Many people dread getting back into their typical work routine after enjoying a fun-filled holiday season – who wants to trade in New Year’s Eve champagne toasts for a lukewarm cup of coffee and a 7 AM commute?
Fortunately, for those in the technology world, the first few weeks of January also come with something that makes New Year’s resolutions and back-to-back annual planning meetings seem entirely worth it. I’m talking about CES (aka the Consumer Electronics Show, aka the technology industry’s Super Bowl), the biggest and busiest technology tradeshow of the year, where Fortune 500 companies and innovative startups come together to showcase the latest gadgets and gizmos.
Although most of the products, devices, and apps promoted during CES are primarily consumer-focused, it’s not uncommon to find technology that can be applied to support business and enterprise environments. In fact, if you scratch deeper than the surface of smart toilets and the latest tech-enabled wine openers, you can even find technology solutions that are sure to inspire enterprise mobility for years to come.
Below are the top three tech developments in mobility to come out of CES 2018 that I’m geeking out over:
Visual Virtual Assistants
Smart home technology was all the rage at CES 2017, driven of course by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and companies’ standalone speaker devices, the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, respectively. In 2018, this technology went a step further with all-in-one smart home devices that combine the audio benefits of each of these award-winning speakers with visual displays, creating a new device category altogether, the smart display.
Initially, Amazon had an edge over the competition with its Echo Show smart display, which launched just a few months before the 2017 holiday season. But at CES this year, Google’s announcement about competing devices designed by some of the industry’s top consumer tech manufacturers like Lenovo and JBL stole Amazon’s spotlight.
After testing out the new smart displays firsthand, Engadget’s Nicole Lee even claimed that “the smart display will slowly start to outnumber smart speakers and will likely be the norm going forward,” citing the numerous situations where it would be beneficial to reference information visually, such as when asking Alexa for a recipe or inquiring about how far away the closest coffee shop is.
Q: “Alexa, Do I really need this in the office?” A: Yes!
Imagine you’re sitting around a conference table with your team brainstorming for your client’s upcoming tradeshow activation when all of a sudden you come up with the idea to do a technology scavenger hunt throughout the show floor. Instead of breaking your concentration by going to your computer to find the floor plan of the show and sharing it with every member of your team, you could simply say “Hey Alexa, show me the floorplan of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona,” and then continue determining the logistics for the event.
Completely Disconnected Wireless Charging
As an iPhone user, I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when I heard Apple was finally coming out with wireless charging capabilities for its iPhone X model. However, as many steadfast Android smartphone users will tell you, wireless charging isn’t technically new technology at CES. Smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and LG have been offering Qi wireless charging technology for many years. Nonetheless, now that Apple is offering wireless charging, accessory manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon more than ever before, offering sleek, colorful designs and embeddable technology that can be incorporated into furniture and vehicles.
However, there are major drawbacks of Qi wireless charging, as Chaim Gartenberg from The Verge explains, “sure, Qi charging does charge your phone without plugging it in, but you still need to place it on a specific pad every time, in a way that’s not really that much more convenient than a wired connection.”
This year at CES, we were introduced to the first iterations of truly wireless charging from companies like Energous, which has developed WattUp, wire-free charging technology that utilizes radio frequency to deliver power via radio bands, similar to a Wi-Fi router.
Wireless Office? Yes, please!
How great would it be to walk into an office or a tradeshow and not have to worry about your smartphone battery life? We’re still quite a few years away from this dream becoming a reality, but it’s exciting to know that it’s on the horizon.
Protecting Smart Devices Against Cyber Threats
The number of smart products introduced on the CES floor has increased astronomically over the past few years, and this year proved to be no different. Although these internet-connected devices are designed to make processes easier by streamlining tasks or to even add additional entertainment elements, they also, unfortunately, create more opportunities for cyber criminals to gain access to personal information and networks. Geoffrey A. Fowler shared a prime example of this in a CES recap article for The Washington Post, reminding readers that “the past few years have brought nightmare after nightmare about hacked gadgets, such as toys that spy and baby cams broadcasting on the web unbeknown to parents.”
To mitigate cyber threats to smart devices in the home, BullGuard recently introduced its smart home cybersecurity product, Dojo, which it exhibited at CES. Dojo by BullGuard acts as an all-inclusive antivirus for connected smart home devices, keeping the data and privacy protected, while also ensuring the owners of these products are aware of incoming malware, viruses, and cyber attacks. As Fowler puts it, Dojo does this by looking for “unusual patterns in traffic on your home network — say, a thermostat that suddenly starts streaming video to Russia.”
Smart homes AND smart offices benefit from cyber security tech
Smart home devices have gradually made their way into tons of offices across the globe, including ARPR, where we use Nest cameras for video security and AppleTV for news streaming services. Because smart devices are connected to company networks, businesses would also stand to benefit from Dojo’s technology.
CES 2018 may have just wrapped, but I for one am already excited for CES 2019, and to see what kinds of consumer and business-oriented technology will be unveiled next. Starting to lay the groundwork to launch your latest device, app or service at CES 2019? Check out how we cut through the clutter to make news for our clients in our recent case studies.