Tyler Suiters                      

This edition of CES Tech Talk is brought to you by Deloitte.

Hanish Patel                      

Hey, Tech Talk listeners. It's Hanish Patel from Deloitte's User Friendly, the podcast where my guests and I explore the latest trends in technology, media and telecom, and turn them into something a little more user friendly. We just launched season four and have some exciting topics coming up from connectivity trends, to sports, through to digital reality. If you enjoy CES Tech Talks, I highly recommend checking us out wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Until then, happy listening.

Tyler Suiters                      

Hey everybody, with the Consumer Technology Association, I'm Tyler Suiters. We are the owners and producers of CES, the world's largest, the world's most influential tech event and we are joining you from CES 2020 in Las Vegas. We are on the show floor today talking to the media members who cover CES, some of whom have been here for years upon years covering the latest trends, emerging technologies and divining some of our technology future based on what they see here at CES. Today, a broad conversation with these journalists about all things here on the show floor at CES 2020 from 5G connectivity to AI applications, robotics to smart cities; we'll cover everything, or at least as much as we can get in in one podcast, all on this special edition of CES Tech Talk from the CES 2020 show floor.

Sarah Brown                      

Good afternoon, everyone. We are live at CES 2020. It is day one here in Las Vegas. I am joined here with some esteemed media colleagues. We're actually recording here for the CES Tech Talk podcast presented today by Deloitte. I'm going to have my colleagues here introduce themselves.

David Kender                    

Hi, everybody. I'm Dave Kender. I'm the editor-in-chief of Reviewed, part of the USA Today network.

Jason Hiner                        

I'm Jason Hiner. I'm editorial director of CNET. I run the advice team, so that's all of our reviews. Four big areas: TVs or home entertainment, smart home, PCs, laptops, and mobile.

Nick Mokey                       

Good morning. I'm Nick Mokey I'm the managing editor of Digital Trends. I'm a little under the weather today, so you'll have to excuse me if I hack up a lung while I'm up here. I'll do my best to [crosstalk 00:02:38] Sorry, Jason. [crosstalk 00:02:39] We'll separate the chairs.

Sarah Brown                      

So I know it's only day one, first afternoon, but I want to hear from everyone. Please describe for me what was the best thing that you've seen so far. Let's start with Nick.

Nick Mokey                       

Sure. I'm actually going to have to go with the Hyundai S-A1, the flying taxi. I don't care how far off it is. I don't care how far flung it is. It's awesome to see that stuff at CES. I attended the press conference yesterday and they had the Barbie-sized toy model of it for the press conference and then of course coming to the show floor today, I bee-lined for the full sized one at the booth and it did not fail to impress. I know Bell had something similar last year. I think they have another model this year as well, which I have not seen, but in the meantime, I'm going with the Hyundai.

Jason Hiner                        

The 292-inch Samsung TV has drawn all the headlines of course, but what kind of got lost in the shuffle is they also unveiled an 8K TV that's completely bezel-less and I saw that thing up close a couple months ago under Embargo and it's ruined me on every other TV. You see that and it's so visually impressive. It looks beautiful. It has these ambient modes that have artwork and all of these things and it's incredible. It's just incredible to see the leap forward.

Sarah Brown                      

All right, Dave.

David Kender                    

If I was going to go with the coolest gadget that I've seen and the one that I think people actually might buy, it's the Lenovo folding laptop, which I thought was very cool and it was clever the way they figured out what to do with the keyboard and they really were working through some of the practical stuff. But on a bigger level, looking at the conversation of where AI is and how it's actually impacting products very widely now. It's really hard to write about because it's kind of boring, no offense to anyone who works in the AI industry.

Sarah Brown                      

Nothing at CES is boring just for the record.

David Kender                    

But, it's actually helping people live with their products and use their products and I think that's the most important thing.

Sarah Brown                      

So, we're in 2020 now, start a new decade. As you've gone around the show floor, is there anything that's called out to you all that, "Okay, this is what tech is going to be all about in this new decade." Start with you, Jason.

Jason Hiner                        

Yeah. So this is sort of a really buzzy kind of term, but what we're sort of calling, "ambient computing." 20 years ago when you dealt with technology and the online world, you sat down at a monitor and a keyboard and a mouse and you purposefully went somewhere to do something. then 10 years ago, most of that ended up fitting in our pockets in the smartphone. now today, a lot of it is dispersing to different parts of our life and anticipating our needs and those kinds of things. Smart speakers are the most obvious ones, but we're seeing it in other places. There are different... There are interfaces.

