Did you miss seeing the Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas ?
In January, the big story in tech is always the Consumers Electronics Show (CES), which is held in Las Vegas and just wrapped up on January 9. CES is where manufacturers roll out the gadgets and gizmos they’ll be releasing in the near (or sometimes far) future.
It’s the biggest commercial gathering in the world, spread across a dozen different halls, with 3,600 exhibiting companies commandeering 2.2 million square feet of floor space in the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center and other venues. This year, 170,000 people showed up for it.
As in 2014, there was a big emphasis on the Internet of Things (IoT), i.e., the move toward getting all of our household devices connected online. This is no small trend. There are now about 10 billion net-connected devices, or 1.5 for each human being on the planet. Tech research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, the number will jump to 50 billion, or 8 per person, and the IoT market will be three-quarters of a trillion dollars. Nearly 30% of 2015 CES exhibitors were introducing products and services in the IoT sector.
Among IoT-related offerings at the show:
- Samsung’s SmartThings Hub proposes to organize all of the connected devices in your home regardless of what platform they run on. The company’s CEO promised that by 2017, 90% of its products would be connected to the Web.
- SmartThings Hub is compatible with the Apple HomeKit for iOS8, introduced last summer.
- For $270, the Ring by Logbar can turn your finger into a magic wand.
- Sengled smart light bulbs incorporate add-ons like Bluetooth speakers and WiFi repeaters.
- IoT pioneer Nest (acquired last year by Google) announced 15 new smart device integrations as part of its “Works with Nest” program.
- Smarter unveiled a WiFi-controlled tea kettle (it also makes a WiFi-controlled coffee maker)
- Home security devices were plentiful, including Netatmo’s “welcome camera,” with facial recognition capabilities
- Babies received a lot of attention, with a number of devices introduced that monitor everything from their body temperature to how long their little heads have been underwater, and send that information to a mobile device.
- Pets, too. If you just can’t bear to be unconnected to your dog, you can get a smartcollar like the Fitbark or Motorola Scout 5000.
- And, of course, with all those Internet things wired up, you’ll need to make sure intruders don’t gain control of them. That’s what Bitdefender’s Box is for.
And some other attention-capturing new items:
- The TAO Chair allows you to perform various isometrics exercises while seated.
- The D JI Inspire 1 handheld gimbal isn’t ready for production yet, but prototype testing indicates that it’s very successful at stabilizing video images even when the camera operators moving. That should have amateur videographers everywhere drooling. And for capturing extreme sports from every angle, there’s the 360fly action camera which, as its name implies, captures a 360-degree field of view.
- For personal transportation, the show featured everything from the IO Hawk (preorder one for $1,800), which is either a Segway minus the handle bars or a self-propelled skateboard:
- to the Rollkers, electronic “undershoes” that allow you to walk twice as fast as normal;
- to the electric Gogoro Smartscooter; and all the way up to the Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen-powered car available in October, and the Mercedes Benz Luxury in Motion car of the future (not coming anytime soon), which features an automated driving option and the interior comfort of a mobile lounge.
- No surprise that drones and 3D printing were well represented. Here’s a gallery of some of the unmanned aircraft from 16 different manufacturers and samples from the 57 printing vendors present.
All in all, while the 2015 CES didn’t yield anything revolutionary, it did suggest a fun year ahead in technology.