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Celebrate Innovations With Global Tech Show

Consumers are starting to understand more about data and become more discerning about which companies and devices they trust.

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Technology
Avatarmind's iPal Smart AI Robots, designed to be companions for children and elderly, perform calisthenics during the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 9, 2018. VOA

Amid trade wars, geopolitical tensions and a decline in public trust, the technology sector is seeking to put its problems aside with the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual extravaganza showcasing futuristic innovations.

The Jan. 8-11 Las Vegas trade event offers a glimpse into new products and services designed to make people’s lives easier, fun and more productive, reaching across diverse sectors such as entertainment, health, transportation, agriculture and sports.

“Smart” devices using various forms of artificial intelligence will again be a major focus at CES.

Visitors are likely to see more dazzling TV screens, intuitive robots, a range of voice-activated devices, and folding or roll-up smartphone displays. Also on display will be refinements to autonomous transportation and gadgets taking advantage of 5G, or fifth-generation wireless networks.

But the celebration of innovation will be mixed with concerns about public trust in new technology and other factors that could cool the growth of a sizzling economic sector.

Technology
People look through Sony PlayStation VR headsets after a Sony news conference at CES International in Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2018. VOA

“I think 2019 will be a year of trust-related challenges for the tech industry,” said Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research.

CES features 4,500 exhibitors across 2.75 million square feet (250,000 square meters) of exhibit space showcasing artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart homes, smart cities, sports gadgets and other cutting-edge devices. Some 182,000 trade professionals are expected.

Much ado about data

There will be a focus on artificial intelligence that can “personalize” a user’s experience with a device or a car, or even predict what someone is seeking — whether it’s music or medical care.

But because this ecosystem is built around data, confidence has been eroded by scandals involving Facebook, Google and other guardians of private information.

“The public is wary because of recent events,” said Roger Kay, analyst and consultant with Endpoint Technologies Associates. “I think the industry will be slowed by this skepticism.”

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said, “You’ll definitely hear people talk about security more, and really looking at how you secure the data,” at CES.

Technology, robot, inventions
The mock killer robot was displayed in London in April 2013. (VOA)

Trade frictions

The Consumer Technology Association, which operates the show, acknowledges that the sector is being hurt by tariffs and trade frictions between the two largest economic players, the United States and China.

Tariffs on tech products jumped to $1.3 billion in October, according to CTA, raising fears about growth.

“It’s almost inevitable that an economic slowdown will occur if these tariffs continue,” said Sage Chandler, CTA vice president for international trade.

The U.S.-China trade issues and the arrest of a top executive of Chinese giant Huawei in Canada have thrown into question the “supply chain,” the system in which U.S. designs are manufactured in China for the global market.

“This does cast a shadow over CES,” O’Donnell said.

AI and personalization

The auto sector will again have a major presence at CES with most major manufacturers on hand, some with prototypes of self-driving vehicles.

Technology
Attendees wave at Honda robotics concepts 3E-C18, left, and 3E-A18, at CES International, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 9, 2018. VOA

Japanese carmaker Honda will be showing an “autonomous work vehicle” which can be configured for search and rescue operations, firefighting and other uses.

Other exhibitors will be showing technology designed to serve as the “brains” of self-driving vehicles, not only for navigation but to create a better, more personalized “user experience” for travelers.

The show includes startups offering “predictive” health care solutions designed to anticipate the kind of care senior citizens may need.

Facial recognition, which is already being used on many smartphones, will be incorporated into vehicles, doorbells and security systems as part of efforts to increase personalization and improve security.

And consumer products group Procter & Gamble, making its first appearance at CES, will demonstrate ways to use facial recognition and AI for improved skin care and beauty recommendations.

The new applications raise questions on whether consumers are ready for technologies that evoke the notion of Big Brother and a surveillance state.

Brenda Leong, senior counsel at the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington think-tank, said consumers should be mindful about whether data from facial recognition is kept only on the devices, such as in the iPhone, or held in a database.

digital video technology, technology
HD Television with digital video technology. Pixabay

“Even if commercial institutions are collecting the data, everybody is worried about government access,” she said.

Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said consumers have shown a willingness to adopt these new technologies if they offer convenience.

“If they are balanced from a benefit point of view, those worries are going to go away,” he said.

Moorhead noted that as facial recognition has become a standard feature for many smartphones, “those fears have faded.”

Also Read: U.S. Army Sparks an Industry Battle After it Looks For Robots

O’Donnell said consumers are starting to understand more about data and become more discerning about which companies and devices they trust.

“Personalization is something people want, and they are willing to give up some privacy to get it,” he said.

“But if they can get personalization on the device without sending it to the cloud, they get the benefits without giving up privacy.” (VOA)

Next Story

Infosys Opens Technology Centre at Phoenix in Arizona, US, to Accelerate Innovation for Its American Enterprises

The centre, housed at the Arizona State University (ASU), will focus on autonomous technologies, Internet of Things (IOT), full-stack engineering

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Infosys, Technology, Phoenix
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey inaugurated the centre in the presence of state officials, company executives, employees and representatives of a few enterprises. Pixabay

Global software major Infosys has opened a technology centre at Phoenix in Arizona, US, to accelerate innovation for its American enterprises.

“We will hire 1,000 American techies over four years to work at the centre in the southwestern state for the local enterprises,” said the city-based IT behemoth in a statement, here on Saturday.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey inaugurated the centre in the presence of state officials, company executives, employees and representatives of a few enterprises.

The centre, housed at the Arizona State University (ASU), will focus on autonomous technologies, Internet of Things (IOT), full-stack engineering, data science and cyber security.

Infosys, Technology, Phoenix
Global software major Infosys has opened a technology centre at Phoenix in Arizona, US, to accelerate innovation for its American enterprises. Pixabay

“Our investment in the centre will attract local and global talent. Hiring is underway to recruit around 500 techies by 2020 and reduce the IT skills gap in the state,” it said.

Infosys Chief Executive Salil Parikh said the Arizona centre, the company’s sixth of its kind in the US since 2017, was set up to help local enterprises go for digital transformation at the earliest.

“The centre allows us to collaborate with our clients across the country in an agile manner,” said Parekh.

The centre will also leverage and empower the workforce to bridge the skill gap in the market and accelerate the digital agenda of its clients.

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“Our focus will be on harnessing, modelling and scaling a new model for workforce development in the US, where the private sector has a key role to implement it (model) or learning and on-the-job training,” said company’s president Ravi Kumar.

The centre boasts of living labs, showcasing prototypes in virtual reality, augmented reality and robotic technologies and will help foster co-creation, training and collaboration.

Lauding Infosys for foraying into the state, Ducey said its presence reinforced Arizona’s reputation as a tech hub and one of the best places to relocate and expand.

The centre will allow the company to develop cross-functional solutions to pressing business challenges in machine learning, artificial intelligence, user experience and advanced digital technologies, such as big data and cloud.

Infosys, Technology, Phoenix
“We will hire 1,000 American techies over four years to work at the centre in the southwestern state for the local enterprises,” said the city-based IT behemoth in a statement, here on Saturday. Pixabay

As part of its commitment to workforce development and bridging the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skill gap in the US, the $11 billion outsourcing firm also announced a partnership with InStride to allow its employees complete degree programmes and education courses through ASU.

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“Infosys’ commitment to Arizona and learning speaks of the strength of talent in our community. We welcome it as a partner that will boost our competitiveness in the global economy,” said ASU president Michael Crow. (IANS)