Jason Hiner                        

There are interfaces that are based on things that can make any surface in your home or your vehicle touch sensitive. There are things so say you're in the kitchen and you're working and you're wanting to know how many tablespoons is in a cup, right? There may be interfaces right there built into your counter that can surface that information, All those kinds of things. There's a number of vendors here that are showing off some of those things that are often in small booths and they're sort of research companies or just barely out of stealth, but there are things that are real and they're farther along than you think. There was one that I saw last night that essentially may mean that that the button-less phone is a lot closer than we thought because it can take any surface on your phone, the back, the sides and make them touch sensitive—

Sarah Brown                      

Wow.

Jason Hiner                        

—and yeah, pretty amazing stuff.

David Kender                    

Kind of along the same lines of, sorry, I jumped the queue [crosstalk 00:06:41] along the same lines of what was the word uses? Ambient—

Jason Hiner                        

—ambient computing—

David Kender                    

—ambient computing. I like that. Predictive technologies. I'm a big appliance nerd. I'm a big appliance nerd, and LG has a washing machine that's using AI, and it has sensors inside that are able to analyze the weight and the volume, but also the fabric type. So it's figuring out what wash cycle should you use, how much water should you use? But you're also filling a big container full of detergent. People using too much detergent; it's a huge problem. People never know how much to use and it creates allergies and it's a whole big issue. So it's auto-dispensing exactly the right thing. Forget giving people a million options, give people no options and let the computer figure out what to do because we're finally at the point where because the computer is constantly pinging back to the network and getting smarter collectively across LG's global footprint, that it's going to do a better job at cleaning our socks than you ever will. So just let the robots do the job.

Sarah Brown                      

So helps me make fewer decisions throughout my day. I think I like that.

David Kender                    

Fewer better decisions. Figure out what you want for lunch, not how to do your laundry.

Sarah Brown                      

How about you, Nick?

Nick Mokey                       

Sure. I've been spending a lot of time at the North Hall looking at automotive stuff this year. I think if we're thinking big picture, it's the fact... And this is something that's been coming for a couple of years now, but all of the automotive companies now are not car companies. No one wants to be called a car company. They're all smart mobility or mobility, or e-mobility, or some permutation of mobility because all of the car companies are thinking so much further outside of personal car ownership and, "I need to sell you a car," that's no longer the paradigm for transportation. I think 2020 moving forward, those companies are starting to look at building infrastructure and building ways to move around to city that maybe don't involve you owning a car. Maybe you rent one. I mentioned the Hyundai thing, which again, it's kind of far-flung. We have flying taxis. They're partnering with Uber 2023. Who knows?

Nick Mokey                       

But the broader initiative that that's part of is kind of this whole system of pods that roll around the city that connect to hubs. They're modular. They can serve as a restaurant or a medical clinic. Again, it's very ambitious and I don't know that we'll actually see that in the immediate future, but I love that companies are thinking that way and thinking outside of sort of having to sell personal electronics. They're building these larger systems that I think in the end, will be healthier for cities as we grow.

Sarah Brown                      

We've talked a little bit about what's the coolest thing. We've talked about sort of big picture trends. What's the most useful thing you think you've seen so far? Dave, let's start with you. If you're ready.

David Kender                    

The most useful thing. Geez, I might have to toss this potato.

Jason Hiner                        

The robot, Charmin's robot. [crosstalk 00:09:28].

David Kender                    

I feel like this is leading to a personal story where you got stuck somewhere.

Jason Hiner                        

Well, it's a personal story for anyone that has kids and don't replace the toilet paper. The robot basically uses Bluetooth to find you when you're in the restroom and there's no toilet paper and it comes and delivers you a roll.

Sarah Brown                      

Nick?

Nick Mokey                       

I can't beat that. [crosstalk 00:09:55] I guess if I'm thinking... Most useful is a long shot. I need more time to find the most useful thing. But I'll say the thing that I'm most personally interested in is actually kind of dull, which is a company called Wall Box is building a bi-directional car charger, EV charger, which can use your EV to power your house in the event of a power outage or any sort of disruption, emergency. It's $4,000 right now, which granted, I think I would probably just buy a generator at this point, but I love the idea of it and if you scale that up to a bunch of people having those and potentially being able to, power the neighborhood with a network of cars, it's a very cool idea. If I had to take anything home from CES, I would take that.

