The #CES2015 mission by the numbers: In 72 hours, you have to cover 2.2 Million square feet of exhibit floor, wade through over 3600 exhibitors, not to mention a record number of Kickstarter and Indiegogo startups. Oh, did I mention you get to do this with over 170,000 attendees?
Here a quick hit-list of trends for the coming year:
The Connected Home
This year the battle for the smart home continues as the big-time players with recent tech company acquisitions are gaining traction. We are starting to see more some fruits of their labor with even smarter appliances, smarter home devices such as Google’s “Works with NEST” initiative, or Samsung’s “SmarterThings” and Apple’s “Home Kit”.
Connected Cars with Self-Driving/Self Parking Functionality
As the automotive industry continues to squeeze more and more mobile tech into cars, we expect to see more integrated smart watch apps that help automate tasks or act like a remote control of the car. New platforms to connect the car to the “smart-home” will be coming and, there may be some devices that leverage Apple CarPlay or Google’s Open Automotive Alliance that were announced earlier in 2014.
Samsung and Apple don’t have anything big planned since they updated their flagship phones in 2014, but we expect to see some new smartphone accessories that extend the functionality of the smartphone. There continues to be innovation in new battery charging technology and new cases that offer more than just protection.
SmartWatches + Wearables + Fashion/Apparel
We think a lot of the smart watch tech innovation may be overshadowed with Apple’s Smartwatch looming on the horizon. While we’re sure see new and updated smart watches and possibly some cheaper ones, we don’t expect anything too revolutionary this cycle. However, this should lead to renewed innovation in Wearables, as we’ll have access to Apple’s new “HealthKit” platform. We expect to see smarter wearables that track and monitor more biometrics, well beyond sleep tracking and pedometers. Companies such as Adidas, New Balance and a few others are showing technology that moves away from the wrist to become integrated into the clothing, shoes and apparel.
3D Printing, Robots/Drones and VR.
These 3 categories continue to grow each year and, while they are still in their emerging stage, its always interesting to see what type of trajectory they have for the upcoming year. 3D printing may focus more on food, Robots + Drones will continue to get smarter and smaller. More personal drones with built-in cameras are debuting and VR looks to be on the horizon. Facebook, Sony, Samsung and Google are all working to become the dominant player for this specific category.
Smart TV’s Get Smarter, Faster and Better
Samsung is switching over all of its TV’s to their Tizen operating system which should make for a better experience for viewing, interacting and even shopping on TV. LG continues to evolve WebOS. This year, it looks like the big innovation is Quantum Dot, which basically brings better color quality to LCDs so they can compete better with OLED screens.
Cable TV’s Business Model is Under siege –
Dish debuted their cheap $20/month Sling TV service allowing people to watch an assortment premium channels on major streaming devices (Roku, Xbox One, FireTV) -as well as on mobile devices (iOS/Android) with no contract. A few other interesting devices like Sony’s PlaystationVUE and the Channel+ DVR were at the show, these platforms combine the streaming of over the air channels with some premium subscription programming. As if this isn’t enough competition – Netflix is in the process of certifying even more smart TV’s – and all of the new connected TV’s have streaming capabilities.