CES 2017 marked the 50th occasion of the event, which has grown to become one of the largest tradeshows in the world, and which now more than ever showcases the demand from consumers and suppliers for digital products, systems and processes to be connected. Twenty years ago, perhaps we could have predicted that the latest and greatest TV sets and products for the home featured at this event would feature network connectivity, that Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence would become increasingly viable technology platforms, and that electronic commerce would be commonplace. But who could have foreseen that 5G, V2V, IoT, and OTT would be the dominating trends?
Below, we share a few highlights from the show that underscore the extent to which global telecom technology has become an integral component of the products and services on display at CES, and presents itself as one of the most dynamic, and popular, sources of discussion and exploration in the conferences and keynotes.
As the event kicked off, the "Stoked About 5G" SuperSession brought together executives from 20th Century Fox Film, BMW Group, Ericsson and SK Telecom, who discussed the possibilities for innovation using the new 5G network - a network that reacts faster than the human brain. Then, during Friday morning's keynote, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf introduced the 5G future, a new kind of network with unprecedented scale, speed and complexity. "5G will be the tipping point that builds on LTE and finally enables IoT," said Mollenkopf. During the keynote, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 835, the first 10 nanometer mobile processor that can deliver extended battery life, built-in security, eye-based authentication, secure audio, on-device machine learning and immersive experiences.
Policy, not typically considered a "sexy" topic, was one of the most popular tracks at this year’s show, particularly as it relates to the evolution of connected products and services. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Roundtable Session was moderated by Julie Kearney of CTA with panelists FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Mike O'Rielly and Ajit Pai and FTC Commissioners Maureen Ohlhausen and Terrell McSweeny. FCC Commissioners kicked off the panel with broad agreement on the ongoing broadcast spectrum incentive auction, each commenting they are optimistic the incentive spectrum auction will succeed and make resources more efficient. The FTC Commissioners identified ongoing issues for data privacy and security for consumers with IoT, but stressed that any approach to regulating should be flexible enough to promote innovation.
CTA's Gary Shapiro sat down with Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez to discuss consumer privacy, the Internet of Things, patent trolls and the sharing economy. Ramirez emphasized the need for Congressional action to ensure the functions of internet-enabled devices are transparent. "All of the innovation you see on the CES show floor depends on the use and gathering of data, and that's only going to accelerate, especially in regard to artificial intelligence and machine learning," said Ramirez.
Thursday's C Space Storyteller sessions kicked off with Margo Georgiadis, president, Americas at Google, moderating a panel with leaders from Universal Pictures and AT&T. The executives took a deep dive into how each brand leverages mobile to grow stronger and drive business results. They also touched on how to win the war for attention with so much content competition, with the consensus being to hook and hold audiences with compelling content.
Next, executives from Hulu and Live Nation took the C Space stage to discuss how they are redefining the concert experience through a new frontier: Virtual Reality. Kevin Chernett, executive vice president, global partnerships and content distribution at Live Nation Entertainment and Noah Heller, vice president, emerging technology at Hulu addressed the new frontier of leveraging virtual entertainment to give fans unprecedented access into the worlds of top artists both on and off stage.
Rounding out the Storyteller sessions, President of Verizon Digital Media Services Ralf Jacob talked with leading content creators about how OTT strategies and technologies have enabled them to engage audiences and further drive opportunities. The goal isn't to get the most clicks, but to keep their audiences coming back, increasing page time and sharing information with the brand. Engaging new users presents a gamble because marketers are forced to use new strategies with little data.
Top industry executives and influencers joined global government officials at the annual Leaders in Technology Dinner on Friday evening. Ford President and CEO Mark Fields shared the company's vision for how the future of mobility will be transformed by connectivity. "Imagine what could happen when the way you get around looks completely different. Cities will change. The way we work and play and socialize will transform. And it will all be enabled by connectivity," said Fields. He announced that Ford Sync is expanding to deliver cloud-based services and that soon all Ford vehicles will be controlled remotely with the FordPass app. He also recapped Ford's recent partnership with Toyota to form the SmartDeviceLink Consortium to establish industry-driven standards for in-vehicle apps.