Sarah Brown                      

Okay. I like it.

David Kender                    

I'm going to go back to TVs because I think I've mentioned that every year that I've been here. I love TVs and we're looking at that amazing LG display out there and the fact that you can get an absolutely stunning TV for like $1500 bucks. The flagships are fine across all the different companies, but I love the entry level OLED, the C9 or the CX I think they're calling it this year, that you don't have to go to a... I'm not a fan of going to the movie theater anymore. It's just too much noise and everything. So if I can experience that in my own home and enjoy it with just my wife and my kid and have a beautiful cinematic experience, that's very useful to me.

Sarah Brown                      

So staying on the home entertainment line, what's next? What do you think is, is the next thing in home entertainment that we'll be seeing?

David Kender                    

I would have to guess that AI is going to continue to push further into entertainment where it's going to be more predictive about the types of shows that you want to watch. The Roku streaming platform, it feels like it's ready for an upgrade into some next generation, and Roku has always been our favorite. So I would think something along the lines of queuing you up content that you're more interested in.

Jason Hiner                        

I do think that we're close to more immersive entertainment. This past year, the new Oculus Quest came out and that was really the VR product that was a true consumer product, right? It was under $400, it's completely wireless, you don't need a PC, you don't need a mobile phone. It has good content that goes with it. You can get trained in how to use a light saber by Darth Vader. It is ready to actually be a true entertainment experience. It's not going to replace your TV, right? It's a different kind of experience. But it is a really interesting and an immersive one. In a way, if this was the first consumer product for VR, I think it'd be a much better conversation, much different conversation than what we've had in the last few years where there's been a lot of disappointments in where VR's at.

David Kender                    

Do you see much VR out here? Because I feel like a couple of years ago, it seemed like there was a lot more [crosstalk 00:13:08].

Jason Hiner                        

Agreed.

David Kender                    

Is it getting quieter, but better or what's happening?

Jason Hiner                        

Exactly [crosstalk 00:13:13]. Well, that's my thought.

David Kender                    

That's good. [crosstalk 00:13:14].

Jason Hiner                        

Yeah.

Nick Mokey                       

I want it to be VR as well. I think if I think about what's maybe a little bit more pragmatic in the immediate future, I think if we go back to TVs for a second, instead of getting bigger and bigger, I think they're actually going to be becoming more discreet because they have become so big at this point that sometimes they just look comical on the wall and you have that black mirror effect and they all come with the same kind of glossy black bezel. They all kind of look the same. I've been seeing more companies trying to branch out and make a TV that looks better even when it's off. Samsung has done a good job at that. They had a TV called the Saraf that has a very interesting bezel that comes in different colors and it kind of has a sculpted look.

David Kender                    

It's so beautiful.

Nick Mokey                       

They have the art frame one as well, which I actually know somebody who bought one of those from last year, which is very rare that I see something at CES and one of my friends actually owns it in the immediate future. So I think that people are kind of, as the screens get bigger and bigger and cheaper and cheaper and more accessible, people are realizing like, "I don't know if I want that 85 inch giant black mirror on my wall. What else can it look like?" So I'm seeing more companies playing with the idea of that. I think that's immediate future of home entertainment continues to be bigger screens, but hopefully better looking.

David Kender                    

Samsung, they had their first look event a couple of nights ago and it's just TVs and their tagline there was, "Screens everywhere," but it was almost like an imperative, "Screens. Everywhere."

Jason Hiner                        

Yeah and to add one thing to that too, in sort of it evolving, they also at that event unveiled their sort of TV for the YouTube generation or TikTok generation because 40% of all video is now shot vertical. So it automatically switches—

Sarah Brown                      

Wow, I hadn't heard that.

Jason Hiner                        

—between vertical and horizontal.

David Kender                    

But moving parts break first, so I feel like you're asking for a TV that's going to break and it's also, it's on an angle.

Jason Hiner                        

Yeah.

David Kender                    

So the viewing angle is going to be pushed to a bad point no matter which direction you're... Is that product ever going to come to market and are people going to buy it?

Jason Hiner                        

Yeah, it's already in market in Korea and it's totally aimed at like Gen Z Millennials and it's aimed I think for like smaller living spaces too.

