International Consumer Electronic Show (CES), one of the most anticipated events in the field of high technology, has opened in Las Vegas last Tuesday. Over 4,000 major companies and novice startups presented their latest inventions. Driverless cars, robotic assistants, smart footwear and a lot more - a great amount of manufacturers concentrated their efforts on enhancing the capabilities of smart devices, which made the experts pay a great deal of attention to the prospects of integrating “smart” devices into the common urban environment.

A whole range of major companies presented inventions that map out the horizons of the existing innovations. For instance, Intel showcased a 49-qubit processor for quantum computers, and Fisker showed off an electric car that can cover over 600 kilometers without recharge.

All the experts agreed that 2018 will be the year when the integration of services and various devices will become all the more important.

"I think we are having an I moment. And it is not the iPhone moment, it is the integration moment. It is the integration of gadgets, of services, of devices into an ecosystem that at the end of the day benefits the user experience," says the Research Director at the Gartner research institute, Werner Goertz.

Back at the end of last year, the company released a report where it called this ecosystem an “intelligent digital mesh” and defined the top-10 technological trends that company owners should bear in mind. So, what is this “mesh” about? Firstly, that would be further introduction of artificial intelligence technologies which will allow to create new dynamic, flexible and, possibly, autonomous systems. Secondly, the integration of the virtual and the real worlds, which will contribute to creating a more advanced digital environment. Lastly, an important factor is the enhancement of interrelations between the growing numbers of consumers, companies, devices, content and services.

Experts from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) also shared their forecasts of the future development of consumer electronics. At the presentation, Steve Koenig, Senior Director of Market Research, and other representatives of the association discussed the technologies that they believe will transform our lives this year.

1. 5G

As soon as the end of 2018, the American provider AT&T offers to deploy a 5G network in 12 USA cities.  Initially, this was planned for 2020, yet in December, 2017 the 3GPP consortium already approved the new standard.

According to CTA, the introduction of 5G will allow to eliminate the data deference, which will play a decisive role in the introduction of such systems as driverless cars, for instance. The entertainment industry has long been waiting for the new standard, as well: if everything goes according to plan, it will give a start to the development of the so called Tactile Internet, where any action in the Net will have no deference, as well. For the gaming industry, apart from instantaneous streaming, 5G will open new opportunities for the introduction of VR technologies.


In Russia, the 5G concept is to be finalized by May 2018; the new standard will work in 3,4–3,8 ghz and 24,5–26,5 ghz frequency range. By September 2019, 5G networks will be used in 5 sectors of the economy of at least one of its major cities. According to the representatives of Russia’s largest providers, the introduction of 5G is amongst their priorities for 2018. Megafon, for instance, already plans to test the new network during the FIFA World Cup in summer.

Still, most experts note that we won’t be witnessing the commercial introduction of 5G in the next couple of years. According to Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a company that specializes in marketing, 2018 will lay the foundation for the introduction of 5G, while the users will feel the real changes around 2019-2020.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, partly due to the recent advances in what has to do with the prospects offered by machine learning, continues to enter our lives. According to CTA’s representative Rick Kowalski, we will soon be seeing it in cars, “smart home” systems, smartphones, TV sets and the like. Artificial Intelligence will soon have a bigger presence in our homes.


His colleague Lesley Rohrbaugh adds that digital systems are gradually taking on more and more of our tasks; what is more, in future they will become more effective at predicting our preferences.

3. Robots

Much the same as last year, robots have become a hot topic at CES 2018. For instance, Honda presented a talking robotic assistant you can hug. There also was a domestic robot by LG Electronics, and Sony showcased its cute robotic dog Aibo.

The developers claim that this robot can use advanced AI technologies to create emotional bonds and become a true member of a family.

Despite the fact that some of the robots failed to respond to the developer’s commands, analysts note that these devices become smarter with each year, and all the more companies find investors who are ready to finance projects on the successful prototypes’ mass production.

4. VR  

VR, the recent hype around which seemed to have passed completely, is going to take a new lease on life in 2018. Not so long ago, VR was mostly sought after by the gaming and entertainment industry, often accompanied by an unwieldy headset; now, experts expect the technology to find various applications in the industrial sector.

Steve Koenig also notes that VR can well find a niche in social media.

"VR will help to redefine social media," he says. "Today you have a Facebook page, tomorrow or very soon you'll have a Facebook space."

Apparently, users will soon get an opportunity to “meet” each other in digital space and not just “like” photos and comment on other’s posts.

5. AR

Meanwhile, augmented reality will also start to actively make its way to the handheld device market. After Pokemon Go introduced the technology on a large scale, its benefits have become apparent to companies that work in such fields as navigation, interior design, advertising and such.

At CES, for instance, the Vuzix company presented its AR smart glasses that support the Alexa personal assistant. The developers hope that the combination of these two features will allow the novelty to become what Google Glass could not.

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According to Steve Koenig, software developers aim to include AR capabilities in their apps so there would be "a lot more handset up, head up, and less looking down and bumping into people on the sidewalk".

Deloitte agency also forecasts that every person will view AR content at least once a year, and 300 million users will be creating it on a regular basis.