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New Tech and Innovation at CES 2024

Below we highlight the most interesting innovations and technologies that could impact both your firm and your home in the near future.

Roman Kepczyk, CPA, CGMA, at CES 2024.

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Consumer Technology Association, the host of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) since 1969, which has bounced back from the COVID hiatus with over 135,000 attendees during its annual meeting in Las Vegas in early January.

[See Roman’s companion article on “Crazy Tech” from CES 2024.]

While the primary focus in attending and perusing the show floors is to identify techs and trends targeted towards the accounting profession, we also come across non-accounting innovations that are simply worth sharing as they give us a glimpse of the future. Below we highlight the most interesting innovations and technologies that could impact both your firm and your home in the near future.

PCs add NPUs/Copilot Key for AI: Neural processing units (NPU) are microchips designed specifically for accelerating the use of generative artificial intelligence and automated machine learning applications which reduces the burden on the workstation’s CPU (central processing units) and GPU (graphics cards).  Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. all touted their next generation of laptops with an integrated NPU as well as the addition of a new button on the right side of the spacebar that will launch Microsoft’s Copilot feature!

Both the NPU and the Copilot key are setting us up to make AI a standard part of our work life.  Regarding the devices with these features,  I have long been a proponent of the Dell XPS laptops as the best of show (including their latest 14” and 16” models), however the technicians at the INTEL booth were raving about the new HP OMEN as one of the most technically advanced laptops available giving Dell XPS a run for your money.

Multi-Screen and Display: Last year we touted the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i dual screen laptop for uber-cool mobile use, ASUS has upped that ante this year with its Zenbook DUO having two 14” 3K OLED screens and a detachable keyboard. For additional monitors, a company called Xebec also announced its “Snap” monitors that attach to laptops, which garnered them an honorable mention for CES’s Innovation Awards. But as a more practical solution, we continue to lean towards the ASUS ZenScreen and ViewSonic portable monitors for adding displays when you need them in the field.

Blockchain: Blockchain technology was touted as revolutionizing the auditing profession, but instead faced major public backlash for failures in the crypto currency arena. I attended two sessions on Blockchain utilization, and innovative adoption is coming from unlikely places: gaming, loyalty programs, and security, where the blockchain is hidden in the background so users don’t even know they are using a blockchain. 

Starbucks has enhanced its customer loyalty programs to include digital promotions, experiences, and merchandise.  This rewards system utilizes a private blockchain to track individual’s points and make them transferable for rewards or to other people. In the gaming realm, real currency is used to purchase virtual merchandise (game skills, weapons, decorative skins, etc.) which can be freely traded, with a transparent chain of ownership (without mentioning that a blockchain is tracking authenticity and ownership). 

Samsung announced the use of a private blockchain to secure smart appliances in the home with its Knox Matrix, which will inform you if one of the devices needs a software update or if it has been compromised (and protects the rest of the devices). The big takeaway from these sessions is that there are significant innovations happening with blockchain technology that are proofing practicality in the technology that will one day make it integrated into accounting and auditing transactions.

Fujitsu End of an Era: For the past two decades, the Fujitsu name has been dominant in accounting firms as the top tax source document scanning brand garnering 70% of firm purchases in the most recent CPAFMA IT survey. With Fujitsu’s acquisition by Ricoh, we now see the rebranding as evidenced by the most recent Ricoh ScanSnap iX1600 which has added a “Receipt Edition.” This latest version is 33% faster than previous models and has a Receipt OCR processing feature that can transfer that data directly into existing QuickBooks Online accounts, again highlighting the use of AI and machine learning.

While PCs, scanners and mobile technologies are always of interest to accountants as a consumer, below here are some other highlights we felt worth sharing.

Larger and Transparent TVs:  LG showed off its 4K transparent TV which is a cool innovation that allows you to see through the TV (maybe place it in a window in your conference room?). Samsung also announced its prototype, but transparency was more of a “cool tech” than a consumer-ready product for you to buy. More importantly Samsung announced that its TVs will have built in Google Chromecast for wireless broadcasting, and they now come with five years of updates which was touted as “getting a new TV each year.” 

As always, uber large TV announcements are a mainstay of CES and this year’s pitch is for upgrading your current 85” to the latest 98” which is only 11” wider on your wall but had 33% more screen real estate.  TCL has a 98” available on Amazon for $2,999; order today and you may get it in time for the Super Bowl!

Timekettle X1 Interpreter Hub: Another press conference I attended announced a real-time multi-language interpretation system that allows you to easily communicate with non-English speakers.  Users can read translation on screen in their native language as well as hear it in the earpiece for both face to face, and online meetings. This product was cool as it does simultaneous two-way translation (i.e. if two people are arguing and talking at same time) instead of the “walkie-talkie” devices that only translate one person at a time. 

Imagine using the device to do live translation if watching a foreign language television movie or show.  Similar live translation features are starting to be pushed out with the generative AI solutions pointing to the ability for individuals to communicate with anyone in the future without the need of a human translator.  A competitive product we saw called Verbum worked inside of Microsoft Teams to provide meeting transcriptions automatically for multiple languages, so it has never been easier to build a global practice.

Samsung Ballie: During Samsung’s press conference the updated version of their home robot was announced which looks like a yellow volleyball that can roll around your home or office and let you see what is going on (like a remote-control car with a live webcam) as well as project images or movies on the wall or ceiling (stars and galaxies at bedtime).  Other similar techs include LG’s Home Patrolling AI robot which honestly is somewhat bizarre today, but this is an early generation of devices that will help lead to elder-care robot companions that we will ALL need in the future.

Urban eMobility: Urban electric devices from scooters, to bikes, to motorcycles were prominent throughout the CES show floor and one of the coolest was Verge Motorcycle’s California edition which had a 217-mile range and a design without a rear axle.  eMotorcycles are definitely in the cards in the future, but for now I’ll stick with by eBike to get around town and maybe a desk cycle to ride while I’m at my standing desk (LifeSpan Desk Cycle pictured above).

While we saw practical innovations in these products, CES provides an opportunity to stretch your technical imagination with items that are crazy, silly, bizarre, whatever, which we share here: (See CES Crazy Gadgets) for your entertainment.


Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA.CITP, CGMA is director of Firm Technology Strategy for Rightworks and partners exclusively with accounting firms on production automation, application optimization and practice transformation. He has been consistently listed as one of INSIDE Public Accounting’s Most Recommended Consultants, Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People, and CPA Practice Advisor’s Top Thought Leaders