CES 2018: Experts predict a festival of artificial intelligence and smart home products

The first major tech event of the year begins on Tuesday.

Artificial intelligence and smart home assistants are expected to dominate the agenda at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), when it begins on Tuesday.

One of the word’s largest gatherings for the technology industry, the Las Vegas-based convention will see more than 170,000 people attend, looking to see the latest innovations from the likes of Intel, Samsung and Sony.

But smart home speakers and the AI assistants that power them have been predicted to be the most widely discussed technology at the event, according to analysts, with Amazon and Google set to lead the way.

Amazon has already announced new tools that will enable cooking appliances to connect to and be controlled by its virtual assistant Alexa, while dozens of start-ups and other firms are expected to showcase speakers and other devices compatible with Google Assistant, the internet giant’s own AI helper.

(Martyn Landi/PA)
(Martyn Landi/PA)

Industry expert Ben Wood, of analyst firm CCS Insight, said he expected a show awash with smart gadgets.

“We predict that Amazon’s Alexa will be more pervasive than ever, cropping up in numerous device categories, including cars, computers, fridges, lights, radios, TVs and more,” he said.

“Rival voice assistants such Apple’s Siri, Google Home, Microsoft’s Cortana and Samsung’s Bixby will be on show, but will significantly lag behind Amazon’s Alexa, which will be the dominant platform for voice at CES 2018.

“We expect a further deluge of pseudo-artificial intelligence devices at CES 2018, continuing the theme of faintly ridiculous products such as the ‘intelligent’ toothbrush that emerged at last year’s show.

“The term ‘artificial intelligence’ will be more nebulous than ever and its widespread use in efforts to enhance the perceived value of a product is reminiscent of the way the ‘Internet of Things’ moniker has been used to grab attention even if the definition of the category remains opaque.”

Over the course of the four-day show, televisions, home appliances and autonomous car technology are also expected to be prominent trends.

LG has already revealed it will showcase an 88-inch 8K resolution OLED TV at the event, which would be the largest and highest resolution TV screen of its type to date.

Driverless car technology is also predicted to be a major trend during the week, with car giants Nissan and Ford among those due to demonstrate their own takes on the technology.

Car-hailing service Lyft, a major Uber rival in the US, is also offering visitors journeys in semi-autonomous cars during the show.

Start-ups and smaller firms will also use CES as a chance to gain much-needed exposure and investment, with more than 800 small businesses set to exhibit in the Eureka Park area of the convention.

Increased security is also set to be a talking point at the event.

Following the deadly mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in the city in October, CES organisers have also confirmed the introduction of new security measures around the event, with more stringent identification and bag check procedures set to be in place around show venues.

CES organisers have also said visitors will notice a “more highly visible law enforcement presence throughout the show and at all venues”.

The convention’s doors open on January 8.

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