Spotlighting IoT at CES 2021
By Stephen Silver
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a frequent topic at CES for many years, going back to the time when such technology was more theoretical than real. Back in 2015, The New York Times reported that IoT tech had “hit home,” but the phrase existed, at least as a buzzword, even before that. At 2021’s virtual CES, held the second week of January, “5G and the Internet of Things” was listed as one of 11 major “topics” for the event, with four things — 5G, resilient smart cities, and sustainability — listed as subtopics.

Three dedicated IoT products received CES Innovation Awards. Hyundai Telecom’s Smart Home product was described as “a home IoT lighting bell that is installed on the surface of the wall of the house and is developed to easily communicate the status of the situation to users through visual information of color lighting.” Also honored was the open IoT platform from Security and Safety Things, which “does for security cameras what Android has done for smartphones.” And the third honoree was the SARA-R5 LTE-M modules with IoT Security-as-a-Service, from u-blox. One of the biggest names at CES, Samsung, in its CES keynote announced an update to its Galaxy Upcycling program, called Galaxy Upcycling at Home. The new program, Samsung said, “reimagines the lifecycle of an older Galaxy phone and offers consumers options on how they might be able to repurpose their device to create a variety of convenient IoT tools.” The software to make that possible will arrive later this year.
Bosch, in its presentation by CTO Michael Bolle, introduced a concept that they called AIoT, the marrying of AI and the Internet of Things. “To improve people’s health and to protect our planet, Bosch is counting on AIoT, taking advantage of the possibilities offered by data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to benefit people and the environment with technical solutions,” the company said in a statement.
Another company that illustrated IoT solutions at CES was a nontraditional one: The tractor manufacturer John Deere. Appearing at CES for the third time, Deere & Company’s chief technology officer, Jahmy Hindman, took part in a session called “Feeding The World With Precision Tech.” In an interview with Michael Josh Villanueva of Gadget Match, Hindman said: “Agriculture is a high-tech industry,’ noting that Deere has had a version of self-driving equipment for nearly 20 years. “Let’s start with connectivity,” he added. “Both of these two machines [tractor and planter] behind me are connected to the cloud, they’re connected with a cellular connection so they’re pushing data into the cloud, into what we call the John Deere Operations Center, where each grower can have access to that information.” In addition to 4G LTE and GPS connections, Hindman said, “We also have connectivity between machines,” and the different machines are connected by Wi-Fi. He added that they are “super-excited about 5G.” Another IoT product that got a positive reception at CES was Lutron’s Outdoor Smart Plug, which in addition to offering other features typical of smart plug — including compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit — is also weatherproof.
  • Even though CES was held virtually, IoT once again was one of the key themes discussed there, with “5G and the Internet of Things” listed as one of 11 major topics of the show.
  • IoT was brought up both by major keynoters like Samsung and Bosch, by smaller companies showcasing products at the event, and even by John Deere.
  • Three dedicated IoT products received Innovation Awards at the show, including offerings from Hyundai Telecom, Security and Safety Things, and u-blox.