After Hours

Five predictions for CES 2020

Much of the talk at CES 2010 involved reflections on the past decade. What will our reflections a decade from now sound like? Here are my predictions.

It's been fun to watch the quickening pace of innovation in the technology industry over the past decade. We've seen the rise of HDTV, the popularization of computers that fit into the palm of your hand (smartphones), the digitization of media to give users greater control over when and where they watch, listen, or read their favorite news and entertainment, and much, much more.

So, what will be talking about at CES a decade from now? There are some people who think there won't even be a CES ten years from now. I'm not one of them. The show might be smaller. It might have a slightly different name. It might even happen somewhere else besides Las Vegas. But I think there will continue to be a yearly technology convocation for many years to come.

For more insights the latest in tech, follow my Twitter stream: @jasonhiner

As for what we'll be seeing and talking about a decade from now, here's what my crystal ball says:

5. New models of Smartglasses

One of the biggest false trends of CES 2010 was 3DTV. The problem: Users don't want to wear those goofy 3D glasses when they're sitting on the couch or laying in bed to watch TV or a movie. However, people don't mind wearing glasses when they are out in public. That's why we're likely to see a new generation of technology that will put computer displays into glasses and give users a visual layer of information about the world around them, offer customized alerts, and interact with their digital devices.

These glasses, which will integrate with prescription glasses or sunglasses in many cases, will be able to discreetly do things such as provide additional information about real-world locations (similar to Yelp Monocle), do facial recognition on people you meet and search your social network contact list to find them and display their name, grab the name of the song that's currently playing on your iPod, and show caller ID and text messages coming in from your mobile phone.

4. Keyboard and mouse stage a sit-in

Despite lots of new touchscreens and gesture-based UIs that we'll see in various forms at CES 2020, there will be one technology that stubbornly refuses to budge: the standard PC interface of keyboard and mouse. Its death has been prematurely predicted many times. After all, the two partners look remarkably prosaic sitting there next to sleek LCDs with their bright screens and touch-based controls. However, in 2020 (just as it is in 2010), when people are ready to sit down and do some serious work, they'll still be using a keyboard and mouse -- even if the future models are made out of touch-sensitive aluminum.

3. End of the content wars

The next decade is going to feature some bloody platform battles in the digital content business. From TV to books to newspapers to movies, the distribution of digital content is going to see brutal turf wars and nimble new competitors who run circles around lumbering old institutions that try to hang on to outdated business models by walling off their assets into cute little gardens.

By 2020, most of this will have shaken out and there will be a handful of standard platforms. Most users will no longer have a newspaper subscription or a big cable TV bill (and thus, won't be paying for a lot of content they never use), but they will be making a lot more micropayments for their content. Most of them will ultimately pay less and the payments will happen behind the scenes. Users will simply "check their balance" like cellular minutes. The biggest benefit will be that content will be portable across all of the different screens a user interacts with throughout the day. You'll be able to start to read an article or watch a show on one device and then seemlessly pick it up on another as you move throughout your day.

2. User-centric computing model

Some of today's most useful new products involve syncing your stuff between different devices and locations. Syncing your files between a PC and a laptop and a smartphone, syncing your cloud data to your own private storage account, syncing your iTunes content between different computers, syncing your bookmarks between different systems and different Web browsers.

In 2020, all of this is going to be far simpler, and in some cases less necessary. We won't be talking about syncing. We'll be talking about ways to improve and extend the user-centric computing model. In this new model, your computing preferences, software, and data will follow you wherever you go, no matter which computer or device you use, and no matter which screen size or backend platform you're using. You'll have your choice of which provider you want to use to store and manage your data and preferences and all of them will come with about five free terabytes of data, and after that you'll have to pay a little extra. CES 2020 will be showing off new applications and devices that plug into that framework.

1. Screens replace TVs

Currently, the biggest spectacle of CES is the flat-panel TVs. The biggest booths -- Samsung, LG, Sony, etc. -- are overloaded with massive numbers of high definition TV panels. At CES 2020, there will be no TVs on display.

Instead, these TVs will be replaced by OLED panels that are roughly the thickness of a sheet of vellum. The screen will be virtually transparent and will have a miniature chip in one corner that wirelessly connects to any nearby peripherals and content sources in a process similar to paring a bluetooth headset.

What Samsung and Sony will be talking about at CES 2020 is how these new screens can be elegantly integrated into various types of walls or picture frames so that they fuse into the natural decor of your home. Of course, Panasonic will be showing off a 240-inch OLED screen that can cover an entire wall of your great room and people like myself will write, "Why would I want to do that?" To which, Panasonic and TechRepublic members will respond, "Because you can!"

So, the more things change ...

What tech innovations do you expect over the next decade? Join the discussion below.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.

19 comments
337
337

1 IPv6 internet toasters with multi slice/stack raid the internet fridge backward compatibility 2 Next gen *M Bond car with IOP technology (Idiot Owner Proof) 3 Ergonomic eco friendly ejecter seats with GPS tracking technology with safety harness as an optional extra. 4 Black Teeth wireless technology a completelly painfull way of exchanging high speed data via dentistry. 5 Virtual Dingo Fence currently being trialed in China this technology enables gatekeepers to zap anything not PC or deemed offensive handy for those pesky freedom of speech moments.

dbecker
dbecker

Over the next 10 years, I would expect that prices will go down and features will increase in 3D printing. There will be fewer trips to the hardware store to get replacements for those knobs on tool chests and if you need a set of plastic knives, forks and spoons for your potluck or picnic, you won't have to go anywhere -- just make them yourselves. In fact, since many parts of 3D Printers can be made by 3D Printers, expect that new and innovative services to be available for a price: Amazon.com may be selling custom designs for all sorts of things from plastic and metal cups to PC and cell phone accessories -- or the product themselves. The field is wide open. Are we going to keep pace?

