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CES 2018: It’s Not Really About the Gadgets Anymore

date: January 30, 2018

Now that CES 2018 is over, everyone’s talking about all cool devices and gadgets they saw there. Time put up a list of its “10 Coolest Gadgets We Saw at CES 2018”, TechCrunch published “The best gadgets we saw at CES 2018”, CNET posted “All the cool new gadgets at CES 2018”, and Wired UK wrote “The most interesting new gadgets and gear from CES 2018”.

But my personal perspective on this year’s CES is that it’s no longer really about the gadgets — it’s about the technology behind the gadgets, or perhaps more accurately, inside them and around them.

In past CES shows dating all the way back to the first show in New York in 1967, the gadgets were the stars because they were the ones, or things, doing all the work. A lot of these gadgets could be found at stores like The Sharper Image, where you’d walk in and find it hard to leave any time soon because you just wanted to stay in that giant massage chair or watch an air humidifier’s mesmerizing steam show.

Now, thanks to AI and IoT, the gadgets themselves aren’t the mesmerizing part — it’s the technology they’re using and built on that are the objects of wonder.

The gadgets of CES shows past have depended on hardware using predictive data to make them “smart”, but it’s real-time data and the insights that data reveals that are making today’s gadgets really smart — they’re brilliantly nimble and can make micro-moment adjustments to their environments and users’ needs.

Take the highly personalized, real-time interactions that “My Special Aflac Duck” – on Time’s list — provides to children with cancer. Or how about the Vizux Blade Augmented Reality Smart Glasses (also on Time’s list), which provides overlaid information, indoors or out, such as patient data, mapping directions, restaurant menus, and weather information? Or the Omron Forpheus Ping Pong robot (on almost everyone’s list of top CES 2018 gadgets )— talk about real-time and AI wrapped up into one brilliant interactive toy!

My point: we’re heading into a new era where software is trumping hardware and where the unseen, at least to the human eye, workings of real time, AI, and IoT are the true stars of today’s devices. The possibilities are endless and no longer confined to what you can fit into your home or living room, or how much “memory” a software chip can hold.

These are exciting times, for sure, and I’m proud to be part of a company that helps other companies take advantage of real-time data to produce mind-blowing and game-changing applications.

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