Date:9 January 2018
Oh what a day of mind-bending announcements and pay-offs from the world’s leading technology companies. CES has become mostly a concept show in recent years, but it seems like all the big dreams of shows gone by are finally coming true in 2018. Let’s jump straight into the show-stopping announcements so far:
Nvidia will rule the cloud, as well as the autonomous car
Drawing from its graphics processing expertise, the US company is targeting cloud and on-device artificial intelligence processing with new super processors. In 2016 it unveiled Volta, it’s custom GPU architecture equipped with 640 Tensor Cores and Nvidia’s own CUDA (compute unified device architecture) Cores. Volta is now built on an advanced 14 nanometre process and is halving the size of data centre stacks in high performance computing installations.
That same Volta GPU is also at the heart of the go-to-market version of the Xavier SOC (system on chip) which will do the processing inside the DRIVE Pegasus AI platform. Xavier is said to handle 30 trillion operations per second while consuming a mere 30 watts of power, perfect for deployment in level 5 autonomous cars.
Volta is also inside the Nvidia Titan V GPU which packs 21 billion transistors and 110 TeraFLOPS of number crunching power into a slightly more beefy graphics card chasis. And Volta is at the heart of the Tesla GPU-accelerated server, which kind of shames CPU-only servers for size and efficiency.
LG will rule the connected home
If I was manufacturing home appliances after and saw LG’s incredible ThinkQ demo (except the bit where the robot stopped working, that was awkward), I’d stop immediately. The Korean company’s lead in inverter technology application is already insurmountable. It’s OLED display technology is the best in the business and now all the devices sing off the same Google Assistant or Alexa integrated connected platform sheet. Now if only it can get its smartphone marketing act together.
Samsung took a quantum leap
If you were paying attention to the incremental advances big blue has been making on its high-end TVs, Micro LED wouldn’t come as a surprise. Individual LEDs displaying colour without any organic matter removes all of the OLED issues while retaining all its advantages. We laughed at the complexity of Quantum Dot technology and backlight zoning, but look now. And making the new panels interconnectable to form larger screens is an incredible party trick.
Out of left field came the partnership with US network carrier Verizon to test the 5G network pilot project. Also the Harman purchase makes complete sense in the context of the new autonomous drive platform that will also run on 5G.
Intel pivot from drones to flying cars
You know that autonomous flying taxi demo in Dubai last year? That was Volocopter. Volocopter is now benefitting from all that amazing obstacle avoidance and autonomous flight tech in Intel’s Falcon 8+ drone. This isn’t vapourwear, it’s a working concept.
Hisense find a software solution
Our favourite sensibly-priced TV brand is finally using Android TV as its software of choice and this brings with it Google Assistant capabilities. Yes, Assistant is now fully available in South Africa, Google quietly rolled it out at the end of 2017.