The Korea Herald


[CES 2021] ‘AI would matter more in life after COVID-19’

CTA eyes growth of digital health, intelligence of things, augmented reality and 5G

By Song Su-hyun

Published : Jan. 12, 2021 - 16:32

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(CES 2021 Website) (CES 2021 Website)

Artificial intelligence would take on a bigger role in people’s lives after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to forecasts by industry researchers at the Consumer Electronics Show 2021 Tuesday.

During an online press conference held on the first day of the annual tech tradeshow, researchers at the event’s organizer US-based Consumer Technology Association, pinpointed AI being at the center of changes occurring across industries since the virus outbreak and will gain more growth momentum in the years to come.

“AI and machine learning are underpinning the global economy, going into so many things, not just consumer tech,” said Steve Koenig, vice president of research at CTA.

Koenig cited a Algorithmia survey that 43 percent of IT leaders said AI and machine learning matter much more than they thought as a result of the pandemic.

AI-based robotic process automation is poised to become a $2 billion global industry this year, according to Gartner, he said.

With AI growing further this year, the CTA researcher mentioned “Intelligence of Things” would gain a momentum as well.

First introduced by CTA last year, the Intelligence of Things is a concept that was expanded from Internet of Things. The new IoT means that every object is not just connected, but they have AI capabilities.

“This new IoT would continue to grow this year and become even more important after the pandemic,” the researcher said.

Another area that the CTA brought up at the conference was digital health.

“Over the past few years, especially during 2020, we’ve seen the universe of digital health quickly expand, fulfilling demands and needs with our everyday lifestyles, fostering relations between us and health care providers and also providing new unique tools within health system itself,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research at CTA.

“The global pandemic has accelerated technology innovation and many pre-existing trends such as the desire for consumers to take hold of our own day-to-day health, whether it be tracking activities using a smartwatch, or managing food or water intake using an app on our phone,” she said.

When it comes to patient care, the number of resources skyrocketed over the couple of years, seeing robots and drones carrying medical supplies being used in formal settings, the researcher said.

The US market for health monitoring devices would grow 34 percent from $632 million in 2020 to $845 million this year, and continue to grow by over 10 percent annually to reach $1.25 billion by 2024, according to CTA data.

CTA researchers also introduced augmented reality and 5G as key areas to keep an eye on.

In a separate online Q&A session, Koenig said 2021 could be a year of augmented reality.

Although Facebook and Apple are not participants in the CES 2021, it is highly expected that the two tech giants would launch AR glasses this year.
Chinese TV maker TCL also showcased a new virtual reality glass during its press conference on Monday. 
(CES 2021 Website) (CES 2021 Website)

The CTA researchers called 5G as the framework of the 21st century, and highlighted the impact of the network on various industries.

Mobile carriers in the US, China, Japan, Korea, Germany, France and the UK have increased their investments in 5G by 10.8 percent in 2020, according to data by IHS Markit.

5G-related jobs are also expected to rise to 22.8 million over the next 15 years.

As a keynote speaker, Verizon Chairman Hans Vestberg said, “5G isn’t just another tech innovation, it’s the platform that makes other innovations possible,” during his online speech.

Calling 5G “the enabler,” Vestberg unveiled Verzon’s major projects using the 5G network, such as an immersive learning platform with Smithsonian, a drone delivery service with UPS and Skyward, and hosting virtual performances in partnership with Live Nation Clubs and Theaters.

By Song Su-hyun (