With over 4,000 brands represented, CES is one of the largest annual tech conferences in the world, which means it’s a great indicator of what trends will be the most influential for tech-driven industries like AV.
There were certainly many prominent trends to observe at CES 2018, but only a few emerged by the end of the conference as the most influential. Here are our picks for the top three exciting trends at CES 2018.
1. Integrated/Minimalist Technology
One trend that was discussed often at CES 2018 was integrated or minimalist technology that had the ability to become “invisible” in a user’s home or office environment. Wireless chargers are getting rid of the need for messy, inconvenient tangles of multiple power cords. 4K organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) and MicroLED TVs from LG and Samsung, respectively, are rollable, allowing people to store screens when they’re not in use, which maximizes space.
The tech industry has become much more aware of how crowded people’s lives have become in the digital age. We are bombarded with screens practically everywhere we go, and tech giants are all warring with each other for people’s time and attention. Since tech is simply part of our daily lives, however, there has to be a more convenient and natural way for us to integrate digital devices and software into our environment.
This is why there’s an emphasis on minimalist tech that we can access when we need it, where we need it (portability is critical in rollable TV design), while saving energy at the same time. The future of tech is all about integration.
The competition raging between Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant (with Siri and Cortana struggling to grab some attention as well) showcased how ubiquitous AI and voice recognition are becoming. Many tech news outlets have heralded 2018 as the rise of the smart devices for a good reason. There were many smart devices incorporating AI assistants demoed at CES 2018, including LG TVs, Schlage locks, Bluetooth music and navigation car devices, and smart displays (including futuristic mirrors).
The internet of things, which at one point had been plagued by interconnectivity issues and was too specialized for most consumers, has become much more advanced. More homeowners are going to want smart home AV design, meaning any freelancers who have CEDIA training will become much more in demand in 2018.
Also worthy of note were Sony and Honda’s AI robot assistants, which were designed with the same goals in mind as smart device voice assistants.
3. 360-Degree and Accessible High-Quality Sound
This last trend is not necessarily as all-encompassing as the other two discussed, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t highly influential for both tech and AV. Sennheiser demoed its prototype for a 13-speaker soundbar that has the capability to produce realistic 360-degree sound. This trend towards greater quality and more immersion via sound highlights how far the concept of home theatres has come.
Consumers, especially baby boomers who are choosing to age in place, want the best of the best when it comes to audio systems. Other products demoed at CES 2018 highlighted the fact that everyone else wants high-quality audio as well, such as:
- Wireless high-quality headphones and earbuds from JVC, Audio Technica, House of Marley, and Sol Republic (to name a few)
- Clearaudio’s expensive yet refined vinyl turntable, dubbed the Innovative Turntable, capable of supporting all three standards of vinyl speeds and producing sympathetic resonance (alike to a violin’s resonance)
- Sonarworks’ sound equalizing software being made available for consumers who want the best quality out of their headphones.
Liked our picks for top CES 2018 trends? Pay attention to them throughout the year; they will inform how freelancers can get steady work in the AV industry.