A digital version of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) began on Monday, showcasing new innovations as organizers projected sharp growth in technology spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spending on technology in the US this year is expected to hit US$461 billion, 4.3 percent higher than last year, extending the work-at-home and distance-learning trends.
Streaming television services, digital health devices and superfast 5G mobile networks this year are to be the featured sectors, show organizer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) said.
Photo: AFP / Courtesy of CareClever SAS
“The pandemic has pushed the fast-forward button on tech adoption — from our homes to our work to our doctor’s offices,” CTA president Gary Shapiro said.
About 1,800 exhibitors are participating in the show — normally staged in the US gaming resort of Las Vegas, but facing a challenge to replicate the glitz of previous years in the new format.
The event started with streamed video presentations from companies — including bigger and improved TV displays from South Korea’s LG Electronics Co and Samsung Electronics Co — as the “digital venue” was being set up to allow industry participants to connect virtually with exhibitors.
LG was showing off immersive, high-definition screens, as the pandemic has accelerated a trend toward streaming television shows on demand from services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.
Futuristic glimpses offered by LG included a “virtual human influencer” in the form of a software-created woman who spoke glowingly about a new robot being unveiled and progress developing a “rollable” smartphone screen that can change size.
Health technology this year is the focus, with the pandemic highlighting technologies for telemedicine, remote patient monitoring and diagnosis, and tools to help with early disease detection.
Also on display are an array of workplace health gadgets, from smart thermometers to air purifiers and sanitizing robots.
Samsung introduced a “bot” that uses artificial intelligence to recognize its human and learn their habits, so it can remind them of things.
Technology for COVID-19 detection and mitigation is one of the big themes.
Several autonomous disinfection robots are being shown at CES, and other gadgets include wearables that monitor vital signs and could provide early detection for virus infections.
US shipments of “connected health monitoring devices” nearly doubled last year to US$632 million, and is expected to reach US$845 million this year, CTA analysts said.
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