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January 13 2020 | Mark Breading

2020 CES2After walking a great part of the 2.9 million square feet of floor space, visiting hundreds of booths, and reading countless articles, I’ve come up with a list of my personal favorites from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. For more implications specific to P&C insurance, check out my recent blog, CES2020: Big Themes That Are Relevant for Insurance. In the meantime, and in no particular order, here are my faves. Some of these may never see the light of day. Others may go on to become big hits. But I’ve chosen these as favorites for their innovation and tech advancement. 

  • NEON Avatars: These AI-generated, full-body avatars are virtually indistinguishable from live humans. They are able to interact and display appropriate emotions and movement. Of course, the CES versions were only prototypes, and there are none in real-world use yet, but the potential is not difficult to grasp. There are anticipated uses of avatars in physical settings as bank tellers and airline representatives, along with online use cases for customer service.
  • Segway S-Pod: This is a self-balancing transportation device where the passenger sits in a chair. The device can go up to 24 miles an hour and will be ideal for individuals with limited mobility, especially in restricted domains.
  • Norm Glasses: These are augmented reality glasses that are stylish and look like normal glasses, which may overcome some of the issues with early augmented reality glasses. They have a heads-up display and can be operated via voice commands.
  • Samsung Sero: This is a great example of simple innovation – a TV that automatically flips its orientation to align with your smartphone. Content can be scrolled in vertical mode or viewed in horizontal mode. Content on the smartphone screen will be mirrored on the TV.
  • Medwand: The Star Trek Tricorder is finally here! Medwand Solutions has built a small device that attaches to the body and enables medical professionals to remotely monitor many different vital signs. It can also be used to diagnose many medical conditions. This device could be very useful for the elderly and individuals with chronic diseases.
  • Byton M-Byte: This new car company made its debut at CES two years ago, and I have been fascinated by its evolution since. Production vehicles are now rolling off the line in China, and availability in the US market is planned by the end of 2020. They could become a formidable competitor to Tesla over time since they are EV and autonomous. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the vehicle is it’s human-centric design, with a variety of ways to interact via voice, gestures, and the 48” curved screen across the width of the dashboard. 
  • Winston Privacy: This hardware filter sits between the modem and router in a home to protect privacy and filter out unwanted ads. There are many options for digital data privacy in the home, but this one is interesting and stands out for its simplicity.
  • Hydraloop: This refrigerator-sized box purifies and recycles wastewater in the home, re-routing it for use in toilets, gardening, or washing. The claim is that it dramatically reduces the water bill while promoting sustainability.

These are eight that are innovative and, in my estimation, likely to find their way into the market. Others are worth mentioning, some because of their practicality and others just for their quirkiness or the fun factor. Delta announced that they are working with Misapplied Sciences on “parallel reality” signage. Each person viewing a digital billboard will see a customized message, even if 1,000 people are viewing it at the same time. Hyundai and Uber are working on a drone helicopter, with the target of having flying taxis in the air by 2023. Hobot introduced a smart window cleaner, which seems like it would have immediate use cases, especially in commercial settings. The Teslasuit is a full-body suit with gloves for virtual reality applications. I spoke with Teslasuit, and their target is commercial applications, not so much for gaming. SpotOn introduced a smart, virtual fence for pets. And then we have the Charmin Rollbot, which, you guessed it, brings you a roll of toilet paper in your time of need.

There are countless others, of course, including every type of robot imaginable, smart appliances and devices for every room and commercial situation, and products for virtually every aspect of life. CES is always interesting, and it is the place to see the art of the possible. Many of the products probably won’t make it into real-world usage. But many of them will. And those will become important contributors to the digital transformation of our world.