Upcoming 2019 Trade Show Season in the USA


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It's December, and we are about to start the trade show season. We start with CES (previously known as the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a few weeks (Figure 1). Following CES, there will be the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show in Anaheim, California; the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, which will be more electronics than tires; then IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego, California; MD&M (Medical Design & Manufacturing) in Anaheim; and that only takes us about six weeks into the new year. Spring brings E3 (The Electronic Entertainment Expo) in Los Angeles, California, and then AWE (Augmented World Expo) in the San Francisco Bay Area.

CES_Logo.jpg

Figure 1: CES logo.

There will also be other events that we may or may not cover since some are within a few hundred miles of each other. I hope to cover most of them, but for now, we will focus on CES—the first, largest, and most influential and predictive of global electronics trends of this group of trade shows. So, let’s get started with a look back at my predictions made a year ago, and a preview of what we might see at CES 2019 along with some new projections.

Predictions: Past and Future

1. Upcoming TV and display technology will obsolete the best displays of 2016, so wait a few months before buying a new TV or monitor.

This has absolutely come true. We how have large HDR 4K 144-Hz TVs at half the price of the then state of the art—but which are now low-end—1080P units from just a few years ago. When you add in all the new smart TV capabilities, the advice to wait before buying seems like it was solid.

As a prediction for 2019, 4K is becoming more mainstream, so there will be more 4K content available. I expect higher quality with more OLED HDR screens in larger formats, but I do not see a big move to even higher resolutions such as 5–8K. If you are in the market for a new TV, there’s no need to wait because nothing revolutionary is coming unless you want more smart features such as voice command built in. Are you really interested in a transparent TV? There may be an attempt by the major brands to start this new trend, but remember how just a few years ago, 3D TV was going to take over everything.

2. You will have a new friend at home in the form of a robot within the next few years.

DanF-Robot-from-2016.jpgFigure 2: Robot from CES 2016.

This has started to come true. Robot vacuums have been available for years, but now they are getting an infusion of AI, and the new ones even empty themselves (Figure 2). Of course, there are many toy-like robots, but if you are serious, the International Research Robot is a two-foot tall humanoid that responds to over 500 voice commands. It is used for research and in the education arena. It is extremely articulate, and its limbs are so precise that the robot can pick up and hold objects with its hands and walk across multiple floor surfaces. What a deal for only $9,000. Then, there is the celebrity robot avatar, which is the adult-sized robotic avatar that has appeared in movies and television programs (Figure 3). This unit is very capable, and seems to become a friend and get to know you; it only costs $345,000. Stay tuned regarding robotics; advances are coming at light speed.

Fig3CelRobotAvatar.jpgMy prediction for 2019 is robots will be used both as manufacturing automation, and will become part of everyday life with very human-looking units available for specific purposes already available. Add in machine learning and AI, and I expect to see some amazing prototypes not only regarding how they look but also seeing what they can do at this year’s show.

3. All vestiges of privacy—even in your home—may soon go away, but the biggest surprise is that many people realize this and do not care.

Again, this has now been proven true, but far more intrusion is still possible. Intelligent assistants such as Alexa, Google, and Cortana will play an increasing role in our lives and a large role in reducing our privacy. This coming true is no surprise. Smart home devices and social media platforms have been shown to spy on you, and bring the “Big Brother” culture into the mainstream. Just think what is possibly happening if you get a new TV with voice command or devices used for video calls, and you start getting targeted advertising specifically on products you were discussing privately at home. When that happens, consider other topics discussed or activities both visual and sound in your home that just may be in some database.

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