developments can impact or disrupt media, entertainment, and technology companies and their business models. Artificial intelligence, mixed reality, IoT, cloud systems, media and marketing, and blockchain are six other topics that together with 5G suggest personalization to be an overarching theme.

Despite the massive scale of CES, with its 2.7 million square feet of exhibit space, 4,400 exhibitors, 1,000 startups, and over 180,000 attendees from around the world, not everything is on display. A portion of our coverage will place products and announcements made at CES into the context of companies and their initiatives announced prior to or outside of CES.

CTA, the Consumer Technology Association and owner of CES, identifies Artificial Intelligence, The Smart Home of the Future, Digital Health, eSports and Sports Technology, and Resilience as their five “Trends to Watch.”

“The U.S. is beginning a transformation that will create lucrative business opportunities for many,” CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro wrote in his Tech Trends introduction. “5G is coming and its rich bandwidth will reduce latency, allow a fast data stream and incentivize new services that cross the borders of all tech sectors.”

“Combined with low cost sensors, deep data analytics and AI, 5G will be the backbone for much of the smart city infrastructure that will help to drive resilience for unforeseen disasters — one of our key topics,” he added. “5G will also fuel the connected home, transform digital healthcare and create immersive experiences for global sports fans. Of course, AI will be at the core of each of these areas supporting them with data to make informed actions.”

For ETC@USC, interest in 5G is less about the nascent hardware or services today and much more about the significance three to five years hence when the GSMA mobile trade association projects that a third of the world’s population will have 5G access and 1.2 billion devices will be connected. It is against this landscape that ETC consultant George Gerba is going to CES looking for “supplementary trends to see how close we are to a sea change in distribution and personalization.” (Check back tomorrow for George’s list of emerging trends in these areas.)