By: Blair Donald and Mary Raftery, Senior Account Executives, PR (Earned), Boston

Analysis from Headquarters

IoT was the subject of the show this year at CES – but not in a way you’d expect. The new interpretation of this phrase turns “Internet of Things” into “Intelligence of Things.” What exactly does that mean? Essentially, a lot of what was developed this year used technology that would do more than make connections between devices. These new technologies were designed to anticipate needs and serve customers in ways they might not even expect.

However, the use of AI, and increasingly smart devices, made questions about data collection and use a hot subject during this year’s show. While it seems like a good thing to be creating devices that learn from behavior and make things increasingly faster and more convenient, there will always be questions. Questions about the ethicality of collecting data and questions about what could happen if AI just gets too smart.

These questions hit every sector, from personal devices to enterprise solutions. There was even discussion during panels about the role that AI is expected to play in the fast food industry, particularly in terms of recent statements from McDonald's indicating plans to embed AI in drive-through to free up employee time and make interactions faster. Order information can be collected and used to create user profiles, recommendations, plans for the future and more.

Sleeptech was huge this year – from sleep training systems to bracelets that use temperature waveforms to reduce stress and improve sleep, there was a clear trend of developing systems to track your habits and create the most comfortable scenarios for you.

And it wasn’t just wearables making waves – one company even displayed a smartphone app that uses the phone’s camera to record video (or even record a TV screen) and generate vital signs from it. Right now the tech is able to detect heart rate, blood oxygen saturation and mental stress, and it is still in early stages.

While tech mammoths like Apple and Facebook were preaching commitment to privacy, skepticism was palpable. There’s nothing new about data collection, but some of the technology we saw this year really emphasize how this kind of data can be made actionable. Health and convenience all stand to benefit, but it remains to be seen how privacy will be made a priority in the years ahead as the intelligence of things is called into question.

CES Las Vegas

Analysis from the show floor

As with everything else in Las Vegas, the tone of the CES show floor was all about flash and excitement. Moving screens and flexible tech were highlighted at every booth from Samsung to LG, with the latter of course featuring an enormous screen, this year’s shaped like a flowing ribbon.

IoT was the clear focus and appeared in nearly every form, from smart home diffusers of all shapes and sizes to coolers that could connect to Bluetooth and the Internet, becoming rolling beer-filled speakers. While some companies focused on wellness initiatives, others clearly came prepared to spend a week in Las Vegas.

Technology also showed up in unexpected places, though maybe not so out of the ordinary at CES. Charmin debuted the Rollbot, a little robot programmed to come to the rescue should you find yourself alone and unprepared. There was also a large display from Impossible Foods, a company that may not first come to mind when you think of technology, but still managed to capture attendee attention by releasing its new Impossible Pork.

From the surprising to the traditional, CES 2020 definitely delivered for attendee expectations. And with hits including CNET, Bloomberg TV, the Washington Post, NBC and practically all the major outlets in attendance, Racepoint certainly delivered for its clients.

See you at CES 2021!

About the Authors

Blair Donald

Blair Donald is a Senior Account Executive, working on accounts including A-LIGN, Panasonic and Huawei. Her primary focus is on media relations for all clients, as well as content development as necessary.

Mary Raftery

Mary Raftery is a Senior Account Executive, where she started fresh off of graduating from Boston University’s College of Communications in January of 2017. In her time, she’s been leading paid and earned social strategy, developing trend/competitive reports and securing media and analyst opportunities for companies like Qlik, Huawei, Current and Panasonic.