CES 2020 Opens The Door On A New Decade

If it’s not the holiest of holies for those involved in payments and commerce, it sure comes reasonably close.

We are talking about the upcoming International Consumer Electronics Show, the annual conference and trade show in Las Vegas that goes by the moniker CES. This year’s event takes place Jan. 7-10, and what happens there doesn’t stay there (excuse the obvious joke) but tends to play significant roles in various industries in the following months and years.

In short, CES will help set the payments and commerce agenda for 2020 and likely beyond. We can’t tell you exactly what will happen at CES, not yet, but we can provide some decent ideas based on the published agenda.

5G

The new mobile network technology is being touted in a way that approaches the world-changing. That remains to be seen, but it’s clear that 5G is going to significantly impact not only retail and payments, but manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and other vital areas.

Not only will real and potential 5G players show off their newest toys and devices, but speakers will seek to illuminate the coming 5G future. That includes impacts on supply chains, so-called smart cities and vehicle automation, along with insights into security — always a prime topic for payments and commerce — and how 5G might guide further developments in the always expanding sharing economy.

AI

PYMNTS keeps taking a deeper focus on uses and potential use cases of artificial intelligence (AI) in payments and commerce. At CES, experts will explore how AI can influence virtual reality — including in the travel space, going through severe digital disruption already — how AI-enabled devices might impact people as they go about daily routines and consumer activities — another general focus of deep and original PYMNTS research — and the problem of bias in AI, which PYMNTS keeps covering as the technology moves ever closer to the mainstream.

Smart Homes

Regular readers of PYMNTS already know that one of the bigger trends of 2020 will certainly be the shift of more commerce-related activities to consumers’ homes as voice-assisted retail devices gain even more popularity (among other trends). Indeed, that shift gained some major energy in late 2019 when Amazon, Google, Apple and the Zigbee Alliance unveiled a new working group to create and promote the adoption of a new royalty-free connectivity standard to make smart home products more compatible.

CES is focusing a decent amount of time on smart homes. Topics are set to include how voice is changing healthcare — Amazon and Google are active in that area — and how to unlock all the data that comes from smart homes.

Automotive Future

We are not exactly traditional gearheads here at PYMNTS, but we do have expertise in the emerging ecosystems of connected cars and trucks, and autonomous driving. Indeed, as PYMNTS research has shown, the average American has a 51-minute, round-trip commute five days a week. That’s a lot of time to kill.

However, those consumers are finding ways to connect, and they already power some $230 billion worth of commerce. CES promises to dig into that general topic as the automobile industry, along with Big Tech and various other players, rush to build the new future of automobile transportation. The show in Las Vegas in early January will include programs designed to explore the next steps for autonomous private and public transportation — autonomous freight also promises to play a big role — and how such technology will itself connect to other digital ecosystems and services, which is among the biggest challenges and opportunities for this brand new decade.

That’s only a general picture of what CES is scheduled to do during this latest edition of the conference and trade show. Healthcare, product design, digital sports, robots, drones and gaming will also get their spotlights — and all have major impact on payments and commerce. It’s a brand new decade, and CES is one way to enter it.