Nick Mokey                       

Yeah. If you just get the 292 inch, the wall, you don't need to worry about vertical video. It's just still the size of your entire wall. Just have some very large black bars on the side. Oh, I did want to add to what on the topic of things being discreet, I think that extends beyond just televisions. A display that I saw that really made me think about that, have you heard of the Japanese company, [inaudible 00:15:49]? It looks like a wood plank that goes on the wall and it basically lights up from behind with these really subtle LEDs, is touch capable and they're selling it kind of as a smart home interface this year.

Nick Mokey                       

It looks a little bit, when you see it at CES when everything kind of dazzled, you see a block of wood. It's a little bit ridiculous at the booth, but I think at some point ,that's actually what people are looking for is something that looks more discrete in their home. Not everybody wants a smart home actual screen embedded in their wall. To have it in this piece of wood that lights up when you wave over it and then you just set the temperature with little arrows is actually beautiful and I think we're going to see more of that.

David Kender                    

I think it's nice that technology has become small enough that it can fit into natural objects or things that would look like you wouldn't expect them to be embedded with tech or if you want to go to the extreme other end and have the razor glowing rainbow light up keyboards and if that's your aesthetic, great, you can have that as well. But each of them can be imbued with a technology that's going to be... It's going to speak to your aesthetic and it's also going to be genuinely useful.

Sarah Brown                      

I know this week at CES, you spend so much of your time obviously seeing everything there is to see it, but creating so much content. I know you're also reading everything from your colleagues; what's the hot thing? What have you been reading about that you have not had a chance to experience yet?

David Kender                    

I didn't see the huggable robot and I was so sad about that when I read about it the next day. Did you check that out?

Nick Mokey                       

I saw it but I did not get a chance to hug it. So I guess I have not had the full experience.

David Kender                    

There was the huggable robot and then I also heard, I can't verify this, but this isn't being broadcast or recorded, right? That Samsung was also designing TVs for single people. They were curved TVs and it was very sad going back to my hotel thinking, "Where are we headed with TVs for single people and robots that need hugging?"

Jason Hiner                        

I didn't see Impossible Pork and the CEO there said, he pointed to a little foldable Impossible Pork wrap and said, "This is one of the handheld devices that does not track you or sell your data."

Nick Mokey                       

Beautiful. I also want to taste test impossible pork. My colleague got two, but I didn't get to. Of the things that I want to check out that I didn't get a chance to get a closer look at though, Samsung Neon. The booth right now is just... It's a bunch of TVs with talking people on it, but I have heard that there are actual demos of it behind closed doors. That is what I would most like to experience.

Sarah Brown                      

Obviously, CES in the past decade or so has gone so far past the traditional technology companies. What would you like to see next? What category would you like to see represented here at CES? Let's start with you.

Jason Hiner                        

I'll say I would love to see more of the kind of tech doing good impact on society, companies that are doing things. Some of that ranges into B2B, but there's a lot of consumer companies here that really I think are trying to do things that have an impact and have an impact on a large number of people delivering products that are approachable to a lot of people, that have an impact on people's lives, have a positive impact that aren't about you staring at a screen all day or being tied to technology. But the technology, again, one of the things we've talked about is it disappearing a little bit into the background and being useful to you. I think the other thing and we've seen some of this, is looking at the ways that government and society can set some barriers around technology, right? We need a little bit of that. Not too much, too much is not good, but we're certainly at a stage where we need some more of that and having those conversations and those forums be a part of CES I think it would be a great thing.

Sarah Brown                      

How about you, Dave?

David Kender                    

Data privacy and personal data privacy. That is something that... There is so much data that's being collected in every, which we all know, but every feature that gets rolled out in all these press conferences, I was sitting in that are going to make the product 10% better at this, 10% better at that. They're all leveraging our personal data and maybe they'll give like a little assurance saying like, "You can turn off that feature if you need to," but I would wouldn't mind seeing some people walking around the halls shouting about data pri—You know, let some crazy people in and just let them roam the halls. You have that authority, right, Pam? Just to remind people that there's a very serious trade off here for convenience. Convenience is great and if you are willing to give up that data, if you're aware of what you're giving up, that's fine. That's a cost. Money is a cost and personal information is a cost as well. But to be aware of what's being collected.

Sarah Brown                      

Nick?

