Highlights of CES 2020 for Service Providers

Jan 16, 2020Blog

At CES 2020, there was no shortage of new technology unveiled in Las Vegas over the course of the week. Big changes in Wi-Fi and 5G networking were announced, in addition to developments in AI and smart home technology. In case you missed out on visiting the show this year, we have you covered on the biggest trends, highlights, and announcements for service providers.

Key CES 2020 Highlights

  1. New Features of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G Networking – The Wi-Fi 6 standard has been on the tech radar since 2017. While some Wi-Fi 6 enabled routers and devices have already hit the market, a hot topic at CES 2019, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced a new designation of Wi-Fi 6: Wi-Fi 6E. Wi-Fi 6E includes new capabilities on top of the most recent standards current features. Wi-Fi 6E was designed with the 6GHz band in mind, allowing four simultaneous Wi-Fi 6 connections. Service providers are taking advantage of the faster Internet speeds by adapting their service offerings to include plans with faster speeds and advanced security services. 5G networking shares Wi-Fi 6’s promise of high speeds and high bandwidth. While other global tech shows tend to showcase the newest in smart phone technology, CES 2020 showcased 5G technology in the IoT market. Connected devices are reliant on the speeds and bandwidth that Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are offering. New and improved networking like 5G and Wi-Fi 6 offer more than just a performance boost. Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and 5G also drive IoT innovation and success, creating opportunities for more intuitive devices that require the improved network connectivity.
  2. Integrating Streaming Platforms – Amazon’s Fire TV platform is being tailored for cable operators, telcos and other video service providers. The new Fire TV Edition for Operators launched on January 6th in North America, Europe, India and Japan. Amazon kept the announcement vague but noted that Fire TV for Operators would provide partners with merchandising opportunities within the Fire TV interface. Dabby is taking a different approach to video streaming by consolidating subscription services and replacing other streaming devices or smart speaker. Dabby was designed to address the frustration of having to search multiple apps for content by integrating any streaming platform onto a single device.
  3. Smart Home – Industry leaders including Google, Amazon and Apple recently announced that they are partnering to create a unified smart home standard. CES 2020 focused on how manufacturers integrating connectivity into existing devices and applying the new networking advancements to improve device performance. With a platform approach growing in popularity, service providers are using it to build new smart home driven services. Using a platform to curate and integrate a mix of different smart home products simplifies the smart home experience for customers. Actiontec showcased Optim at CES 2020, a cloud-based managed service assurance platform that further simplifies the smart home for the Service Providers’ customers. Optim’s hardware agnostic, integration API’s and user friendly interface allows Service Providers to offer smart home management to their customers, giving them the tools they need to increase device performance, troubleshoot network connectivity issues, and enable enhanced security features, keeping their WiFi and connected devices secure.
  4. Networking Products with IoT Management – Killer Intelligence Engine introduced integrated AI-based processing into the networking components found in laptops and motherboards, enabling devices to automatically switch to the best access point available. Network optimization is essential for delivering better performance. Applying AI technology to network management offers new opportunities for service providers to implement similar technology to their customers. While Killer Intelligence Engine is integrating AI into new devices, Optim uses AI technology to improve the performance of existing devices in consumer’s homes. Through the use of machine learning and AI, Optim is capable of diagnosing potential network issues and using self-healing intelligence to reduce the number of issues the customer experiences. In addition, Optim features smart steering technology, directing devices to the ideal band for optimal performance. AI and machine learning driven solutions that include easy network component setup, automatic network optimization, and enhanced security tools add value to existing services while improving customer satisfaction and reducing the number of long tech support calls and truck rolls.

Intelligent Technology Trends

Artificial intelligence is an overarching theme at CES 2020 as it’s being implemented across devices. Mass integration into smart home devices and even into network management tools is considered an investment opportunity that will ultimately drive revenue. IDC expects 75% of companies will be using AI by 2022. At CES, panelists reviewed how customer experiences are becoming more dependent on AI integration.

As AI technology continues to develop, talks of deploying AI regulations are also beginning. This influences the operation of smart cities. For example, potential AI regulation would apply to drones, but wouldn’t apply to government use of AI. The proposal of regulatory principles focuses on preventing overregulation while promoting trustworthy technology.

Redesigning the Future of Cable

When Amazon developed an avenue of Fire TV for service providers, they recognized the value in pay-TV. Amazon isn’t the only one who sees this potential revenue stream. MobiTV partnered with dozens of US pay-TV providers on next-gen streaming products. Amazon’s move into the service provider sector adds competitive pressure to an already competitive pay-TV market, including Google, Apple, TiVo, and Roku.

The cable industry announced “10G,” at CES 2019, a network initiative that boasts symmetrical speeds of 10 gigabytes per second with low latency and advanced security. CableLab’s Mariam Sorond announced at CES 2020 that cable operators are now preparing to launch 10G field trials in the coming year. 10G is the cable industry’s response to 5G networking and a way for cable companies to stay relevant in the quickly evolving world of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G. In addition, Sorond also believes that 10G will create unique partnership opportunities.

If CES 2020 was any indication, we have a lot to look forward to in terms of smart home innovation, AI and faster than ever networking. For more industry news and research, check out the Actiontec blog.

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