It’s called the Consumer Electronics Show, but really, CES is a showcase of the future. Over three days across Las Vegas, attendees are shown how tech will create a strange, beautiful new world. Each year there is normally one brand that garners a lot of attention for its innovation and vision: this year it was Samsung, that most future-facing of organisations.
Samsung launches #TheAgeofExperience
So what better way to kick of this year’s show than with a keynote from the Korean tech giant? The President and CEO of the Korean tech giant’s consumer electronics division, Hyun-Suk Kim, took to the stage in front of an audience of thousands of delegates on Monday evening to explain Samsung’s vision for the future. That vision has the consumer very firmly at its heart, and ushers in ‘the age of experience’. In a world where 74% of us value experiences over products, Samsung has set out to provide consumers with meaningful experiences and memorable moments through the seamless use of innovative, unobtrusive technology.
Help in the home
H.S. Kim and some of his colleagues took delegates on a journey to show them how Samsung innovation will create these meaningful experiences for ourselves, in the home and in cities. We were introduced to Ballie, a small, spherical robot that understands you, supports you and reacts to your needs so that it can help you around the home. It can follow you around the home (without getting in the way) and can even help you look after your pets and instruct robot vacuum cleaners to clean dirty floors!
A personal fitness assistant for all
Another way in which Samsung has harnessed AI to support personal care is its fitness assistant, which pairs the existing GEMS outfit with other devices such as AI glasses and a smart watch to help users meet their health and fitness goals. GEMS and AI glasses can also be used to help people with disabilities to move and see, reinforcing Samsung’s promise to enhance people’s lives.
The home as a living organism
The GEMS demo showcased how the blurring of the physical and online worlds is allowing homes to act as other spaces too, including fitness studios, art studios and entertainment spaces. The home is becoming a living organism, an intelligent and deeply personal space that tailors experiences to our individual needs. Smart kitchens will be nutritionists, chefs and shopping assistants, giving meal recommendations based on your workout and what is in your fridge, putting missing items on a shopping list and even recommending wine pairings. Another exciting innovation revealed was the cooking assistant ‘Chef Bot’, a large pair of arms suspended over the kitchen worktop which can help you to whip up a meal.
Building the smart cities of the future
Samsung’s innovations demonstrate how the internet of things is expanding to make our lives easier in a personalised, non-intrusive way. But it is also growing its reach beyond the home and into the cities that so many of us inhabit. A key challenge facing us in the future is the rise of megacities (cities of more than 10 million people): it is predicted that by 2050, 70% of the global population will live in cities, with 42 megacities. This poses questions around how housing provision and transport will cope: and this is another area in which Samsung is finding smart ways to converge technology, building the cities of the future. Building structures will sense when there is a fault and send an alert before it becomes a problem, while residents will be able to manage deliveries, energy and other services with a simple voice command. Meanwhile, 5G vehicles such as the Digital Cockpit will communicate with one another and the passengers’ personal infrastructure for seamless, safe and clean transportation.
Prioritising data privacy and security
Of course, smart technology which so fundamentally affects and enhances our lives will require a huge amount of data, which Samsung will need to harness in order to ensure that its products deliver on their promises. H.S. Kim underlined the company’s commitment to data security and personal privacy, emphasising that they will be a top priority as technology advances and that customers will always have control over their information.
Experiencing the future
After Samsung’s keynote many in the audience were eager to visit Samsung’s space on the show floor and it didn’t disappoint. In their huge space we were treated to futuristic demos from the Chef Bot, Ballie and Bot Air, which cleans the air in your home, and witnessed a simulated demo of Digital Cockpit, which uses 5G to link features both inside and outside the vehicle, and provide connected experiences for driver and passengers. Dominating one end of the Samsung space was The Wall, a modular ‘as-big-as-you-want’ MicroLED screen – the iteration they had on display was a huge 7.4m (292 inches), and the colour, contrast and quality are mind-blowing.
The GEMS exo-skeleton was also on display, as were a huge array of connected living devices and of course the high-quality laptops, tablets, smartphones and TVs that Samsung is so well known for.
A bold vision for the future
Samsung clearly feels huge responsibility: to provide meaningful experiences and memorable moments for consumers, to protect their data whilst making their lives better, to ensure that tech is a force for good, and to educate the next generation of innovators. It’s a big task but they are well positioned to deliver on it all, and more. The future is a strange place: Samsung’s innovations make it even stranger but also reassuring: technology will ensure that our lives run more smoothly and more healthily so that we can focus on what’s important. As H.S. Kim said in his concluding words, Samsung will dream big and defy barriers with people at the centre, for a better today and tomorrow. What could be more exciting than that?
Image: Alex Matthews