Consumer Electronics Show 2020

Paula LaBrot

CES 2020, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is the Super Bowl convention of consumer electronics and technologies, where exhibitors from the biggest named companies to garage geniuses converge to unveil their latest, greatest innovations. 

More than 4500 exhibitors and 165,000 attendees were introduced to the newest consumer electronic equipment to date. Steve Konig, Vice President of Research at CTA (Consumer Technology Association), gave an overview of the trends for the new decade ahead.

Overarching all the trends will be 5G connectivity. 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology—the fastest, most robust network technology. Konig predicts it will overlay the entire world economy through the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Intelligence (IoI—Artificial Intelligence). Increasing demand for connectivity is driving its development. 5G will be essential in ensuring that we will be able to continue to communicate in the future when billions of devices will be permanently connected.  It is 20 times faster than 4G, it can move more data more quickly with less latency (delay). 

Here are the major tech themes Konig and his colleagues at CTA lay out for the new decade.


Agriculture is a huge area of electronic development, all of which will lead to digital tools solving the problem of food scarcity in the world. “Precision Agriculture” will be a connected enterprise that uses squadrons of drones and sensors in the soil to determine exactly where water and fertilizer are needed. John Deere has self-driving farm vehicles at work. Weather stations connected to the cloud provide accurate environmental conditions. Intelligent silos with predictive analytics can keep track of how much grain the farmer will have by the end of the week, allowing the farmer to know when to commit to wheat future prices. The 5G farm of the future will be connected to the Cloud, to satellites, to resources and analytic data which will make farming more precise and predictable. 


According to Konig, digital health becomes a lifestyle. Sleep, fitness and health technologies like mobile EKG apps for your phone are creating whole new approaches to medical diagnoses and treatments. In Telemedicine the trend forward will move away from symptom-based diagnosis to evidence-based analyses. Live vital signs and live video transmissions make a bedside consult possible. Augmented MDs, human and artificial intelligence partnerships, diagnose and treat patients and remotely follow up after treatment.  

Some interesting tools available included Withings’ ScanWatch, which not only tracks heart rate, it can alert the patient to sleep apnea problems, a huge health hazard people are usually unaware of. Lexilife is a special LED lamp that can vastly improve reading abilities in dyslectics. Aktiia has a cuffless blood pressure monitor you can wear on your wrist. The trend is to give the consumer all kinds of tools to empower them to take control of their own health. 

New innovations in Health included the Laddroller, a powered wheelchair that converts to an exoskeleton, allowing its user to stand up. US-based robotics company BrainRobotics showed off its prosthetic hand that detects electromyography (EMG) signals in the brain and uses machine learning to turn them into instructions so users can mind-control their prostheses. 


Electrification is the trend for the new decade. Batteries are lighter, cheaper and hold more charge, which increases the range of the vehicle. There are more and more charging stations. Cites are becoming more densely populated so there will be a growth in companies that provide a fleet of driverless cars to transport people, but the first and last mile need attention. Getting off public transportation on Topanga Canyon Blvd. still leaves most of us a long climb from home. Enter the Elio…an ultra-high mileage (84 mpg), low-cost, three wheeled commuter car for those of us who do not want to ride scooters. Then there are the flying cars—the Uber Elevate and the Bell Nexus—that take off and land vertically. One vehicle, the Chinese Segway S-Pod self-balancing wheelchair did not fare well at CES. It can go up to 24 mph. Unfortunately, a journalist testing it crashed into a wall. Oops. It’s a good metaphor though. 


Two types of robots are emerging; task-based and social. Among the task-based robots were the Breadbot, which bakes bread for you and the Foldimate that folds your laundry for you. A Seattle based company called Picnic have a Pizza Assembly robot that makes 300 personalized pizzas an hour. NASA’s Astrobee robot roams the International Space Station to detect sounds that could indicate technical faults. Social robots like Pria dispense meds and Tombot is an adorable dog for seniors with Alzheimer’s to cuddle. 


Video gaming has become a billion-dollar industry. E-sports—competitive, Cloud-based gaming—awarded half-a-billion dollars in prize money last year. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are making the Star Trek Holideck a more real possibility all the time. Hypervsn has a 3D holographic digital technology that brings your images to life and so has Tetrus, a holographic game. Insta 360 Titan is a virtual reality camera that can shoot immersive content at 11K and four 8K sensors that create a seamless image. 


The big trend ahead is Video Streaming. You may have Netflix or Hulu. Now the big major studios like Disney and companies like AppleTV are jumping on the technology to bring their content to users. Why? Home screens are getting progressively bigger. Last year 50-inch TVs were the average LED purchase. 70-inch screens are here. That is why 8K TV is developing. Such large screens require high resolution technology. And…consumers are spending 17 billion on streaming services. It’s the new market. 

Video Streaming is also great for business video conferencing. In the global world we live in, bringing people together on the large, high resolution screens makes meetings more intimate and “real.” 


CES2020 was its usual cornucopia of mind-boggling, creative innovation. Of course, along with the 10-second toothbrush and foldable laptops, you have the usual sex robots…even a “Build Your Own Vibrator” kit….OMG. It is truly an eclectic, electric world. I want a solar roof more than ever. The demands for power are going to be humongous. 

I just want to hug my dogs…my real dogs. It’s a new decade, my friends! Vamos a Ver!



Paula LaBrot

Paula LaBrot is a 30-year resident of Topanga, a futurist with a special interest in the uncharted waters of cyberspace.

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