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January 24, 2022

CES 2022: Most Innovative Developments

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By Todd Erdley | President and Founder at Videon

My Technology Journey at CES 2022

CES is not an easy show to attend. With thousands of vendors, sometimes more than one hundred thousand attendees, and venues spread over much of the Las Vegas strip, you have to be game on. Or, you need to know how to read the show in order to spot themes that could be transformative.

All the while, you have to ignore the cool stuff that makes you say, "huh, that looks interesting." Full disclosure, I did stop at the Garmin booth to look at the coolest cycling computers. And I continue to wonder when those massage chairs are going to eventually evolve to people living in them like in the movie "Wall-E".

First disclaimer: There was not too much to see in Central Hall due to the likes of LG, Sony, and others not being part of the show. That said, I started to catch my first glimpse into a much-discussed topic of AR/VR. While we could talk at length about the tech supporting this, i.e., what Qualcomm is doing, where display technology is moving, and the types of glasses being released by various companies, I wanted to explore applications. Is there a compelling reason people will want to use AR/VR for broader markets that represent scale other than gaming?

The first hint of the application space came in shopping. The concept is you will use a VR headset to have a far deeper shopping experience. In the simplest way, VR can, in part, revive the brick-and-mortar experience. It looked rather interesting, but it was not clear it would stick.

Then I found AR applications focused on jewelry and makeup. And at these booths, I saw many people queued to check out the tech. This showed me that maybe, perhaps, not sure; AR/VR might find some resonance outside of gaming as a point of sale augmentation. I am not sure this will stick, but one can see several forces coming together, ranging from TikTok to online shopping to AR/VR tech, perhaps leading to the shopping experience as a scalable business model for AR/VR.

AR/VR, while interesting, is not what I came to CES to see. For 25 years, Videon has been able to read a show like CES to know where the most innovative development is happening and how Videon can align with that development in anticipation of applying it to our markets. This year the strong innovation was in the automotive space. The continued move to various driver-assist levels to autonomous vehicles is leading to fascinating technology movements in the semiconductor industry.

Key things that I noted in the semiconductor space as enabled by Qualcomm and Ambarella included:

  • Use of Image Signal Processing running neural networks to 100x increase light gathering capability
  • Ability to track hundreds of objects at a rate of 200 updates per second using machine learning
  • Integrating multiple sensors, including IR and video, within a single SoC to create a more accurate picture of the environment.
  • Integration with augmentative technology includes LIDAR and UWB.
  • A continued movement to lower and lower power devices, with <5W being replaced by <2W as the new benchmark.

The manifestation of this was on display at CES in the form of various robotic exhibits. These were "nimble" robots able to respond to unique stimuli instantaneously. It was impressive. While we will not soon be purchasing these robots, what we will be seeing is next-generation home vacuums or lawnmowers along with significant changes in agriculture and warehousing.

But what does this mean to the video industry?

From my vantage point, it is obvious. The fusion of information at the edge of the edge, i.e., where video is first created, will profoundly impact the workflows we consider today. It is not if AI/ML will be at the edge of the edge; it is how soon it will happen. And as it happens, the production of actionable intelligence in the form of metadata will rapidly outpace the importance of the raw video. Workflows that rely upon closed caption support, highlight clipping, and ad insertion will be totally changed thanks to actionable intelligence in the form of metadata produced by ai/ml at the point of video origination.

And these examples are just a starting point. We have not yet hit upon things like NFT's, video analytics, automation, security, industry, medical, or education. The possibilities are mind-bending.

It starts by moving compute power to the point of video origination. Thanks to the automotive industry's requirement to enable that, our industry will be the beneficiary. Videon's years and years of leadership, thanks to its deep understanding of SoC's and enablement of that technology to apply to unforeseen markets, will ensure we continue to lead the way in the rapidly evolving world of video compute platforms that are far more than an encoder, they are multi-function device enabling outcomes rarely considered.

CES was a great show to see clearly into the not too distant future.

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