Here at Chargifi, we get pretty excited about all things new and innovative. We draw inspiration from the clever, the mad, the bizarre and the genius that comes from the world’s top tech companies, as well as the new kids on the block. CES in Las Vegas is a yearly salute to all these things, and exhibiting at CES is not only an opportunity for us to spread the word about our own ambitions and successes, such as our new game-changing partnership with Belkin International, it’s an opportunity for us to have a look at how all kinds of new technology could be utilised by businesses in the not-too-distant future. As CES draws to a close in Las Vegas, Chargifi staff members took their pick of what’s inspired them most over the course of the week.
The most popular topic among Chargifi staff was advanced voice assistant technology. CEO and co-founder Dan Bladen and Product Manager Jono van Deventer had Alexa on their minds, with Jono saying:
“This year at CES both Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant had a lot of airtime – including a large showcase of a plethora of Alexa-ready products. With the rise of IoT products being deployed across hospitality, Amazon has made it even easier to integrate with all types of hardware by offering Alexa Connect Kit, the assistant on a single chip. Google announced a similar product at CES, the Google Assistant Connect. As voice assistants become extremely popular in the home, the user experience of voice improves drastically and it’s now simple to add voice to your IoT products , I’m excited to see how this permeates hotel rooms in 2019 and beyond.”
While Dan added:
“Amazon Alexa was everywhere at CES, from smart glasses through to speakers and alarm clocks. It will be interesting to see the business applications of these developments, as the demand for voice assistant technology creeps into smart offices and hotel rooms. Automated concierges and personalised environment control are huge opportunities to enhance the guest experience within hotel spaces. There’s a raging battle between Google Home and Amazon Alexa and it was very evident at CES, with Google also making a huge push on Google Assistant Connect. It will be fascinating to watch the space to see who captures the B2B market.”
Paul Squires, Hospitality Business Development lead at Chargifi, saw opportunity in the emerging drone taxi market:
“The constant theme for me was the power issue. I was bowled over by the Bell Nexus taxi drone concept, which has the potential to alleviate congestion problems in urban environments, and transport guests around large venues. This is fabulous and exciting, but refuelling and the power supply will be key to the success of the concept. For safety reasons you don’t want a taxi drone full of petrol flying a few feet off the ground, and there is also the difficulty of where and how to refuel safely. One 5* hotel group has already asked us about the possibility of drones ferrying materials around their multi acre site, and I see the potential of wirelessly powered electric drones in the not-too-distant future.”
Ciaran Bradley, Chief Technical Officer at Chargifi was excited about the autonomous electric vehicle industry:
“Autonomous EV’s have great potential to change our lives. For the last few years at CES we’ve been treated to a glimpse of the future, and some controversy – this year was no different. As Bell Nexus flying taxis partner with Uber, the gap between road and sky seems to be closing, with Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen now referring to themselves as “mobility service” companies rather than just automotive manufacturers.
Despite the announcements at CES, 5G is still some way off. Carriers are arguing about what is true 5G but we’re starting to see the first portable hotspots, which people will remember is how 4G started before phones were widely available. However, the low latency and high bandwidth of 5G could really help unlock autonomous EV’s with telemetry for real-time decision making and high fidelity 3D maps.”
Dan Bladen echoed this sentiment, as the opportunity for wireless power was evident all over the floor at CES:
“Autonomous vehicles are on show everywhere at CES. I was really impressed by Lyft’s self-driving car technology, as well as the fully electric self driving cars deployed at CES by Keolis and Navya. The opportunity for wireless charging in electric vehicles is outstanding, and we’re convinced it will soon be a reality. Looking beyond the EV concepts, wireless charging technology in general was hugely prevalent on the floor, with more and more companies looking towards smarter ways of powering their devices.”