From left: Damon Embling, journalist for EuroNews; Omar Khan, Product Manager at Magic Leap; Tom Pey, CEO of the Royal Society for Blind Children and Chairman of Wayfindr; Laura Schewel, CEO of StreetLight Data; Park Won-Soon, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea.
A quick look at the technology trends and issues leading politicians will face at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in 2020.
Dustin Haisler, editor of futures and innovation
January 14, 2020
Last week, around 182,000 visitors and 4,500 exhibitors came to Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Aside from the new product releases, CES can also take an early look at many of the new technologies and behaviors that government policymakers and IT managers will have to anticipate, implement, contact, or regulate in the near future.
The Technology Policy Institute has conducted an analysis of the companies exhibiting at CES this year. Based on this guide, we have organized six technology categories by number of exhibitors to give an insight into the issues civil servants are likely to address in the coming year.
Top 10 countries represented
The CES is also the self-proclaimed "global stage for innovation" and attracts companies from over 60 nations. Despite the U.S. government's restriction on Huawei and the recently announced export restrictions on software, China remains strongly represented at CES.
Looking at two main categories of CES this year – Smart Home and Vehicle Technology – summarizes CES 'remarkable announcements and the reasons for their importance to public officials.
Citizens' experiences with consumer technologies have shaped their expectations of government agencies in the past – and the smart home is the beginning. Here's what we saw in smart home technology at CES this year:
- Voice assistants are everywhere. Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home have been embedded in even more customer experiences this year in a variety of categories – from vehicles to toilets. The rise of voice assistants gives authorities the opportunity to create new resources for citizens to connect with the government. However, this must also be compensated for by adaptive regulations that guarantee data protection.
- Face recognition for consumers has arrived. Face recognition technologies have also been incorporated into numerous smart home devices, which undoubtedly raises questions about how the data is used and protected for consumers. The use of facial recognition by the government is already a controversial issue across the country. It will therefore be interesting to see how legislators react to the increasing use and acceptance of the technology by consumers.
- Chatbots jump to the video. Samsung announced a new "artificial human technology" called Neon, which it hopefully will market. Neon is not a digital assistant, but rather a video chatbot that looks real and should be used for more structured functions such as customer service, teaching and banking. We have seen a dramatic increase in government chatbot usage. So we'll see if these video chatbots prevail.
- Smart home access is hot, but is it the next big cyber security risk? We have introduced many new smart home access technologies, such as the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, which will help you get home seamlessly while raising some serious cybersecurity issues that may start to be regulated by states. Last year, California was the first country to regulate cyber security for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This may be just the beginning of states that are more concerned with this aspect of regulation.
Government agencies have had a love-hate relationship with new transportation technologies in the past, and here are the vehicle technology trends that have been noticed at CES this year:
- Many new types of mobility. Many new modes of transport have been announced that may fall within an unsafe regulatory area, similar to the challenges that bike sharing and scooters face. Here are some that stand out:
- Hyundais S-A1 eVTOL Flying Taxi for Uber
- Segway's S-Pod chair
- Cybic e-bike with Alexa
- Honorable mention – Sony made a car!
- Updated AV guidelines have been published. The Department of Transportation published its updated guidelines for autonomous vehicles. This fourth revision contains three main priorities for the development and integration of autonomous vehicles (see also Twitter thread):
- Protect users and communities
- Promote efficient markets
- Facilitate coordinated efforts
One of the most important trends at CES was not a product, but an issue: data protection. The protection of privacy is becoming increasingly important for state and local authorities and leads to new C-level positions and laws to protect consumers and their data. Here are some of CES's notable privacy announcements this year: