The future of innovation debuted yesterday on opening day of CES® 2018 featuring technologies from more than 3,900 companies, including some 900 startups, that will change the lives of citizens around the world. Global brands took to the CES stage to make major company announcements, with keynotes from the leaders of Ford and Huawei, as well as C Space Storyteller sessions featuring executives from Facebook, IBM and TBWA Worldwide. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, CES 2018 runs through Friday, January 12, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
CES 2018 kicked off Tuesday morning with CTA’s State of the Industry keynote where Gary Shapiro, CTA president and CEO and Karen Chupka, senior vice president of CES and corporate business strategy shared the stage. Chupka addressed the global impact of CES, “[It] touches every sector of the global economy – from healthcare and education to manufacturing and smart cities,” said Chupka. She also highlighted new and growing areas of CES 2018 such as: The CES Sports Zone, Design and Source, Artificial Intelligence, high tech retailing, Eureka Park and the growing automotive footprint.
Shapiro followed, addressing the increasing importance of tech. “The technologies on display across the CES show floor this week are solving big, global challenges. Technology connects us with each other. It makes us more engaged as citizens. It makes us healthier and it saves lives.” He noted that technology raises everyone up across social and economic divides and highlighted CTA’s forecast that the U.S. consumer tech industry will grow almost 4 percent this year to a record-breaking $351 billion in retail revenues. Shapiro closed by announcing CTA’s first-ever International Scorecard, ranking the best countries for innovation, congratulating 13 Innovation Champions for creating an environment that allows innovation to thrive.
Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett then took the stage for the opening keynote to share his bold outlook for Ford. Hackett idealized “the living street” and touted a human-centered course forward when it comes to smartening our cities. “It’s not about cities getting smarter, it’s about humans having a better day,” he said. Hackett’s vision focuses efforts on creating a reliable future of transportation through a systems-based approach for the people of rising smart cities. Hackett was joined on stage by top influencers in transportation and other Ford executives, including Marcy Klevorn, president of mobility, to highlight the company’s road to the future. Ford also introduced its new Transformation Mobility Cloud, an open platform, is designed to simplify the flow of data in support of transportation systems from vehicles and bicycles to mass transit.
Huawei took the CES keynote stage Tuesday afternoon to announce the availability of its Mate10 Pro smartphone in the American market next month. Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group outlined the capabilities of the unlocked, $799 flagship phone including an AI-powered Kirin processor; larger battery capacity; dual camera system; high speed and security; fast charge and a 6” full view OLED HDR display. Huawei also announced a Porsche Design version of the Mate10 that will have premium features. “Our newest consumer solution, the HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro, is the smartphone that U.S. consumers need and deserve,” said Yu. Mr. Yu also unveiled the Huawei WiFi Q2 Series, a home wi-fi system, promising a reliable signal throughout your house, and introduced “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot as their first Chief Experience Officer.
SuperSessions and Conferences
Opening day featured dynamic conference programming, including SuperSessions, the C Space Storytellers series, Innovation Policy Summit, Digital Money Forum and the Sports Technology Innovation series.
During the Insights from the FTC SuperSession, CTA’s Shapiro sat down with FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen for a wide-ranging discussion covering everything from open internet, to privacy, data security, botnets and antitrust. Ohlhausen reinforced the FTC’s overarching commitment to “promote competition and protect consumers,” and her personal commitment to practice “regulatory humility.”
Ohlhausen applauded the work of CTA, Congress, President Trump and others enabling over-the-counter hearing aids to be sold at retail. Regarding botnets and data security, Ohlhausen said, “It’s a shared obligation of industry, of law enforcement, of government to take the right steps and put the right frameworks in place to help stop these kinds of problems.”
The Future of News SuperSession, moderated by Brent Weinsten, head of Digital Media, United Talent Agency, covered topics ranging from the presence of bias in media and the “fake news” phenomenon to the role of anonymous sources and where the burden lies for curating consumption. Sara Fischer, media reporter, Axios, explained the innovative approach Axios has implemented in order to combat the dilemma faced by many media organizations – keeping an audience happy without sacrificing hard news. Axios “serves consumers where they want, but not what they want” by bringing their valued, fact-based journalism to new mediums. Panelists ended the session stressing the imperative need for media organizations to adapt to new technologies and new formulas.
“What’s happening here is honestly the most important CE topic we’ve ever brought to CES,” moderator and CNET Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley said as he kicked off the Next Big Thing: The Invisible Doctor SuperSession. The panel examined how the digital health industry will take data from our lives and integrate it into personalized care. From tele-doctors to apps that monitor heartrate, doctor visits and health updates will soon be done from the confines of your living room. Dr. Ian Tong, Chief Medical Officer at Doctor On Demand, emphasized the importance of keeping the doctor-patient relationship, but allowing technology to streamline access to healthcare, which has become an overly complex process.
C Space Storytellers
Tuesday’s C Space Storyteller sessions kicked off with Facebook’s Vice President of Product, Fidji Simo and actress, Kerry Washington, as they took the stage to discuss Facebook’s new platform: Facebook Watch. Launched in September 2017, Facebook Watch allows users to view custom content, live events and more. “Facebook’s goal is to bring content and community together,” said Simo. Washington spoke about her production company’s partnership with Facebook to create Five Points, a scripted drama-series to premiere on the platform. Washington said, “Social media is such a great democratizer because it allows you to cut out the middle man and directly engage with your community.” Facebook also announced its focus on tackling social justice and diversity issues in a meaningful way through original content posted to Facebook Watch.
