Technology Trends at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held annually in Las Vegas, NV, is always on the radar of the patent world, this year’s version featuring a summit discussion with Kathi Vidal, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Among the tech trends highlighted at CES 2024, artificial intelligence and autonomous driving show the greatest promise for patent owners looking to reap consumer sales. This year’s event also showed the strong position of South Korean tech startups in the consumer marketplace of the future.
Artificial Intelligence Advances to AI-Ready Laptops, Emotionally Responsive Cars
In 2023, ChatGPT transformed office work for many businesses. At CES 2024, AI’s impact on various consumer industries was a constant theme. Retailing giant Walmart was one of several companies to showcase generative AI innovations. Along with more robust app-based product search tools to improve shopping experiences, Walmart executives unveiled an InHome Replenishment service that uses AI tools to track customer data and fill online shopping carts when commonly purchased items are stocked.
AI-powered digital assistants incorporated into vehicle infotainment systems also drew much conversation at this year’s CES. Both Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen exhibited virtual assistant tools for their vehicle systems that provide voice interaction with more emotional responsiveness and contextual awareness. Among the innovative new offerings from beauty company L’Oréal, which made its first-ever CES keynote address at this year’s event, was the Beauty Genius platform that analyzes images of skin tone to create personalized beauty routine recommendations.
Perhaps most significantly, computer chip developers appearing at CES 2024 have been developing processors with the capacity to handle even more complex AI applications. Graphics processing unit (GPU) company Nvidia made several announcements at this year’s trade show, including a list of “AI-ready” laptops under major consumer brands powered by its GeForce RTX computing platform for AI and gaming. With GPUs and other processing components being so critical to the operation of AI platforms, patent owners in the space are likely to reap tremendous value from the rapid pace of consumer applications for AI.
Robotic Appliances Begin to Create Tensions in Labor Union Negotiations
The presence of automakers at CES has rapidly grown over the past two decades. Recent patent filing analysis by IFI CLAIMS shows that autonomous vehicle drive control systems are driving the greatest increase in patent application filings across the globe over five years. Major car manufacturers like Toyota and Honda are leaders among patent owners in this space. Although many of the marquee automotive showcases at CES 2024 focused on advances in sustainability and connectivity, self-driving systems like the AFEELA electric vehicle unveiled at CES by Sony and Honda continue to make headlines.
The growing synergy between carmakers and high-tech developers was displayed by computer chipmaker Qualcomm, whose line of Snapdragon processors was part of the company’s mobility presentation at CES 2024. The Snapdragon Digital Chassis, Qualcomm’s name for its portfolio of vehicular technologies, features a system-on-chip family designed for efficient processing in automated driving systems.
Robotics and autonomous driving are closely related, as was underscored by automaker Hyundai’s exhibition of its Stretch robotics system at CES 2024. Developed by Hyundai subsidiary Boston Dynamics, Stretch is a warehousing solution designed to eliminate manual labor rather than serve as a personal transport solution. Still, Hyundai has often discussed the expected impact of its Boston Dynamics acquisition on its automotive products in years to come.
Robotics innovations were so ubiquitous at CES 2024 that it started to reveal tensions between technology and the labor force. An Associated Press news report from the Las Vegas Convention Center discussed how the influx of self-operating consumer goods on the market is impacting labor negotiations for the hospitality industry. While robotic appliances usually take a few years to make their way from the trade show floor to retail shelves, CES 2024 proved that robotics will make even greater impacts on our lives.
South Korean Startups Steal the Show at Eureka Park
The most successful companies in consumer tech are household names but CES is an opportunity for tech startups to introduce themselves to the world. Often, an appearance at the consumer trade show sets the stage for business success. On the first day of CES 2024, Goodyear Tire & Rubber announced its partnership with autonomous trucking startup Gatik, which exhibited at CES in Las Vegas, to develop an intelligent tire solution that will improve the efficiency of trucking fleets.
South Korean tech startups are performing extraordinarily well judging by the activity at Eureka Park, a staging area within CES focused on new companies in the consumer tech sector. Nearly half of the more than 1,000 startup exhibitors in Eureka Park during the 2024 event came from the Asian nation, about three times the number of startups that arrived from second-place France. Much of this increased presence from South Korean startups was funded by technology giant Samsung, whose C-Lab program was responsible for 15 startup exhibitors at this year’s event.