CES 2019: 5 things to watch at tech's biggest convention

Technology’s biggest convention, CES (previously known as the Consumer Electronics Show), a four-day event that draws more than 150,000 people to Las Vegas, officially kicks off on Tuesday.

It brings in more than 4,500 exhibitors -- including huge names in the tech world like Microsoft and IBM, but also smaller startups -- who show off their newest, cutting-edge gadgets (some of which might not even go on sale in 2019, or ever). The keynote speaker this year will be Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

Here’s a look at what to expect from this year’s convention and what some of the hottest tech trends will be in 2019.

AI: Expect artificial intelligence to dominate CES in 2019, according to Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

“AI will not only have its own separate area at CES, it will be pervasive throughout the show,” Shapiro said. “It’s an ingredient technology to the future that will change our lives, keep us healthy, keep us safe in our cars and do so much more for us in every aspect of our life.”

Smarthomes like the Amazon Alexa and Google Home will likely be among some of the most-talked about devices next week.

5G: The heads of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, among others, will be presenting about this technology at CES, according to Shapiro. 5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, which is revamped about every 10 years.

The new technology, which is used by carriers and mobile operators, can enable technology like smarter homes and businesses, as well as self-driving cars.

“You’ll see a lot in 2019 and 2020,” he added.

Chips: Chipmakers like Qualcomm, AMD and Nvidia will all be attending this year’s CES, Shapiro said. During last year’s convention, all three semiconductor businesses introduced new products -- which can help video games play faster, pave the way for self-driving cars and allow for thinner notebook computers.

All the while, Qualcomm is entangled in litigation with Apple, less than one year after it managed to fend off an unwanted takeover by its competitor Broadcom.

Self-driving cars: Attendees will be able to test technology that could eventually be used to create self-driving cars, like parking assist, collision avoidance and emergency braking. Most likely, the 5G technology will also be used to further help self-driving cars evolve.

Who won’t be there: Apple, perhaps most notably, will not be attending CES. But it made sure that its tech competitors still felt its presence, taking out a giant ad on the building right next to the convention center that says “what happens your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.”