Topics:   Corporate Governance,Risk Management,Technology,The Digital Director

Topics:   Corporate Governance,Risk Management,Technology,The Digital Director

January 7, 2019

CES Experience 2019: Behind the Magic

January 7, 2019

Can you imagine being one of the first people to see a lightbulb illuminated by electricity? Do you remember witnessing the Apollo 11 moon landing mission and being dumbfounded by what it took to get there? What about the first time you held a smart phone—which has the same power as the computers that took us to the moon—in the palm of your hand? These and other innovations have empowered and disrupted business and society, and the same can be said for some of the technologies revealed at the Consumer Technology Association’s CES, which opened yesterday in Las Vegas.

In fact, many technology companies facing the specter of increased regulation, and growing skepticism about data security after a slew of hacks and other incidents this year, may be banking anew on their ability to iterate and wow consumers with simpler, smarter, or faster features.

NACD and Grant Thornton are hosting the second CES Experience, a director-centric exploration of the six-day trade show revealing the implications from new technologies likely to impact corporate strategy and risk oversight for years to come.

Directors from industries ranging from banking to manufacturing convene today, January 7, through January 9, to tour a fraction of the 2.7 million net square feet of show floor and hear from some of the keenest minds in corporate technology transformation and innovation. NACD reporters and other experts on the ground will bring directors into the CES experience through coverage here on NACD BoardTalk, video interviews, social media channels, and in Director’s Daily—and all to help your board make sense of the changes to disruptive technologies that will come in 2019.

Directors can expect coverage of the following emerging technologies: artificial intelligence (AI), 5G mobile technology, health care devices, and resilience technologies. You’ll also be treated to commentary and analysis by Shelly Palmer from The Palmer Group, who will lead CES Experience attendees through a curated show floor tour on Tuesday.

“When you come to CES in person you are given a crystal ball that is super accurate 12 to 18 months of the future and relatively accurate 36 months into the future,” Palmer told attendees at last year’s event. “When you want to have your thinking informed, this is one of the best place that you can do that.”

In the meantime, here is a summary of some themes NACD attendees can anticipate.

  • The presence of big players will again be felt in connected devices everywhere. Many  players are vying for dominance in the race for producing the in-home digital assistant of choice. Amazon and Google will both highlight their digital assistant products at booths on the showroom floor this year, with Google committing to increase its presence this year after making its CES debut last year. However, directors should heed the ubiquity of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant incorporated into sundry devices being showcased by others throughout the show. As technology companies evolve past their initial strategies and seek to be known as developers of AI platforms, the FAANGs are expected to let some of their power shine through others. The breadth of companies using their platforms as entry points into the magic of voice recognition and the automated home will do the talking for Amazon and Google.
  • While 5G and resilience technologies will be mentioned often, 2019 is expected to be another year of exploring the promise of what’s to come. The United States in 2019 will see the launch of its first 5G networks, while other nations race to scale up their own 5G infrastructure. Much as with the rapid adoption of devices such as Alexa, companies are likely to display next-generation devices to prepare for the speed that 5G is likely to bring to the Internet of Things—that is, once 5G has reached the capacity to power all of those connected gizmos. Of course, with greater connectivity comes greater potential surface for hacking. CES Experience attendees will see a curated selection of booths and exhibits of products developed to protect Internet infrastructure, among other critical resources and infrastructure, from major disasters, breaches, and other risks.
  • Expect to see 20 percent fewer Chinese exhibitors compared to 2018’s event. Chinese technology companies have significantly scaled back their presence at the trade show in light of geopolitical and trade tensions, the New York Times reports. Huawei CEO Richard Yu last year introduced a handset at a CES press conference—the same phone that AT&T at the last minute decided not to sell, likely at the behest of national security advisors who were concerned the devices would allow Huawei to commit espionage.
  • And expect even more wearable health technology exhibitors. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, 511 companies registered for the healthcare tech hall, which is up from 472 last year. For medical companies looking to develop devices that have a shot at approval by the Federal Drug Administration, the wearables will display advances in sensor technology and how the collection of personal medical data will reshape the industry in the years ahead.

Hungry for more? Check back each morning for fresh takes on the biggest ideas at CES.