Jan 4th 2018

Viva Las CES: 2018 Show preview

Around this time last year I wrote a blog looking back at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This year, to take my mind off the first week back at work in cold, stormy London, I’m looking ahead to the rumoured happenings in the scorching Nevada desert.

CES opens next Tuesday, and will set the tone for happenings and discussions at MWC in February. Whilst the Babel team is sadly not heading to the States, we will be present in Barcelona, so will be keeping a close eye on CES news as it unfolds next week.

Samsung will likely use CES as a springboard into MWC, showcasing its latest Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8 Plus smartphones, before their official launch UK launch, reported to take place in April. The company could also be demoing its latest wearables, a TV featuring MicroLED technology, as well as the results of its shift into new industries: expect smart glasses and medical devices.

Developments in health tech will also be a theme at MWC this year, with the emergence of the IoT enabling connected health devices, remote monitoring and greater efficiencies in healthcare.

Google will be flexing its muscle at CES, with eight hospitality suites and a large booth, marking its first official presence at the show in some years. Google’s Home technologies will be in the spotlight, as the company continues to dominate the smart speaker market, alongside Amazon.

A quick check of the MWC website shows that Google will also be present in Barcelona, with four booths likely showing very similar wares as in Vegas. Google for Entrepreneurs has also marked its territory in the Fira, using Mobile World Congress to promote this arm of its business. Google for Entrepreneurs partners with start-up communities and builds ‘campuses’ where entrepreneurs can learn and connect with others.

Where there’s a technology show, there will also undoubtedly be robots. This year, CES is dedicating an entire ‘marketplace’ to intelligent, autonomous machines. The show is rumoured to stage Sony’s revival of Aibo, an AI dog embedded with cameras and sensors which enable it to ‘learn’ and react to its environment.

It may not have robot dogs, but it’s certainly had humanoid bots: I met Softbank’s Pepper at MWC 2017, and this year we can expect further advancements in this area. ‘Introducing the Augmented Human’, a conference taking place on Wednesday of the show this year, will be one to keep an eye on. Discussing wearables, implants, haptic tech development and brain-controlled interfaces, the session promises to map the human of the future.

Finally, CES will fire the starting gun on 2018’s connected automotive race. The show’s opening keynote will be delivered by Jim Hackett, CEO and president of Ford, who will discuss the role of smart cars in the smart cities of the future. Ford is just one of almost 300 vehicle technology exhibitors at the event, so what can we expect?

Mercedes-Benz will reveal its infotainment system, MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), and use Vegas as the finish point of its Intelligent World Drive, which has seen the company test automated driving functions across five continents.

Ride-hailing app Lyft, meanwhile, is partnering with self-driving tech company Aptiv to offer brave attendees trips in its taxis during the show. Fortunately, there will still be a back-up human in the driver’s seat, ready to take the reins from the robot if necessary.

There were four car manufacturers at MWC last year and, considering the crucial role 5G mobile networks will play in the development of smart cars, we’ll likely see even more this year.

Until then, we’ll be busy prepping and planing for Barcelona, whilst dreaming of Vegas’ sunny skies.


Holly Ashford
Holly Ashford SENIOR CONTENT MANAGER