Lydia Babaci-Victor, Director of Development and Innovation at VINCI Energies, attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, held from 9 to 12 January. She analyses the 2018 event in seven keywords.

Ecossystem. “First observation: the connected technologies market has passed a milestone, reaching a degree of maturity with the advent of new business models and the development of industrialisation phases. Against that backdrop, industrial companies have made a paradigm shift by abandoning their proprietary standards and adopting open ecosystems instead, with respect to both the major web players and to start-ups. Everyone seems to have at last understood the need for interoperability if innovations are to spread. This calls for stronger partnerships between industrial companies and pure IT players to develop the broadest possible end-to-end solutions.”

Cybersecurity. “Today, everything is interconnected and that will be even more true in future. Cybersecurity must therefore be an increasing focus of attention for everyone. Yet the topic had a relatively low profile at the CES exhibition.”

“Everyone seems to at long last understood the need for interoperability to enable innovations to spread.”

Artificial intelligence. “Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence and conversational tools were ubiquitous in Las Vegas this year. The novelty was the strong presence of AI participants from outside the U.S., starting with China’s Alibaba Group, which has ambitious goals and presented strong innovations.”

Voice. “Voice is becoming the best way to interact with technology. The stars are two platforms that are probably the most developed in the field now: Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Another is Apple Home Kit.”

Mobility. “Connected and self-driving vehicles were as present as ever at the event. This year the focus was on connectivity with infrastructure, the prerequisite for this new stage of development. This is causing a major reshuffle in the value chain, giving the automotive suppliers greater weight as well as newcomers such as nvidia, which confirms its goal of positioning its processors at the heart of the connected car. French auto supplier Valeo presented noteworthy connectivity innovations including an astonishing dashboard that is in fact a large interactive screen. Along the same lines, another interesting topic is the issue of the supply chain, which inspired a large number of presentations of delivery shuttles and autonomous mobile shops. The Ford and Domino’s Pizza self-driving delivery car is a textbook example – albeit still experimental – of the test and learn process.”

Smart City. “On this topic, there has been a growing awareness among the players, with each asking how to use big data to offer new services via the Internet of Things. Here again, Alibaba made a splash with its City Brain artificial intelligence platform, a city monitoring service using multiple sensors. One disappointment at CES was the relative lack of focus on the Smart City. It would have been nice to hear more about it.”

France. “As we have often said in previous years, France again took a high profile at CES this year, coming in second only to the U.S. in terms of the number of start-ups represented. More important than the number as such, France’s presence again demonstrated the momentum of the French tech scene, which will be further amplified by the forthcoming Viva Technology event at the end of May.”