CE Week 2019 is an annual talkfest about CE (Consumer Electronics)
products and where the industry is heading.
CE Week 2019 focused on connectivity and the inevitable, if
a long way off, impact that 5G could have to smart toilets and devices.
Keynote: The promise of 5G – that is all it is at present
The promise of 5G is real-time, lag-free communications
allowing people to work anywhere and do anything – at least until 6G comes along
and rains on that parade.
In a retail sense, it could replace shop assistants. Walk in
and via your Bolle/Nike/Chanel AR smart glasses, you can get real-time product
information and even see how it looks on you or at home. Like it – simply by
not putting it back on the shelf, it is yours – payment made without having to
But there is a clear disconnect between the Telco marketing
creating unreal consumer expectations and the fact that this will not likely start
appearing until the mid-2020s! Let’s not even go down the privacy rabbit hole. Well
let’s – just a bit.
Online Privacy is an oxymoron (two words together that
contradict each other). The EU’s GDPR is a great base privacy model, but
frankly, it is not in the interests of giant tech like Facebook, Amazon, Google,
Apple or Microsoft to get behind a universal digital bill of rights.
5G means always connected. But the ability to do so much
more means more data collected. Before we let the 5G genie out of the bottle, we
need to solve the privacy issues so we can use it without fear of big brother.
Some CE 2019 highlights
Audea introduces the Swiss army knife of smart speakers (Brochure here).
The world’s first voice-controlled intelligent speaker that
runs music apps without a smartphone. It plays Spotify, Apple Music Apps, DLNA,
Wi-FI sources, and supports Google Assistant, AirPlay/Siri and Chromecast in multiple
Rooms. Plays HD quality with a 10-band EQ Music and 24-bit/96kHz DAC. It is
based on an Android 9 tablet and has expandable add-on Hi-Fi speakers.
Can’t say I like the prototype design but the Swiss army knife s concept has legs.
Artnovion – custom acoustical treatments for
Audio Control – audio tools and products for
people who love amazing sound;
Acoustics Innovation – the science of acoustics
and art of aesthetics to create high-performance media environments;
Control4 – Smart Home OS 3 unifies hundreds
of connected devices within the home, controls them all from a single platform
and delivers personalisation;
Fatboy – lamps, beanbags, poufs, carpets and
Graff Shower System Ametis Ring – includes
dual-function shower head outfitted with six-colour LED indirect chromotherapy
HearthCabinet – ventless fireplace system with
patented alcohol gel fuel cartridge system and lockable safety screen;
Kohler – Veil a one-piece toilet featuring a heated
seat, night-light, hands-free opening/closing and automatic flush, touchscreen
MSE Audio – the parent company of six major
manufacturing brands producing quality speakers with exceptional sound;
Origin Acoustics – custom built performance
products for great sound;
Reflectel – Reflectel Mirror TV isn’t simply a
television or mirror but functional decor that complements the design of any
Restrepo Innovations – custom integration and
home automation company;
SKS Signature by LG – built-in appliances for
innovation and purposeful design in the kitchen;
Sony – Master Series XBR85X950G 4K LED TV.
Comments on 8K TV
It seems 8K may roll out far faster than 4K TV – simply because
it’s just as easy to make and has similar cost structures that will benefit
from increased volumes.
It seems in the US that about half of the households own recent
4K TVs and the other half are ripe for upgrades.
What we are yet to see is the new TV sound standards like 22.2 (22 speakers
and two subs) that are likely to be standard for Hi-Vision transmission. Think
of it as 5.1 plus five listener-plane channels, nine overhead channels,
arranged in a square, and a row of three further channels at the bottom front,
plus the additional sub-woofer channel.
Because 8K has double the 4K resolution, it augers well for
huge screens as well as better close up viewing (put a larger screen into a
And it’s not about 8K native content. Its that processor
technology has now advanced enough to upscale 1K and 4K content adding clarity
and crispness to 8K simulated images. The processors add Intelligence and deep
learning to enable an 8K set to automatically optimise its video and audio
performance based on the ambient conditions.
When will we see 8K en-mass? TV makers will start rolling out
more reasonable priced consumer sized TVs in their 2020 line-ups, and 4K is
expected to fall by the wayside by the end of 2021. Native 8K content may take
a lot longer.
The Five Levels of a Smart Home
Discussion centred on the five levels of smart homes and how
we have not yet reached level one, let alone the nirvana of a totally integrated
smart home – even if you throw heaps of money at it.
At best, we have a growing range of smart products, but these
do not make a smart home. What we are missing it the ‘smart’ side of things.
These products use disparate apps and separate accounts/logins for full functionality,
and at best, a voice assistant ties some together.
So far, no company has invented a fully autonomous,
universal smart home operating system that allows all devices to join together and
think for us. To get there, it needs interoperability standards and lots of data
collection. And Z-Wave, Zigbee, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are just short-term fixes
that don’t really provide whole of home/grounds coverage.
The message was – don’t kid yourself. Any smart home device
you buy today will not be part of a smart home of the future (except perhaps OK
GadgetGuy’s take: We agree and it’s important to recognise both
what the device can do now and its limitations.