CES 2018 has now concluded and this year’s event was all about getting smarter – everything from speakers, appliances, robots and home goods are getting extra smart through AI and voice recognition. There were some really exciting innovations being released and showcased at CES this year and much of the excitement is about your voice – everything from speakers, appliances and robots are getting extra smart through Artificial Intelligence and voice recognition technologies often powered through Alexa or Google assistant.

Let’s take a closer look at the major CES topics:

Vehicle Tech

This is an area with across-the-board improvement via artificial intelligence, voice recognition and improved battery-power. For example:

  • Panasonic made a deal with Amazon’s Alexa and is now going into automobiles.
  • Toyota released its futuristic self driving E.Pallete for “stores of the future” that bring shopping to you.
  • Legacy players like Kia, Ford and Toyota filled CES to the brim with concepts of new battery electric vehicles and newcomers like Byton and Lucid also staked their claim as competition for the Tesla Model 3.

Air Taxis

  • Intel’s Volocopter 2X made a big splash by taking flight for the first time in one of the large presentation halls and Uber’s air taxi by Bell was on display. By 2023 it will cost as much as Uberx.
  • Surefly Hybrid Electric Helicopter.


CES wouldn’t be CES without robots and they continue to be a CES hot item:

  • Pepper is a robot who can read feelings and can tell if customers are sad or happy. Sprint is currently using Pepper in stores to communicate with customers.
  • Aeolus is a smart robot run on Alexa that can act like a security guard and even go around your home and bring items to you. Need a beer during the big game? Let Aeolus get that for you. It’s a guy’s man cave dream come true.
  • Aibo is Sony’s latest generation of robots which responds to touch and has surprisingly organic movements.

Automatic Translation Tools/Earbuds

  • Anyone that loves to travel should look forward to automatic translation tools. There were various items on display from hand-held devices to in-ear buds that are a lot better than carrying around a dictionary. Mars earbuds allow you to talk in two separate languages in real-time and are slated for release this summer.

Home Smart Speakers

Also known as digital voice assistants, home smart speakers are being well watched as they’re touted as a 4th channel of retail and are easily integrated into other technology.

  • Ownership of smart speakers, is projected to hit almost 40% in the U.S. in 2018.
  • CES this year saw a huge run of products that bank off of Alexa’s voice recognition including Alexa-powered headphones, mirrors, showers, light switches and even smoke alarms.


US consumer tech industry revenues are expected to increase by about 4 per cent to $351bn in 2018, propelled in large part to the surge in these types of items.

Overall, the big question at CES was whether Google Assistant or Alexa will end up being the go-to for products in the future.  Smart products need the technology to power it and that race right now is between Google Assistant and Alexa.  Apple is late to the game. Right now, Amazon’s Alexa is at the forefront of voice recognition and you’re seeing a multitude of products that are harnessing that technology to create smart homes.

It will be interesting to see how everything plays out in 2018.