Last year, as we curated the floor, it was difficult not to trip over the sports applications. You want to box with a robot? Row with a mystery team? Play AI assisted field hockey? There genuinely wasn't a sport that didn't receive the AI-assisted mixed reality mashup. It made for a fun-loving tour full of photo ops.
This year, it's a completely different story. Sports applications are few and far between. The eSports gaming truck is gone. Even the brilliant Whirlpool booth full of smart kitchen goodness isn't here this year. Instead. the technology on show is considerably more, well. considered.
Wellness has evolved from a sports and fitness focus, into offerings that focus on sleep, mindfulness and sexual health. Want a speaker that modulates music to your brainwaves? Check. Want an application that suggests what you should eat based on your DNA? We have that too.
Security is always front and centre when it comes to smart home, but interestingly we're also seeing more technologies that tackle the wider environmental issues within the home, with a big emphasis on water and air quality. This is all critical, helpful technology. Which would you choose: a robot that can teach you how to box or a sensor that tells you when your home is in danger of being flooded?
Yes, it's a sober assortment this year at TechWest. Are their bright spots? Absolutely. AARP Labs is taking an upbeat approach to aging well with technology - an example being SingFit which is exactly what it describes. Who doesn't want the speaker-enabled Kohler shower head, for all of us shower singers? And who can resist the P&G booth's GoLab take on Charmin, redefining the quintessential low-interest category through technology? Those bright spots are brilliant at breaking up what is an earnest and useful assortment of technologies that take on real needs states.
This year, 2020, will likely be a year of mixed emotions. The floor at CES Tech West already reflects that.