When I was a kid in the 80’s I remember watching the Jetsons and it all seemed so far away. I watched the flying cars and talking robots and food that came in pill form and thought it was all pretty funny. Fast forward about 40 years and I attended my first C.E.S. For those who don’t know it is the huge consumer electronics show that happens in Vegas every year. When I say huge that is an understatement. There are 175,000 people and 4,500 distributors in two convention centers. It’s massive.
My relationship with technology is hard to explain, I love cool cameras and new computers, and I’m kinda boring as a 42 year old dad, so it’s easy for me to give up privacy for convenience. I also like to think for myself and I like getting my hands dirty. So some of the new technology, I think is just, well… unnecessary. Here is my takeaway from CES 2020.
Ai Screen Assistants
First we (Kat Emery of Kathryn Emery PR fame) started out in the Eureka Hall. It was full of the newest inventions. We saw everything from smart water sprinklers that are going to save the world, smart shin guards that can make you into the next Messi, and even some smart bedroom toys, (a first for CES), that can make an average guy a true Don Juan.
The Bedroom Gets Smart
We then hit the smart home section, and even though there were no flying cars you could easily see how the Jetsons are soon becoming a reality for everyday people. Plugs that turn on and off by themself when you are not using them, ovens that cook the perfect chicken, showers and door bells and room diffusers and lighting that changes your mood. I could see myself using many of these new inventions. I mean how nice would it be to not yell at your family to turn off the lights while your dinner is cooking perfectly, in a beautifully scented room, while you are taking a shower in the just the right temperature and perfect water pressure. I can appreciate that.
Katryn Emery PR – Smart Home Video
The next day was the main convention center, Video, Audio and Screens…Lots and lots of screens. I was pumped to see the new camera gear and some truly groundbreaking tech. When I walked the main hall it was all about screens. HUGE screens that had 8k resolution. That’s better than most people can see. I wondered how many people have a wall big enough for one of these TV’s. They are cool for movie theaters and sporting events, I guess.
AI and Robots
I walked through the AI (Artificial Intelligence) sections. This is where it gets weird and cool and then just weird again. There are robot arms that cook, refrigerators that are self contained, fake dogs and vacuum cleaners that talk. Some serious Jetson stuff, and I was just thinking… this is way too much. Then I saw the personal stylist, that shows you what you’d look like in certain clothes. That could be useful — no more Amazon guessing. Neon had AI people (on screens) that could answer your questions and pick up on social cues. If you are in the customer service business, think tellers, you better start learning how to do something else. The Robots are coming.
I finally got to the Audio and Camera sections. I first looked at a smartphone made by HUAWEI. It blows the iphone and google pixel out of the water. The camera and audio capabilities are stunning on this phone. I stopped by the Nikon booth and was unimpressed by their products. I’m not a Nikon guy, but they had famous photographers doing presentations. I listened to parts of two presenters. It was interesting to note that even they both said knowing how to use your equipment is better than having the best equipment.
I found Canon and it was pretty cool, to see some of the new lenses, but nothing that was life changing. They announced the 1dx Mark III and it’s an awesome machine, but it’s big, heavy, and expensive. When I’m ready to film my next movie I’ll think about it.
The Canon Booth
Lastly I went to look at the record players and speakers. That’s right, record plays are now tech. The theme was retro looking equipment with 2020 sound quality. It’s like a ’57 chevy with a 2020 Corvette engine. Points for design and irony.
Not So Retro Vinyl
As I was leaving I couldn’t help think about how there are so many new gadgets that are completely the same. A creative story that is well placed makes all the difference for so many of these products. You could see the difference in the marketing. You could tell what was going to do well and what was probably going to go bust. Think about that as a consumer and also a producer. What story do you buy and what story can you sell?