About 1 million tweets were exchanged between the 1st of January and the 14th with mentions of #CES2019 After selecting only English and French tweets, as there were a lot of chinese / corean / Japanese mentions, I got about 700 000 tweets using Visibrain, a social media, online & blog monitoring tool.
The dashboards colors depend on the following mentioned technologies / buzzwords: Virtual Reality, IOT, AI, Blockchain, Data, Autonomous, Robots, 5G, Flexible and Smart. We can see how many tweets about these technologies the most mentioned twitter accounts got, and then get access to the individual tweets.
Lot of demos and keynotes, but what about innovative products?
This dashboard enables to filter what were the hot news shared on Twitter about innovations such as autonomous vehicles, virtual assistants, flexible screens, digital health … what are the related technologies, and who (corporate accounts, digital evangelists?) mentioned them for what: new products, demo or prototypes, marketing … For example, if we filter tweets about a product from Corporate Accounts, it represents less than 5000 mentions. There are also about 2000 mentions of “demo” and “Keynote”.
This means than CES 2019, mostly a tech show, didn’t show deep innovations: flexible screens were indeed a hot topic, but nothing as game-changing as the iPhone of 2007 was released. As for responding to society trends for new products, the tech industry struggle to adapt to the fact that women are indeed as invested in tech as men: a sex toy designed for female got an award and then it was taken from them, while one of the most mentioned tweets were about a cam app to try new hair colors …
Much data & IA, less machine & deep learning
Clearly, data is at the core of most tech products. Because it is getting easier and cheaper to collect and analyse it. This enables GAFA to develop machine / deep learning algorithms, using the adequate technology to handle it, such as Hadoop architecture. Well, of course, there were no tweets mentions of Hadoop during CES 2019, and a not relevant one for Spark. At least there were 200 mentions for deep learning, and 350 for machine learning. We can use the Text Search from the dashboard to see the corresponding tweets.
So what new products do we have using Deep Learning? Procter & Gamble detects your “skin age”, Deep Sentinel secures your home, Nvidia processors are optimized using Deep Learning, and of course self-programming AI … Not really deep innovations, such as We Work offices sensors enabling AI to understand that they are people who want to get coffee in the morning !
There is also the issue of privacy (4000 mentions with #CES2019). Surprisingly, only a few so-called “technical evangelist” mentioned it, even as Apple seems to embrace it – as long as people don’t use Facetime – and some companies seem to build on it such as Smilo, a blockchain plateform – with 300 mentions it is worse for GDPR.
A very interesting article from HBR published in May 2015 explained that product & businesses collecting / exploiting customer data should take care of how they manage it, even maybe letting them decide who / what organization will access it. Apart from blockchain apps or Iphones, there should be a market for it: Whaller, a collaborative & secure platform, announced during CES 2019 a partnership with Qwant, the RGPD compliant French search Engine.
Robots and Smart replace AI in tweets
We already established that the technologies behind AI, machine and deep learning, spark and hadoop, and even Python (100 tweets) weren’t hot topics on #CES2019. Using marketing buzzwords, we can identify about 18 000 tweets mentioning AI, 42 000 Robots, 36 000 Smart and 8000 autonomous. A lot of Smart / Autonomous products, maybe using Robots? We can filter these technologies by selecting the relevant color on the “Tweet Count” from the Dashboard.
The infamous Hair Color app was the most mentioned tweet featuring “AI”, but apart from Butterfly Network presented a beta version of a tool facilitating the assessment of the heart functions , no concrete product / mentions appears in the top tweets.
About Robots, it’s LoraDiCarlo sex toy who was the most mentioned (844 RT during CES, and at lot of news coverage) since their award for Robotics and Drones was taken back. Robots mentions mainly featured gadget and prototypes such as a design concept and prototype walking car from Hyundai, a delivery Robot from Continental (what about drones?), and of course the accident between an autonomous Tesla and a Robot.
