It’s the biggest and most definitive tech extravaganza on the planet. Since Computer Electronics Show (CES) first opened its doors in June 1967, with 17,500 attendees and 100 exhibitors, it has grown exponentially with this year’s event drawing 170,000 attendees and 3,600 exhibitors.
The technology on display this year would most likely be dismissed as science fiction by attendees of that first CES, when the hottest gadgets then were pocket radios and televisions with integrated circuits. This year saw plant pots that watered themselves, self-driving cars, pain relief through mobile technology, and even a gadget that kneaded, rolled, and cooked.
A strong theme that emerged this year at the event was the oft-used but still rather nebulous ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), which has become the buzz phrase for every device we own, including washing machines, cars, and home security systems.
For your IoT smart home, the range of products on offer included Netatmo’s Welcome HD smart home camera with facial recognition technology and BitDefender Box that protected your smart home’s ‘connected’ devices from malicious attacks. With the big players like Apple’s HomeKit, Google’s Nest and Samsung’s SmartThing all set to make their mark, it’s only a matter of time before everything (and possibly everyone) has a chip or sensor to keep them linked.
Automobiles also got a little smarter with Audi sending a prototype with no driver all the way from San Francisco, California to Nevada and Mercedes-Benz showcasing its 15-foot-long ‘living room on wheels’. BMW and Volkswagen showcased their own take on automated navigational technology with self-parking vehicles capable of finding vacant spots in large garages.
There was a lot to see in the wearables segment as well, with smartwatches that tracked your fitness levels, sleep patterns, and even showed your Facebook and Twitter updates, with launches from players like Sony, Lenovo, Alcatel, Razer, and Withings. In a move that was clearly targeting a fashion-conscious female market, Misfit tied up with Swarovski for a fitness tracker, the Swarovski Shine, set with the company’s trademark crystals.
Wearables also made inroads into the healthcare market with NeuroMetrix launching its Quell pain relief device. Worn externally, the manufacturer claims that the device uses ‘non-invasive neurostimulation technology’ to control pain generated by nerves and does not require a prescription, according to FDA rules. However, most trend watchers remain cautious about predicting how well the wearables market will fare with the abandonment rate believed to be between three and six months.
Another trend that gained momentum this year was the sudden emergence of startups and small innovators, a number so significant that they had their own venue near the main convention center. One such crowd-funded innovation was PetNet, an intelligent pet feeding system (named a CES Innovation Awards Honoree for Home Appliances and Mobile Apps), that automatically fed your pet based on its age, weight, level of activity, and nutritional needs.
Looking ahead, however, the things one will have to watch for are if big data can really match our IoT demands, will wearables really live up to the hype that's around them, and what innovations are likely in the smartphone and tablet sphere. What do you think CES 2016 will bring? Please share your comments in the section below.