5 Innovations That Will Dominate CES 2020
Once again, the hottest event in consumer tech is just around the corner. Hosted in Las Vegas, CES 2020 will run January 7-10.
Entrepreneurs who attend will get more than a sneak peek at the coolest gadgets hitting the market. They’ll also see how much the competitive landscape has changed in the space of a year, giving them fresh insight into where other disruptive opportunities lie.
Plant-based burgers, 8K televisions, and smart toilets wowed audiences at last year’s CES event. This year, five tech innovations are likely to take center stage:
1. Remote health monitoring
Most remote health monitoring devices to date have used biometric sensors to read vital signs, such as heart rate monitors. But thanks to advances in computer vision, relatively inexpensive devices are now able to gauge health from afar. Earlier this year, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s IBM Watson AI Lab configured computer vision models to run on low-power devices.
Thanks in part to that research, the health monitors shown at CES 2020 will be smarter, smaller and wearable-free. For example, Cocoon Health will show its newest smart baby monitor, which uses computer vision and AI technology to track breathing rate, movement and sound. Parents can receive alerts when their baby falls asleep or wakes up and track sleep data over time via the connected app.
Related: See all of the latest CES news here
Applications of low-power computer vision go far beyond the baby monitoring space. Entrepreneurs will develop it for hospitals for monitoring patients overnight, retailers for preventing theft and home security systems for recognizing faces.
2. Wearable AR
Another place low-power computer vision will be used is in the augmented reality market. Early AR technologies were smartphone- and tablet-based applications. Entrepreneurs are now building AR into next-generation wearable devices.
Named a “best of” innovation in CES 2020’s headphones and personal audio category, Human Capable’s Norm Glasses were recently shown at CES Unveiled New York. Despite containing an Android-based computer, Norm Glasses feel and look like normal frames.
When voice-activated, Norm Glasses generate a heads-up display through which users can listen to music, send texts, make phone calls and more. The glasses include dual speakers and are lighter than many eyeglasses that contain no electronics.
3. IoT Kitchen Appliances
Last year, the Impossible Burger 2.0 stole the show, leading tech publisher Digital Trends to name it the “top tech of CES 2019.” Rather than engineered foods, this year’s top contenders will be the appliances used to store, prepare and cook them.
Although smart appliances have been featured at prior CES events, this year’s entrants do more than recognize foods in the fridge. Scheduled for a February 2020 release, PantryOn’s IoT appliance not only monitors stored groceries but also automatically develops shopping lists, surfs the internet to find the best price and suggests alternative ingredients.
In the future, smart appliances are likely to bleed into the health services space. Consumers will expect their smart fridges and pantries to plan meals, balance macronutrients and point out dietary deficiencies.
4. Personal translators
Once The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy put the idea of a Babel Fish in consumers’ minds, personal translators were sure to happen. But only recently have mobile translators become viable for real-world use.
Langogo’s translator, due to be shown at CES 2020, improves on translators shown in prior years in two important ways. First, it’s fast: Within a second, Langogo’s device can translate speech from more than 100 languages. Second, it has an embedded eSIM, meaning it doesn’t rely on a smartphone that may or may not have service in a foreign country. Langogo’s device also serves as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices at once.
Although translators still struggle with idioms and slang, they’ll improve rapidly. The more training examples that translation algorithms parse -- and pocket translators mean they’re about to gain a lot more -- the more accurate they become.
5. Autonomous farming
With the world population growing and arable land shrinking, investors are betting heavily on indoor farming. Earlier this year, Korean IoT startup N.Thing raised $2.2 million in Series A funding to build out Planty Cube, an indoor modular farming solution.
Back in 2015, N.Thing released Planty smart pot, which monitors the potted plant’s light, temperature and humidity levels. N.Thing’s Planty Cube is significantly more ambitious: The autonomous farming system will use an insulated, modular environment to grow greens in dry environments. Planty Cube is currently being tested in the United Arab Emirates.
AgTech entrepreneurs will develop similar solutions for other environments and crops. Tropical fruits may eventually be grown in Arctic environments. Stackable indoor solutions will be particularly popular in cities, where real estate is at a premium.Cream-of-the-crop entrepreneurs are always watching the tech space. Make the time to attend CES 2020, and you’ll get a glimpse of the leaps forward that today’s consumers are most excited about.