The Internet of Things will be supplanted by the “Intelligence of Things” as artificial intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly central role in the lives of consumers, according to the Consumer Technology Association, the trade group behind CES.

Steve Koenig, vp/research at the Consumer Technology Association, highlighted this topic during a keynote session at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

Over the last decade, he suggested, the development of hardware, software, apps, content, media and entertainment was largely related to a common theme.

“When we look across the consumer technology industry and the overall ecosystem today, how can we describe that dynamic? In the previous decade, I think it would be probably IoT: the Internet of Things,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: From Internet of Things to “Intelligence of Things”: how a new generation of smart gadgets will transform the consumer experience.)

Put simply, the Internet of Things rests on gadgets of every kind – be it watches, smartphones, cars, refrigerators or washing machines – offering digital connectivity, so the web is accessible to consumers at home and while on the go.

But, Koening stated, another profound shift is taking shape. “What's happening now, in this new decade, and what can we expect to happen as the next ten years unfolds?” he asked.

“Well, I think the answer is that we're increasingly confronted with an entirely new IoT – and that is the ‘Intelligence of Things.’”

In the 2020s, he forecast, the widespread deployment of artificial intelligence (AI), combined with the higher cellular speeds delivered by 5G networks, will transform how people (and brands) leverage technology.

This trend is likely to yield a wide range of products – from pristine 8K TV sets to smart mirrors, from voice-activated faucets to in-home robots – that rely on AI.

Lesley Rohrbaugh, the Consumer Technology Association's director/research, pointed to the “consumerisation of artificial intelligence” as fundamental to expanding the “Intelligence of Things”.

Along with a new breed of standalone devices, she continued, the move towards the “Intelligence of Things” will finally bring the smart home closer to fruition, having long been by envisioned by tech mavens.

“We expect, in the future, that the entire home will be connected. So, it's not just devices; it's not just the fixtures. It's the home itself: smart roofing system, smart walls,” said Rohrbaugh.

“As we think about smart home, we're on the forefront of filling that promise of true smart-home technology.”