How this year’s CES connects with AI

Article By : Junko Yoshida

Welcome to a future in which convenience trumps privacy, the suspension of disbelief breeds insecurity.

The "CES Unveiled" event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center has showcased a host of new wearables and hearables along with home appliances and robots. They are all very app-intensive, connected to the Internet, and many are already programmed to get smarter with built-in artificial intelligence that will track, learn and recognise a user's speech, face and daily habits.

Welcome to a future in which convenience trumps privacy, the suspension of disbelief breeds insecurity.

Many of these devices, targeting both young and old, are driven by a simple assumption that consumers will pay for technologies and services for the benefit of staying connected, being reminded and getting coached by these gadgets—24/7.

Desire to be understood

You and I may not want it. But evident at CES Unveiled this year was that these devices are getting much smarter than before, and system designers are unearthing an unspoken consumer desire to be “understood” by a strangely intimate gadget.

Newly integrated with learning capabilities, connected devices now style themselves as a gentle, friendly assistant watching out for your diet, sleep habits, posture, skin condition, makeup and exercise regimen, offering advice definitely much nicer in tone than the counsel of a nagging mother or spouse.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices equally flooded this year's CES Unveiled and showed signs of improvement.

Instead of each start-up designing its own connected, app-driven home appliances unable to talk to another company’s devices or apps, many players in the home IoT space are wising up, looking for partnerships.

Traditional smoke alarms, door bells, security cameras, power sockets, switches, electric windows and blinds are examples. The French start-up Netatmo has partnered with Legrand, a building company, and Velux, a supplier of electric windows and blinds, to integrate sensors, apps, Zigbee-based wireless connectivity into windows, doors and power sockets.

The end result? Jérôme Boissou, marketing manager of IoT at Legrand, told us that its connected devices, now powered by Netatmo, will be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit and Samsung’s ARTIK IoT ecosystems this year.

In a separate interview with EE Times at CES, Ruediger Stroh, executive vice president & general manager responsible for security and connectivity at NXP Semiconductors, told us, “We see IoT—now getting into phase II—increasingly becoming an eco-system play.”

Stroh stressed that he is not downplaying the importance of the ingenuity of start-ups’ innovations. Instead, many IoT players are figuring out that “security can’t be trial and error.” He explained that in IoT phase II, governments throughout the world are beginning to request certain (higher) levels of security standard.

In the following pages, EE Times presents a glimpse of the hot, connected and smart devices we spotted on the show floor.

Next: CES 2017 unveils hot, connected smart devices »

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