CES 2016 - A Year for Evolution not Revolution
It’s easy to get caught up in cool prototypes and exciting concepts when looking at the Consumer Electronics Show, but it’s important to take a step back and think about the larger trends, and how it sets a tone for the year ahead. Ideas like virtual reality and fully automated cars are exciting, but still developing, while smart technologies, drones, and personal devices continue to advance and become more common. A common sentiment among reporters seems to be that 2016 will be a year for evolution, not revolution.
The smart market is expanding farther every year. A hotspot for this year is Baby Tech. As Randi Zuckerberg, founder & CEO of Zuckerberg media, said “What happens when an entire generation of entrepreneurs and inventors — with access to capital, data, and engineering talent — all have babies at the same time?”.
From Owlet, smart booties that track baby’s heart rate and send information to your smart phone, to Mimo, a monitor built into a onesie that shares information about movement and breathing, safety seems to be the primary concern of Baby Tech.
Another booming area of smart technologies is wearable tech – things like smart watches, or the fitbit. While they’re designed for the fitness buff, to monitor their heart rate and workouts, Fitbit is proving to be more widely popular, even with kids, who like competing to see who can get their step count the highest. As these technologies are getting cheaper and more versatile, no doubt they will become even more prevalent.
A lot of other areas are showing growth and promise, but are yet to really hit the market. Virtual reality continues to hold faith, with big names like Sony’s PlayStation VR, the Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive on track to release in 2016. Self driving cars are still an exciting prospect, as well as other developments such as AI, wireless charging for electric cars, and hydrogen power, all being looked into by major names such as Chrysler and Toyota.
Taking a further step back, there are a lot of broader things being said about the direction for 2016. From executives to investors, coders to target audiences, more and more positions are now being filled by women. Female reporters have commented about how encouraging they find it to see more women speaking at the convention, rather than being promoters or “booth babes”.
Others are saying there’s another market on the rise – a market for fun. Niche technologies that exist to slightly improve quality of life in a very specific way are resonating with people. It seems that people appreciate when we can stop taking ourselves quite so seriously, and enjoy a machine that lets you print photos onto your latte. While whimsical products can sell themselves on the fun, problem solving products have to make sure they’re targeting something people actually consider a problem. With ideas like a fridge mounted tablet, that allows you to shop online and will require updates, people are asking themselves the question “Does anybody want this?”. When developing a new product, we should be keeping this question in mind ourselves.
These are just a handful of things we’ve been reading about post-CES, but there are a lot of thoughts being thrown around, so if you’re interested in hearing more, there are a lot of articles detailing more individual thoughts from con-goers.