Rob Pegoraro, a Washington, DC-based freelance tech journalist who writes for USA Today, Fast Company, Yahoo Finance and other news sites, spoke on the panel "5G Meets Retail" at CES 2020, held January 7-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. He shared his insights with eMarketer about the digital landscape heading into 2020.
As you think back on your expectations for CES 2020, what were the biggest surprises for you?
I didn’t think I’d get a chance to get a ride in a self-driving car, but I did one morning from the Sands to the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). Someone was about to get into one of Aptiv’s BMWs and I asked if I could join him, since I was heading the same way.
A negative surprise was seeing such patchy support, if not outright apathy, for the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard. That could mean a lot to cord cutters, as well as local broadcasters. But TV manufacturers seem more interested in 8K sets that will be irrelevant to much, if not most, of the viewing population.
What is the biggest challenge businesses face as we head into a new decade?
News sites face serious and sustained problems with an adtech industry that doesn’t generate enough money while also snooping on our readers, viewers and listeners. Connected TVs do a lot of surveillance of their own. But among major vendors, only Samsung mentioned privacy as a concern, and they only talked about giving viewers a new app to adjust privacy settings.
What’s top of mind for you this year?
Privacy, privacy, privacy. While I don’t expect any new laws to come out of Washington, states will act on their own while such OS vendors as Apple will continue to implement their own regulation, in the form of default settings that block more online tracking.
Did you see this sentiment at CES too?
The privacy conversation hasn’t really reached CES yet. We’ll know it will when a major vendor announces not just a new privacy-settings app but plans to adopt data-minimization techniques to collect and retain less of their customers’ information.
What major tech trends, specifically, are you looking for in 2020?
8K TV, smart-home and smart-cities tech, wearables, and 5G.
CES 2020 was packed with keynotes, events, announcements and products. Which will have the most lasting impact?
Self-driving cars could have an enormous effect on how we get around. But after seeing my self-driving-car ride end in a traffic jam on Paradise Road, and then opting to walk the last three blocks with my fellow passenger to the LVCC, provided an effective reminder. Putting only one or two people inside a few thousand pounds of metal on a paved road remains a fundamentally inefficient form of transportation.
If you could pick one thing that should stay in Vegas, forever, what would it be?
CES traffic. Who else would want it?
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