Filtering mentions of “Autonomous”, self-driving cars are of course the hottest topic : BMW’s moto R1200 got more than 180 mentions, Uber building a fake city to test/train autonomous cars, a comparison of car prices between Tesla Roaster and Bugatti Chiron generated a lot of enthusiasm while most of the car makers such as Mercedes-Benz struggled to get attention for their concept cars …
Focusing on customer experience and what could really bring people to buy autonomous car, Intel promotes a partnership with Warner and DC Comics, and is proposing a safety standard for autonomous vehicles. Bosch Global got also a lot of attention, without using buzz words, for its connectivity unit designed for connected vehicles.
Since every data tool must be “smart” nowadays, let’s dig in their mentions: The most mentioned tweet is about a smart cane to help the visually impaired people. Apart from that, a smart wood product designed for smart homes got an award – it was designed by men after all. Smart Homes are definitively a trend, with 5000 mentions, but clearly it’s difficult to see the added value of most projects. There is the Smart Fridge who smile and plays music, and a lot of projects from Kohler, for example a toilet integrating Alexa from Amazon …
Digital health … & Fitness
20000 tweets for Digital Health : 2500 on IOT, 2300 mentioning robots, more than 1000 with AI or Data.
The most mentioned tweets about Health Tech come from Digital Evangelist / influencer, for example 1000 tweets for Mike Feibus, expert in wearables. As for companies, nearly half of the mentions come from Intel, promoting a wheelchair moved by facial expression. Philips and Samsung also got lots of coverage for their Health / Fitness tracking solutions.
There are only a few mentions for the major pharma companies, and only thanks to their startup partners … which makes us wonder with the rise of over the counter meds which ones will be recommended by the top health & fitness devices? There is a least one area where Big Pharma could start to build trust with customer: health data protection and security. The WSJ addressed this issue about IOT health & Fitness tools, but surely companies already working with very strong / severe standards of data protection would be more credible than some startups storing customer data in AWS clouds …
As a conclusion: bringing innovation with human expertise rather than AI black box
CES is still a show, but when focusing on our field of expertise we can learn something about what will be the real innovations of tomorrow. There were obviously lots of mentions (about 15000) of Virtual Assistants, from Google for example, but these tools still seem to be summarized as a vocal command for any digital gadget on a smart home. I will note however than Snips, a French Startup, won an Innovation award for a Voice Assistant technology protecting privacy.
The real struggle when data collection and processing is affordable and easy to operate, is to switch the innovation focus from tech to address customer / market needs. Sometimes, it doesn’t cost much to bring something new and radical. For example, there were only about 2000 tweets about cyber security even as it is a concern for EVERY CES products / companies. Apart from tweets about the related threats, more than 700 these tweets also mentioned blockchain, as a possible solution to solve security issues … forgetting that the first and foremost issue with digital security is human behavior ! Innovative solutions will then come from security experts who understand how people address cyber security.
A few days after the end of CES 2019, I got a notification from Troy Hunt Have I been Pwned free service, indicating me that at least one of my online accounts was in a collection of data breaches (with mail and passwords). I just had to check if an old password could still be in use, and then change it. This is a very useful service for people and companies’ protection against data theft, as password reuse means that credentials coming from a specific data leak, for example Facebook accounts, can easily be used to get access to other services without hacking them, as HSBC US customers or Spotify users recently noticed …
Well, this service based on data leaks collection (unfortunately very easy to obtain, even on the clear web) was recently improved by creating an API, now used by Password Protection software’s or Online Services, to check if their users passwords have been collected in a known data breach. If so, they prompt the user to change the relevant passwords to protect themselves from credential stuffing. As a result, Troy Hunt service use has rapidly risen !
On a side note, as I myself experienced on data & digital projects, Troy Hunt service demonstrates that processing billions of data doesn’t necessarily means it is necessary to buy costly Big Data services, mostly designed for very data intensive companies such as Amazon or Netflix. Using more common and cheaper resources wisely can answer to most companies needs !