Did you know… there are only six months to go until CES 2018? In anticipation of the annual Las Vegas event, let’s consider what’s next in the world of consumer electronics:

  • AI and Voice-enabled Everything. If you’ve ever had an awkward or frustrating exchange with a virtual personal assistant (VPA)—for example trying to get Siri to understand you or collaborating on scheduling with x.ai—you know that VPAs still have improvements to make. Apple’s Siri and Google are the most popular VPAs on our mobile phones but are limited to functions like sending texts, getting web information and finding directions. According to research firm Gartner, by 2019, 20 percent of mobile phone interactions will rely on VPAs as these systems become able to complete more complex tasks based on past, present and predicted context.
  • Faster Wi-Fi for Smarter Cars and True VR. Virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) have huge potential applications across industries but are limited by network speeds. Ericsson estimates that there will be 18 billion connected devices related to the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2022, including machines, meters, sensors, consumer electronics, wearables and connected cars. Qiu Heng, president of wireless marketing operations for Huawei, predicts 5G will shave latency for driverless cars down to 1 millisecond, the difference between braking in time or crashing into a tree, and pump out enough data to make VR truly immersive. AI will get smarter, too, because 5G will connect more machines to machines, cities to cities, etc.
  • Virtual Reality and the Immersive Experience. Consumers can already buy headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR but, so far, the segment showing the most interest is gamers. In the near term, we’ll see more laptops and monitors featuring higher-resolution screens to accommodate virtual-reality gamers.
  • Wearable Tech and the Connected Kid. The wearable device market grew steadily last year, with fitness bands dominating the market. Wearables will continue to be popular, with kid wearables poised to skyrocket. In addition to tracking kids via GPS, more kids’ wearables are focused on improving health outcomes for children, many of whom have become more sedentary due to, well, consumer electronics.
  • Electronic Payment Platforms. When’s the last time you wrote a check? You may not be using bitcoin as your currency yet but chances are you’re engaging in electronic payments, whether splitting the check at a restaurant via Venmo, sending a payment to your piano teacher via Facebook Messenger or using Apple Pay at the grocery store. Google is hoping to add more mobile wallets to rival PayPal and Apple Pay, having unveiled a new payments tool that lets consumers “Pay with Google” in apps. In addition, financial services companies are getting into the act, such as major banks offering a new Venmo-like feature within their mobile banking apps called Zelle. The good news in all of these developments is that our devices will become smarter, faster, more fun and easier to use. I look forward to seeing you at CES 2018!

The good news in all of these developments is that our devices will become smarter, faster, more fun and easier to use. I look forward to seeing you at CES 2018!

This post was contributed by Jodi Brooks, Chair, U.S. Technology Practice, Burson-Marsteller.