If you had had the chance to walk through the show floor at CES last week, you would have seen the underlying theme was connected technology. While “Internet of Things” may not have been the catchphrase of the show, connected devices were debuting left and right.
High Stakes in the Auto World
One of the areas where connected technology shined at CES is in the auto world. Carmakers are scrambling to put new technologies, including everything from self-driving cars to onboard wireless entertainment, into the pipeline and into production. In fact, Colin Neagle of Network World reports that General Motors' Gary Smyth, director of GM's Powertrain Systems Research Lab, indicated the company's goal was to have an autonomous driving car in production by 2017. Yet, Neagle warns, these technologies “pose challenges that could result in disaster if they are deployed before either the technology or the drivers are ready.” Stakes are high, but caution is still needed in the auto industry.
Health and Wellness Industry Continuing to Connect
Health and wellness products are not new to CES, and fitness trackers are becoming commonplace today, but innovation continues to happen in this sector. One CES Innovation Award Winner, DietSensor, offers a scanner that can analyze food at a molecular level to help people stay on track with healthy eating goals.
This is just one of many examples of health and wellness products that debuted at CES 2106. James Park, CEO and Cofounder of Fitbit, was interviewed this week by Kelsey Pommer of Consumer Technology Association. He predicts greater expansion of the use of connected technology in the health and wellness fields, stating, “The ability to track critical health metrics, like daily activity and heart rate, is still just the tip of the iceberg.” He went on to state that companies are looking for ways to attract all health and wellness indicators, including activity levels, sleep and nutrition, with just one device.
Where do I see wearables going? I see the biggest impact in healthcare. Patients may, in the future, be able to give their doctors permission to access the data on their wearable devices to make better decisions about their care.
Watch the Skies, the Drones Are Here!
One new product category that really ruled CES 2016 was the drone. New this year was the debut of a human-carrying drone. According to David Goldman of CNN Money, the 440-pound drone from Ehang can take off and land vertically and carry one passenger and, according to the manufacturer, may be safer than driver to work. While I don't anticipate getting to work via drone any time soon, I do anticipate based on the products found at CES that this will be the year that we figure out an actual use for these cool, techy drones. Who knows, maybe Amazon drone delivery will happen this year after all.
Connected Home Still Present But Not Ruling the Show
What was interesting at CES this year was that the connected home was not the ruling feature. In fact, Gear Patrol's annual Top 10 New Products List only listed one “smart home” item, and that was a home security camera. It also listed a home theater device, but that falls into entertainment more than smart home. By far fitness trackers ruled, as did drones and new tablet or laptop technology.