CES: Key takeaways and how our 2024 predictions stacked up

Recently, the Trustonic team headed to the sprawling casinos of Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show [CES] 2024. Held annually and organized by the Consumer Technology Association, CES is the world’s most powerful tech event and serves as a proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators. It brings together more than 135,000 attendees, and sees the highest-profile tech brands collaborating, forging important new partnerships, and showcasing the groundbreaking products that they’ve been working on. Simply put, CES is one of the few places where the trends that will come to define the global tech industry over the next 12 months and beyond are set.

From a Trustonic perspective, the event offered a prime opportunity to connect with other players in the cybersecurity space, and share ideas for enhancing protection from the growing threat of cyberattacks. We had lots of fruitful conversations with potential partners, and there was plenty of interest in our Trusted Execution Environment [TEE] solution, which is positioned as the ‘gold standard’ for consumer Internet of Things [IoT] cybersecurity.

CES also allowed us to reflect on the key cybersecurity predictions that we made for 2024 at the tail end of last year. While these were only published a few weeks prior to CES, what we saw and heard at the event came as a strong indication that much of what we predicted is already taking place, or soon will.

Gaming and AI were high of the agenda

For example, one prediction that we made in both 2022 and 2023 was that we would begin to see the automotive industry exploring gaming as the potential next big, in-vehicle digital service. While BMW had already announced a partnership in 2022 with AirConsole to provide ‘casual gaming’ in new vehicles from 2023, OEMs have only scratched the surface of what’s possible with in-vehicle gaming so far.

However, the German automaker’s showcase at CES centered around the introduction of more gaming and video streaming options into its vehicles. Specifically, BMW announced that vehicle owners would soon, for the first time, be able to use real video game controllers while playing on the go, with over-the-air [OTA] software updates to enable this functionality set to be released in 2024. This announcement showed that our prediction was correct, and hinted that we will see other OEMs following suit in the near future.

Another prediction we made was that the automotive industry would start thinking about the role of ‘offensive’ AI tech, and how security should respond to the emerging threat of attacks. With AI having grown at such an alarming pace in recent years, cybercriminals have wasted no time in harnessing the technology’s capabilities for their own nefarious means, using it to carry out more sophisticated attacks than were ever previously possible.

It was our belief, however, that OEMs would begin to invest more time and money into researching ways to use AI itself as part of a vehicle’s security infrastructure, marking a move from ingress detection to ‘behavior detection’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, AI proved to be a big focus at this year’s CES, with everything from personal assistants to applications of predictive maintenance being showcased at the event.

From an automotive perspective, there was a clear indication that OEMs are intent on increasing their efforts to integrate AI into vehicles. However, the emphasis was primarily on the role that generative AI can play in enhancing driver experiences, rather than on how it can bolster cybersecurity. For example, Volkswagen presented the first vehicles in which ChatGPT is integrated; a move that the manufacturer claimed would provide ‘accurate and relevant responses to nearly every query imaginable’.

Following this announcement, it’s inevitable that other OEMs will also start to roll out ChatGPT across their ranges, which will likely lay the foundations for wider conversations around the integration of AI, including in-vehicle cybersecurity. As such, we remain confident that our prediction about the rise of offensive AI will prove to be correct in time.

A few surprises

Meanwhile, China featured prominently in our 2024 predictions, with us forecasting that the nation’s tier one and silicon vendors would seek to gain a stronger foothold in the West. Additionally, we anticipated that Western consumers would start to change their perceptions of Chinese OEMs brands in 2024, as their dedication to both build quality and cybersecurity begin to be more widely realized.

Given the waves that China is making in Western markets, we were expecting the country to have had a stronger presence at CES. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a healthy offering of Chinese exhibitors, but it was certainly our belief that they would dominate proceedings and grab the biggest headlines from the event. While this wasn’t the case, it is true to say that there was plenty of respect for what Chinese OEMs are doing among the exhibitors we spoke to, particularly around the nation’s manufacturers’ work on software-defined vehicles [SDVs].

It was hugely encouraging to hear this from so many Western OEMs, as it suggests that they too will be upping their game when it comes to SDVs in a bid to remain competitive with their Chinese counterparts. This would only be positive for the development of more sophisticated SDVs in future, which in turn would bring added benefits to vehicle cybersecurity.

While we were expecting China to make a much bigger splash at CES than it did, what we didn’t see coming was such a huge presence from Korean brands. Hyundai Motor, for example, made a big announcement around its plans for hydrogen energy, while Mobis showcased 20 new mobility technologies that can be immediately applied to mass production.

Elsewhere, Kia’s first return to CES for five years was particularly eye-catching from a cybersecurity perspective, with the company announcing its vision for the future of its Platform Beyond Vehicle [PBV] concept. This is a total mobility solution that combines suitable electric vehicles [EVs] with advanced software solutions based on Hyundai Group’s software-to-everything strategy.

As part of its plans for PBV, Kia will seek to evolve its vehicles into ‘AI-based mobility platforms that use data to interact with users and help keep vehicles updated’. This not only highlights the rise of data-driven driver experiences, but also the need for robust cybersecurity to protect against the growing threat that attackers pose to the preservation of user data.

However, the biggest takeaway from South Korea’s presence at CES was that the nation’s OEMs are clearly serious about making a play for their fair share of the US market. With China also making massive inroads in this regard, Korean brands will certainly have their work cut out for them, and Western manufacturers must also take decisive action if they want to avoid being left in the dust by their East Asian competitors.

We’ve no doubt that we’ll see plenty more exciting innovations and announcements from Korean OEMs when the Trustonic team attends InterBattery – the country’s leading battery and EV exhibition – in Seoul next month.

Viva Las Vegas

All in all, 2024 has delivered yet another excellent CES, underlining the growing confidence in many market verticals. The Las Vegas Convention Center, and related locations, once again proved to be an excellent venue, and the level of preparation that goes into putting the event on is clear to see. It was great to connect with such a diverse range of exhibitors and attendees alike, and get a closer look at the trends that are set to dominate the automotive industry for years to come.

We’re pleased that CES provide evidence that much of what we predicted would happen in 2024 will play our during the course of the year, or at least showed signs that our other predictions may well come to pass soon. While there were undoubtedly a few surprises, this goes to show just how exciting the event truly is, not to mention the fluid and ever-evolving nature of the automotive industry.

Roll on CES 2025 – and Viva Las Vegas!

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