As if 2017 wasn’t the year that confirmed anything could be hooked up to the net, CES – traditionally the season opener for the year in tech – went into IoT overload with a bunch of gadgets that pushed the connected envelope.
The show, which drew 3,900 exhibitors across 2.75 million square feet (that’s a record by the way), could barely have been packed with more exciting consumer products that showed how much smaller our world is getting.
Among them Lenovo wowed with a new Smart Display device, Sony’s new Aibo robotic dog revisited its breakneck nineties heyday, and Israeli firm Lishtot burst into the public eye with its plectrum-shaped water tester.
As expected transport garnered a significant number of headlines. Just about every major automaker signaled its intention to get driverless cars onto the streets as soon as possible (but not yet), while tech companies like Aurora and Voyage impressed with high-tech bells and whistles that will speed up the process.
Nothing at the gargantuan show surprised many, however, and most high-tech solutions, such as Alexa and Cortana, had been widely speculated about before. What may have shocked some insiders – especially those in Silicon Valley – was how strongly Chinese firms performed.
Lenovo was joined by Huawei, whose Mate 10 Pro smartphone won four awards and sounded a major alarm as to the Shenzhen-based company’s ambitions for the American market. Add to that Huawei consumer products CEO Richard Yu’s emotional invective against US carriers, and it’s clear the firm is no longer happy to take a back seat to its competitors in the world’s richest market.
No fewer than a third of all CES exhibitors were from China this year – around the same as in 2017. Baidu, Monster, Alibaba and many others made glitzy attempts to win affection. In most cases, they succeeded.
China is not coming: it’s here. Experts have already warned US firms they must cooperate rather than compete with their emerging counterparts. CES was a huge example of how the tech world’s power balance is shifting from west to east. It is a trend that will accelerate into 2018 and beyond.