Every year, there are hundreds of tech conferences to attend in cities all over the world. But none are as big—or as comprehensive or impressive or completely chaotic—as the Consumer Electronics Show, better known as CES.

Last week, nearly 200,000 people descended upon Las Vegas for CES 2019, the tech industry’s biggest event of the year. There were thousands of companies on the exhibition floor and over a thousand speakers present. This show represents the very pulse of what’s trending in tech.

And this year, voice technology and automation through both AI/ML and image recognition reigned supreme. From automotive to wearables, voice-enabled and AI-based technologies are leaving the R&D/emerging phase in the technology lifecycle and entering into general adoption.

The view from the CES floor

Marlon MontgomeryGlobant Senior Solutions Architect and Product Leadspent hours exploring the new products on the show floor. There he met with an inundation of voice-enabled and AI-powered devices.

“One hot topic of conversation [on the show floor] was that, with the flood of voice-enabled devices, the industry still needs to do work in regards to the best application of the technology. There were a lot of products,” he continues, “that implemented the tech for technology’s sake without considering true benefits or value.”

One such product? A voice-enabled toothbrush.

So what does this say about where the trajectory of the industry? What can we, as both providers and consumers, expect?

“I believe this will truly be the year of mass adoption by consumers for voice and smart home devices in general.” Montgomery continues: “I think we will continue to see heavy investment in the automotive industry [especially, not just in] autonomous vehicles, but further leveraging technology to [create] ‘smart cars.’ I think we will see a major shift in what we see as an automobile in the next 5 years.”

Looking beyond the trends

But the show isn’t just a crystal ball that predicts upcoming trends. It also offers surprisingly erudite commentary about the human beings behind the technology.

“There is definitely a drive to be ‘connected’ wherever and whenever, and to optimize and make our lives more efficient,” Montgomery explains. “There is also a drive for a [better, cleaner] world.”

That is perhaps one of most important insights to emerge from the show: companies and consumers are moving away from gimmicky technology whose sole purpose is to wow and delight, and are demonstrating instead stronger preferences for technology that truly adds value to and improves their lives.

One constant at CES every year is that our ability to develop incredible devices keeps pace with our noble ambitions. It is this marriage of talent, expertise, and aspiration that will drive progress—and this fascinating show—for years to come.

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