Nick Mokey                       

In terms of a category that I would like to see better represented, I'm actually going to go with food and I think Impossible was a really good start. We've had Impossible back two years in a row now. I think it's a great product. Again, I look forward to tasting. I can't vouch for it yet, but I hear very good things. I liked what Jason was saying about tech to solve problems, tech for good and I think that food is a really good vehicle for that. A lot of problems in the world right now somehow stem from food and Impossible is a good solution for the sort of emissions related, environmental concerns related to food. But there are other problems related to food as well that I think tech could help solve.

Nick Mokey                       

Obesity is one of the number one preventable causes of death in the United States. what's to say we can't engineer our way out of that problem with some better engineered foods, not necessarily fake meat, but some foods that taste really good that are also really good for you. We haven't had that at CES yet and I'd like to see more sort of food tech in the future that isn't just a three robot that makes something out of frozen yogurt or whatever. That stuff is cute, but I think there's actually a lot of problem solving potential with food specifically. I love that Impossible is kind of getting that ball rolling this year and last.

Sarah Brown                      

We just have time for one more question. So my question to you is based on what you've seen so far, what's the one word that you would use to describe CES 2020? Don't everyone jump up now.

Nick Mokey                       

I'll go first on this one because it's something I've been thinking about which is I'm going to say optimistic and I say that because I think in 2019, the atmosphere around technology in large part due to the privacy issues that you were talking about earlier really shifted, not just in the industry, but among friends, family, conversations I have around campfires. Viewed technology often, is a villain now. It's a very pronounced change and it's very refreshing to come to CES where technology is still kind of the hero, is still viewed as a way to solve problems, a solution to things. I've noticed that more of this show than at other shows and I don't know if that's because people are more optimistic at the CES or the atmosphere outside is just so much darker. But I very much appreciate sort of that entrepreneurial zeal and optimism for technology that I find at CES.

Jason Hiner                        

I'll say experimental. CES used to be a place where companies showed off products they were bringing to market and buyers came and decided, "Oh yeah, we want one of those. We need to get that in our store and that." More and more, it's a place where companies are showing off concepts and seeing what people get interested in and then they decide, "Will we actually bring that to market?" So that makes our job a little more interesting because our job has to be a little bit more analytical, a little bit more consumer advocacy. Thinking through these products, some look great in a demo, but they don't always pan out. There's problems with them. It might be a data privacy problem. It might be a usability problem or a problem with the fact that there are too many other products like it that do similar things. So the onus becomes on us to really advocate for the consumer and see, "Okay, is this being done in a way at a price, solving a solution that really is going to matter and have an impact?"

David Kender                    

I would say connected, which is not a new theme. We've been hearing that probably for 10 or 15 years maybe. But I love the fact that if you are coming out with a smart home product, you absolutely have to work with all the major ecosystems. If you are coming out with a TV, you have to work with every entertainment platform. You are no longer encouraged, in fact, the market actively discourages you from trying to build a top to bottom ecosystem where you own a device and you own the software and everything. You are forced to play nice with each other to a certain extent and ultimately, that's a win for the consumer.

Sarah Brown                      

Well, Dave, Jason, Nick, thank you guys so much for coming in and talking to us today about all of your thoughts on CES 2020. Big thank you to Deloitte for sponsoring this podcast today and make sure to download more a CES Tech Talk podcasts. Thanks, everyone.

Nick Mokey                       

Thank you.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right, coming up next time on CES Tech Talk, we are again on the show floor here at CES 2020 for a media round table conversation, new slate of journalists and a new topic. We are tackling digital health. That's coming up next time on CES Tech Talk. Now, a reminder to you  subscribe to the CES Tech Talk podcast, that way you won't miss any episodes and you can go back and catch up on some of the ones we've already aired, so you're ready for CES 2020 as it continues. Also good bet, download CES 2020 app that way you can track the panels, the exhibitors, the events that are taking place here this week. As always, none of this is possible without our stars: executive producer, Tina Anthony and our senior studio engineer, John Lindsey. You all are best in the business. I'm Tyler Suiters. Let's talk tech again soon.

Tyler Suiters                      

This edition of CES Tech Talk has been brought to you by Deloitte.

Hanish Patel                      

Hey, Tech Talk listeners. It's Hanish Patel from Deloitte's User Friendly, the podcast where my guests and I explore the latest trends in technology, media and telecom, and turn them into something a little more user friendly. We just launched season four and have some exciting topics coming up from connectivity trends to sports, through to digital reality. If you enjoy CES Tech Talks, I highly recommend checking us out wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. Until then, happy listening.

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