Who says the New Year’s party is over? It is still going on. Well, at least for over 170,000 people in the tech industry and tech geeks. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 has arrived marking a significant milestone for itself—the world’s biggest tech event celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Tech Trends Expected at CES
CES has mostly been about tech giants showcasing their creations, but in recent years startups arechanging the game. The credit for which partly goes to crowdfunding and the help from governments as well as other national bodies. It will be a proud moment for entrepreneurs from France, Israel, Ukraine and the Netherlands participating in the exhibition.
But China has the potential to shine all the way with its 1,300 exhibitors.
“Every year at CES I meet the people who work on the technology that affects our lives and you can see literally every part of the tech industry represented,” said BBC’s Innovation Evangelist Robert Scoble to the BBC.
All these products will make their presence felt at this year’s CES. However, the other trends—some new and some usual—expected to grace the show includes drones, voice-controlled interfaces, AI, robots, and wearable tech. Also, trends such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), the IoT, 3D printing, and beauty tech will take things up a notch at CES 2017.
Smartphones, which had been dominating at the CES during last few years, may slow this year. Companies like Sony, ASUS, Huawei, LG, and TCL are expected to make plenty of announcements.
Though it’s difficult to predict the outcome of trends at the CES, here’s a preview of some of the biggest innovations to be showcased at the event.
Artificial Intelligence—the Hero of CES
AI could be the show stealer at CES 2017. This machine learning technology which trains computers will be present in almost all the products that will be on display at the conference.
AI acts as the “brains” of any autonomous machines you could think of —including robots, drones, self-driving cars, all smart home appliances, intelligent speakers, and many more.
Bright, Big Televisions
Televisions have always been the crowning glory of CES. This year the conference is ready to flaunt the largest and brightest: 4K and 8K TVs with HDR.
The electronic giants—Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic—will create an amazing spectacle of their products along with other companies like TCL, Hisense, LeEco at the show. 4K TVs have become way cheaper and expect more 4K programs to roll out in 2017.
Which model is right for you? LCD, OLED or Quantum Dot? LCD is Sony’s strength, but the company may release some OLEDs in 2017. LG will be displaying its OLED TVs, but Samsung has worked on Quantum Dot—which makes the screen brighter—and feels that it is the future of television screens.
Cost wise, LCDs are getting better and are cheaper than OLEDs, whereas a Quantum Dot TV is costlier than the LCD.
Expect to see a new generation of 8K TVs to be on display at the CES. HDR will become a regular feature of TVs in 2017 and so far there are three competitors in the HDR space. HDR10 outpaced Dolby Vision, but then there is BBC’s HLG. So it remains to be seen. Smart TV technologies—Chromecast, Roku TV, Android TV, webOS, and Tizen will also demonstrate their innovations.
Autonomous, Intelligent, and Electric Vehicles
CES has almost become synonymous with the automotive industry so much so that that it is now jokingly called the “Car Electronics Show.” Every year, the number of innovations in cars and car tech, displayed at the event, increases—and 2017 would not be any different.
This year CES will show off not only smart and autonomous cars but electric vehicles as well. Automotive Industry Heavyweights such as BMW, Mercedes, Ford, VW, Hyundai, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, and Faraday Future will attend the show.
More vehicles are equipped with cellular data connections, so be sure watch for more software and gadgets installed in the connected car. As far as in-car tech innovations, BMW will demo its HoloActiv Touch system, in which driver uses finger gestures to interact with graphics that pop out of dashboard screens.
Meanwhile, automotive equipment maker Continental will display its facial recognition tech that recognizes the driver and adjusts the seat positions as well as the mirror and accordingly.
Besides cars, CES will witness some groundbreaking alternative transport innovations including an independent hoverboard, smart scooter that switches off its power if it detects an accident and a rideable motorized suitcase.
Voice and Gesture
Voice control system will play a bigger role at CES this year than it has in the past. Voice-activated technologies are expected to double to 10 million in 2017, stated Shawn Dubravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association.
Alexa is the voice inside Amazon Echo which has a head start in the voice sssistant game, but Apple’s Siri and Google Home are not attending the CES.
Manufacturers of smart cars, lights, thermostats, and even door locks have synced their devices with Amazon’s platform.
OnVocal’s wireless earphones, GE’s table lamp, and Sonos’ wireless speakers will be powered by Alexa. Harman Kardon’s high-end audio speaker and toaster will incorporate Microsoft’s Cortana, while the AIVIA speakers will host Google’s cloud-based intelligence. Bixi, a French start-up, will display its gesture control technology allowing users to control tablets and smartphones with just a wave.
Drones Flying High
Like 2016, this year’s CES will see Drones proving their mettle in many areas, including military, agriculture, security, high-speed racing, criminal examination, underwater diving, entertainment and cinematography, and package delivery among others. Chinese drone-maker DJI is the market leader right now. However, there is enormous scope for cheaper and superior alternatives with new capabilities.
Intel will showcase its new Aero line of drones that have been deployed up in the skies at Disney World.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
VR may be the next big thing, but there are a few years before it reaches mainstream consumers. High quality and costly goggles or glasses are essential for a worthwhile VR experience and expect VR be huge this year at CES.
Facebook-owned Oculus—which became the show’s favorite where it first appeared in 2013—will not be present this time. Oculus’ rival, HTC is quite popular at CES, but it’s not clear whether the VIVE headset will be updated. While Sony and Samsung have launched their VR headsets, Huawei is working with an Oculus team member, Steve LaValle, to unveil its VR plans at the show.
VR technology is used in games, real estate, travel and many other visually-driven business applications. A significant portion of the headsets is aimed at the Chinese market which, which constitutes a big part of the global VR industry.
FOVE’s VR headset with eye-tracking abilities for gamers and Intel’s Project Alloy headset that lets you see real-world objects in a virtual world—will be demonstrated at the CES.
Augmented reality (AR), a technology where graphics interact with the real-world—will be a significantpart of this year’s event.
AR technology is also built in smart cars to project navigation and notifications are on to the windscreen for example.
AR will be inbuilt in the Asus handsets, based on Google’s Project Tango which is a depth-sensing technology.
Internet of Things Everywhere
CES 2017 may witness big brands talking about their IoT projects with startups creating and displaying secure IoT devices.
Last year introduced a steady rise in internet-connected devices including washing machines, security cameras, refrigerators, door locks, lights, wearables, vehicles, thermostats, and health products—all of which can be controlled from your phone. IoT like AI will be found in just about every product displayed at the CES. It’s crucial for companies to put security measures in place for the consumers while creating IoT-based products for them.
CES may showcase the latest but not always greatest gadgets. Some of the things showcased in Las Vegas you will never find in stores. You’ll never hear about them again after the event, let alone find a reason to use them.
Still, that doesn’t stop tech companies from making and marketing products in the hopes that these products will click with the consumers or partner companies. What a win-win for both!