One of my post-CES rituals is whittling down all the products and services I saw to figure out who “won” the trade show. I remember falling in love with thin HDTVs in the early 2000’s, fawning over Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players and yearning for every smartphone I saw on the convention center floor. This year I was impressed with camera-filled refrigerators that can recommend recipes and TVs that can be rolled up as flat as yoga mats.
But the darling of this year’s CES was not a gadget but the growing amount of artificial intelligence software helping these products run. The proliferation of companies showing off their products was mind boggling. Robots ran – and climbed stairs – amok, car simulators showed how they can be driven without a driver, even coffee makers that let you know when a fresh pot was ready. Google and Amazon were everywhere. Literally everywhere including hotel and tram signage along with booth workers wearing ubiquitous “Hey Google” outfits. Almost every product seemingly sported the message that it could be controlled with some faction of AI.
To make some sense of why 2018 may be the year that our voice and touch will be the key factors to hit the market, I spoke with Jeremie Capron, Managing Director of Research at ROBO Global. His company created the first benchmark index to track the global robotics and automation market bringing solutions to investors.