sgsukhdeo9
sgsukhdeo9

OLED that cover the wall, what if we make many layers of this screen then we can really approach 3D without needing glasses

tony.maine
tony.maine

I'd like to see a smartphone and internet system that it's fundamentally impossible to hack so you can be sure when you're doing online transactions and the like that you're not being eavesdropped.

glenn
glenn

"user centric" thanks for the nomenclature. Yes I see flex led everywhere like in a car so no blind spots occur, or buildings that look transparent from the inside. What fun

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

To see HUD's in cars sooner than in a pair of specs.

htmapes
htmapes

The hottest segment will be privacy. With the ubiquity of the network, the ability to control access will be the highest-value function. Longevity will be the number one cash collector. With electronics and connectivity commoditized, margin will be in personal health and fulfillment. The buyers with money will seek physical enhancement, risk reduction, unique experiences. Computing and memory will be 64x denser, and consequently low-compute will be much more energy efficient. Your portable compute will have unlimited compute power and battery life from a practical standpoint. Things like brain memory will increasingly be supplanted by the cloud. The network will be everywhere. Every device, from glasses to appliances to street corners will be connected in some way. Look for a lot of small, niche access devices in the low-price segment. Think electronic pet. Holography will be the hottest technology. Merging nanotechnology and optics, you will be able to buy personal holograms that you can program like wearable clothing. Think social, not technology, as it will increasingly become invisible.

bobabrahams
bobabrahams

5. Glasses for multi-purposes will be replaced by electronic contact lenses. (Implants come later.) 4. The keyboard and mouse interface continue, but in a virtual way, sort of like the Wii interfaces. (Thought control comes later, but still in the keyboard/mouse mode.) They'll try voice command again, but it still doesn't beat the virtual mouse/keyboard. 3. Like the cell phone companies do now, the content folks will sell an "all you can eat" flat rate billing approach. 2. Microsoft will still try to get everyone to use the same user interfaces, content and so on. and 1. See number 5 - electronic contact lenses. Then no one needs a screen at all.

as400
as400

One day, phones and portable PCs will be and do the exact same things. We have had the technology to put SIM cards and radio transmitters/receivers inside laptop computers for years but the industry wants us to buy both a cell phone and a laptop$. This will change as cell phone functionality equals or exceeds that of many laptops and some people decide they no longer need a laptop. On the flip side, as laptops become smaller and smaller (for example Fujitsu's new pocket size laptop), some people will decide that a cell phone is redundant, especially as Wi-Fi access becomes the norm and free communication tools like Skype. Imagine no more syncing your phone to your pc. You just place your portable device next to a larger monitor/keyboard/mouse/printer and start working! DARE TO DREAM.

gvanan
gvanan

Total integrated healthcare supply - chain - provider - customer integrated system. All medical/health record will belong and be with the patients - on the cloud. Patients can choose the doctors/hospitals/(other healthcare providers)/insurance companies which will be allowed to view their medical records, all using a single Medical card. This storage which most probably be a RFID enabled, high volume storage card, will probably store all medical records information including your radiology images (which are normally huge in size). This card will have a online backup for obvious reasons and will most probably be associated with your national identity OR a large private sector medical insurance programme. Currently even though the health records belongs to the patients, there are NO control over it by the patients. All that is about to change with some very big players coming into the Healthcare Informatics market - Google Health, Microsoft HealthVault. With the current trend of hospitals adopting Hospital Information System, Electronic Health record usage will increase. Already there are case studies which prove the ROI(Return of Investment) on these system - Example: "REDUCTION OPERATION COST IN HOSPITAL BY USING ELECTRONIC ORDER ENTRY & RESULTS REPORTING SYSTEM ? 32% LESSER COST" http://gvanan.wordpress.com/ By G.Saravanan http://www.linkedin.com/in/gvanan http://twitter.com/gvanan

chancea
chancea

I would love for flexible OLED screens to become prevalent, as well as glasses (or contacts) that have HUDs. As neat as those both would be, I'm skeptical as to whether that will happen or not. I suppose only time will tell.

domiles
domiles

I recently read many articles that contend the cost savings is not there. And in 3 hospitals I have been in recently the systems resulted in: Doctors not reading my medical records, drugs that could be lethal to my type of heart condition being prescribed. Fortunately I was smart enough to refuse them. The result, I was noted as a "difficult patient". I really was on the band wagon for my records being available at the click of a key or mouse. Now I am not so sure.

mel897
mel897

I expect OLED will be ubiquitous sooner than that.

rmalako
rmalako

Just what we need, people walking around and driving with smartglasses. It is bad enough with pedestrians wondering through intersections distracted by cell phones and texting, not to mention distracted drives.

M_Teixeira
M_Teixeira

OK, maybe not in 2020, but then again the tech world is surprising us for decades. This will be the ultimate interface. Of course we need to control the implant with thought alone. The implant will have some external antenna to allow connection to the grid (ie the Cloud) this will be the biggest invention since the wheel

hellfire
hellfire

We already see rudimentary forms of implants in the medical industry. These largely prototype devices have allowed paraplegics operate computer mice by thought. Granted it takes a bit of time to learn how to do that, but I can see something a bit more robust/feature complete by 2020. The only thing I don't forsee is it's availability in the mainstream market. I'd give that another 30-40 years for technological perfection as well as wading past the politics.

Economix
Economix

If the gov't somehow got involved, AND YOU KNOW THEY WILL, brain implants will be a curse. Could you imagine the impact one 'fried' brain implant would cause? Although if properly used, which they won't be, they could be really cool and useful!

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