Disruptive technologies are presenting massive opportunities for advertisers and industry experts to deliver content to consumers and audiences around the globe. During the C Space Storytellers session, TBWA Worldwide CEO Troy Ruhanen sat down with Teresa Herd, vice president and global creative director of Intel, to discuss technology’s impact on B2B messaging and advertising. New technology drives innovative solutions, but also creates fear of the unknown among consumers. To combat this, Intel and TBWA are humanizing technology through humor, empathy and relatability in their advertising content. Intel is building, designing and creating the future, while advertising agencies such as TBWA are turning fear into excitement. Part of building acceptance and excitement around 21st century technology is to create positive stories about the ways tech will impact our lives.
Nicholas Thompson, editor in chief of Wired, joined IBM executives to discuss how AI is shaping businesses and the technology industry at large. IBM is currently using data and AI capabilities to analyze events, predict behavior and program complex machines. For instance, during the 2017 US Open Tennis Championships, IBM launched Watson Media, a program which analyzed players and footage in real time to deliver cognitive highlights post-game. IBM is leveraging advancements in data and AI technology to solve a myriad of problems.
In an age of big data and innovative technologies, marketers can understand the customer experience better than ever before. Moderated by The Economist’s Kenneth Cukier, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) from Deloitte, Turner, MasterCard and Panasonic sat on the C Space Storytellers stage to discuss the role big data plays in marketing. New technologies allow marketers to deliver a better consumer experience, leverage data from campaigns and understand how content is being consumed. The ability to use data for the benefit of the consumer is incredible because it allows marketers to develop relationships with loyal customers. “An overarching theme of this panel involved data, establishing rapport with consumers and gaining brand loyalty.
Tuesday’s session Administration’s Approach to Innovation and Tech Policy was a fireside chat between CTA’s SVP of Government Affairs Michael Petricone and Deputy Assistant to the President Michael Kratsios as they ran down the White House Office of Science and Technology’s ambitious agenda. More specifically, Kratsios touched on how the government can best serve rural Americans with tools to succeed in the 21stCentury – pointing to President Trump’s rural broadband announcement yesterday – and removing regulatory hurdles for emerging technologies. “We need to push government to have more sense of urgency” said Kratsios. The OSTP leader gave nods to the FAA and DOT for delivering on aggressive timelines to allow emerging technologies to succeed.
During the Future of Work for both Humans and Machines, Bridget Karlin, CTO and VP, IBM Global Technology Services noted, “This is about man plus machine. Not man versus machine.” Moderated by CTA’s VP of Government and Political Affairs Tiffany Moore and including Ned Finkle, VP of External Affairs, NVIDIA and Evelyn Remaley, Deputy Associate Administrator, NTIA the session focused on the challenges and opportunities surrounding AI and machine learning. “We’re in a transitional period and the pace of the transition can make people nervous. But good employment can happen if policymakers can lean in,” said Finkle.
During the 2018 Preview: FCC Commissioner Roundtable, moderated by CTA’s VP of Regulatory Affairs Julie Kearney, FCC Commissioners Brendan Carr, Mignon Clyburn, and Mike O’Rielly shared their respective opinions on net neutrality, the future of the Telecom Act, and other regulatory reforms in the coming year. The three represented widely different policy views across the spectrum. Despite the clear and sharp disagreements among the Commissioners, Clyburn noted that at the end of the day “we want to see what’s best for the country, providing the best platform for innovation and tech that is open for business.”
Digital Money Forum
Tuesday’s Digital Money Forum’s panel, A Robot Worth Talking To, featured Sophia, a robot capable of making realistic, human facial expressions, and focused on how AI bots like Sophia can impact digital money. The robot, created by Hanson Robotics, spoke about blockchain technology and how AI can influence the world of cryptocurrency. Afterwards, David Hanson, Sophia’s creator and Hanson Robotics CEO, spoke with MIT Media Lab’s Michael Casey about how Sophia can use state-of-the-art algorithms and machine learning to respond to any question an interviewer may have.
The Leaders in Digital Money panel focused on digital wallets, which are becoming a seamless consumer experience, eliminating the need to carry cash, checks – or even credit cards. Leaders from Payscout, IBM Blockchain Labs and Clinc discussed the future of payments, including the use of virtual reality payments in digital storefronts and conversational AI, which can be used for setting up bank accounts.
Sports Technology Innovation
During the panel Making Better Decisions with Sports Tech, Jessica Gelman, CEO of the Kraft Analytics Group, noted that the sports industry is at the precipice of leveraging technology and data to get better across all aspects of the business – but the industry is still “in the very early days.” To explore the intersection of technology and sports, Sports Innovation Lab CEO and Co-Founder Angela Ruggiero says her team is objectively looking at the market across five key areas: the quantified athlete, smart venues, immersive viewing, sponsorships and e-sports.
Tuesday also featured Exploring Smart Buildings and Connected Infrastructure, which discussed advancements in smart city planning. “Intelligent buildings are here and they are very real,” said Charlie Kindel, Director, Alexa Smart Home, Amazon, summing up the first day of Smart Cities programming at CES 2018. Senior executives from Amazon, Deloitte Consulting, Zigbee Alliance, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, Philips Lighting and Schneider Electric discussed how smart buildings are changing the way we live and what the future holds for sustainability, enhanced experiences and new connections. Smart buildings and smart spaces are now everywhere, allowing for a connected ecosystem with no boundaries.
Day one of CES 2018 concluded with the Women in CT Awards, hosted by CTA. Six recipients were honored for transforming the consumer technology industry through leadership in the retail, sales and marketing, integration, publishing and trade association segments. Honorees included: HP’s Stephanie Dismore, InMotion Entertainment Group’s Eden Goldberg, Milestone AV’s Bonnie Perella and Southtown Audio Video’s Heather Sidorowicz. The Woman to Watch Award recipient was System Contractor News editor Megan Dutta, and the Carol Campbell Inspiration Award honor was given to CTA’s Ellen Savage.