Every year, the tech world descends on Las Vegas for CES—the Consumer Electronics Show—to share and discover the latest tech trends, as well as get some sneak peeks of the near future. Most notably, the show is a great opportunity to preview the gadgets, technologies, and services that might become dominant in the years to come.
This year’s show had the usual assortment of the weird (toilet-paper-delivering robots), the wild (flying Uber cars), and the expected (lots and lots and lots of 8K televisions).
But it also featured a few under-the-radar trends that anyone in the telecommunications industry will want to take note of.
Is the 5G hype train running out of steam?
Ask anyone in the industry and they’ll tell you the same thing: 2020 is the year of 5G. We’re constantly inundated with talk about how 5G will revolutionize the way people, businesses, and devices connect and interact.
And while that may in fact come to pass eventually, the revolution doesn’t appear to be imminent. In fact, the presence of 5G at CES was largely underwhelming, with most of the talks and showcases centered around 5G mobile phones and 5G cellular coverage. Ultimately, this simply amounts to slightly faster mobile data.
Perhaps this is just a sign that, at CES, attendees have high expectations to see things that are truly new and unexpected. And believe it or not, in this landscape even something as potentially groundbreaking as 5G is now old news.
What does this mean for telecom players? In a world where more and more devices are competing for wireless connectivity, wired internet access to the home or business remains as important as ever.
Wi-Fi 6 is finally here…
Speaking of strong wireless connectivity, this year’s CES appears to have been the coming out party for Wi-Fi 6. Technically, this new wireless standard isn’t new. A slew of Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices debuted at CES last year, but they proved to be far from affordable.
This year looks to be a different story, with Wi-Fi 6 set to be included in more and more consumer-friendly laptops and routers that won’t break the average consumer’s piggy bank.
The appeal of Wi-Fi 6 is pretty simple. While it won’t result in significant speed increases, it does offer much-needed extra bandwidth, allowing routers to scale with the increasing number of devices in any given home or business.
Smart home platforms could be an opportunity for telecom players
Last but not least, there was a specific press event at CES that caught our attention. It focused on the rise of smart home platforms and the opportunities they present for service providers such as telecom companies and cable operators.
For instance, while smart home devices remain popular retail devices, the real opportunity lies in the platforms that can stitch those different devices together seamlessly. Comcast, for example, recently launched a new smart home services platform, in which customers can access and control their smart home devices through their TV and mobile apps.
The upside to consumers is a simplified, seamless experience. For telecoms this isn’t just a value-added service. It also ensures the business is in a position to keep pace with evolving consumer expectations.