What the future looks like according to one huge Shanghai tech fair

Five of the coolest innovations from this year's Consumer Electronic Show

Photograph: Janelle Chew
Consumer Electronics Show Asia (CES), one of the fastest growing trade shows in the region, went down in Shanghai earlier this month, and as usual, it showcased the full breadth and depth of tech innovation in the Asian marketplace over three days. Every year, top global companies like Audi and Huawei show off their latest products, both serious and fun. From the world’s first 5G tech to self-driving cars, here are our top picks from this year’s presentations.
Speech recognition

Speech recognition

iFLYTEK is the largest AI and speech recognition technology provider in the Asia-Pacific region. Out on the market only one week before CES, iFLYTEK’s new products, SR501 and SR701, impressed the judges and won the AI segment for this year’s Best of CES Asia Innovation Awards. 

Not only are its devices capable of processing real-time audio recordings into transcripts with a reported accuracy of 98 percent, they can also provide direct translations of voice recordings between Mandarin and over 60 other languages. There’s even a function for users to quickly sift through to specific info. Pretty perfect for a reporter holding an interview, a student taking down lecture notes or just about anyone trying to learn Mandarin, no?

Retail Technology

Retail Technology

Suning, one of the largest retailers in China, showed off a ‘smart shelf’ that can automatically detect when shoppers take an item, like fresh fruit, off of it and offer info like price, place of origin and date of arrival. It also showcased smart sensors that can detect the interactions a customer has with different products, such as how often they touch them, and give recommendations based on deduced preferences. Pretty much like a Taobao algorithm, but IRL. 

Self-driving cars

Self-driving cars

Automotive was big at the event, occupying a third of conference halls. The major standout: a self-driving car that Hyundai Mobis plans to launch within the next ten years whose functions, like AC, can be controlled by hand gestures. It’ll also capable of detecting passengers' emotions and change lighting and music accordingly.

5G

5G

5G technology was at the forefront of CES Asia this year, being essentially the next-generation mobile network that will be powering a lot of other budding technologies. It’s not just ‘faster than 4G’, but a whopping one hundred times faster, with larger data capacity and lower latency. As presented by Huawei, this means you’ll be able to turn on the heater before reaching home, control devices with your voice and drive without having to keep your hands on the wheel.

Facial recognition

Facial recognition

Facial recognition was one of many sci-fi technologies coming to life at CES. Chinese AI company ReadSense granted access into its secured premises only to verified faces. VeriSilicon, on the other hand, could track each passing patron and make educated guesses on their age and gender in hopes of helping advertisers make better marketing choices in the future. A few other uses of the tech included finding missing persons, analysing patients’ pain levels and emotions, as well as paying at unmanned, cashier-less stores. 

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