Algorithms are taking center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018, as exhibitors strive to out “smart” each other with AI-powered gadgets and appliances. The four-day event is the largest of its kind, featuring 4,000 exhibitors across than 2.6 million sq ft (186,000 sqm) of exhibition space at the Las Vegas Convention Center. CES runs to Jan 12 and is expected to draw some 180,000 attendees.
Twitter hashtags such as #AI, #IoT, and #Automation topped the search list for the 51st annual CES, while tech giants jostled for position, particularly in the highly competitive voice-controlled home assistant market. Google erected a huge Hey Google installation at the CES main entrance, repeating the catchphrase on the city’s monorail and billboards.
This hotword advertisement for Google Home directly challenges Amazon Alexa and Apple’s upcoming HomePod. Amazon meanwhile is making its mark with Revolutionizing Consumer Electronics with Voice, a series of nine keynotes running through the week.
Tech giants NVIDIA, Baidu, Samsung and LG held their own gala product unveilings in the days leading up the CES kickoff, with some going better than others.
Things got awkward when South Korean firm LG introduced its line of brainy home appliances powered by ThinQ AI software, including self-learning refrigerators, and washing machines. The fridge is equipped with 29 inch touch screen that displays what’s inside, and like other LG smart appliances is controlled by CLOi, a voice assistant robot. CLOi however went silent in its stage debut, thrice ignoring marketing chief David VanderWaal’s attempts to communicate with it.
LG also unveiled its AI capable OLED TV with a built-in voice command developed in partnership with Google. LG rival Samsung meanwhile showcased its 85-inch 8K television Q9S, which features a dedicated resolution-enhancing algorithm, enabling it to convert a low-resolution signal into 8K quality content for playback.
CES will hold 21 IoT keynote sessions, second only to the 24 sessions on AI. The first keynote was presented by Ford Motors under the title Mobility Solutions and the Move Towards Smarter Cities. According to CES’s Official Twitter account, “by next year, every Ford vehicle in the US will be connected, and they are partnering with Qualcomm to make this a reality.”
While Aptiv and Lyft’s self-driving BMWs chauffeured CES visitors outside, inside the hall Ford, Hyundai, BMW and Audi showcased the latest improvements to their own self-driving technologies, such as smarter parking assistance and collision avoidance.
CES’s first-ever AI Marketplace is happening this year in LVCC Hall 2. Featured exhibitors include Baidu, Horizon Robotics, iFLYTEK, Aeolus Robotics, NovuMind and others.
Synced will provide further updates on CES gadgets and goings on throughout the week.
Journalist: Meghan Han | Editor: Michael Sarazen