CES Fairs are enormous. I would even say they are super
enormous and overwhelming. Almost 180 000 participants,
3 600 exhibitors, over 220 thousand m2 of surface of
exhibition halls and as much as 20 000 premieres of new
devices.The numbers are impressive. Nonetheless, I would not
treat this year's event as some sort of breakthrough.The
majority of the world's technological mass media also agree
on that. No revolutionary solutions were presented, also I did
not notice any devices which in the nearby future would
constitute a breakthrough or create a separate category of
technology.This does not imply, however, that last year in
which such inventions could have been created, should be
perceived as in one innovatively wasted. On the contrary.
The discussed stagnation (I prefer to use the term of catching
a breath by technological companies) results, among others,
from a current place in technology development cycle in which
we are now.
On the one hand, solutions debuting this year are not so
impressive as could be expected, while on the other, the
market is already loaded with many extremely promising
technologies, which developing rapidly, but still remain at
the stage of perfecting and optimisation predating their
launching on the mass market.This process requires time,
therefore the technology market is presently in
a temporary phase. It has also been emphasised during all
discussion panels which I had listened at, and it is worth
mentioning that, the organizers have invited to LasVegas
the top leading personalities of the largest market players.
Among all the technology areas, presented on CES, the
following 5 category most heavily caught my attention.
Not only with the sheer size of it but, first of all, with many
examples of perspective innovations included into them.
You will probably be surprised that I am going to write about
cars here, but the presence of automotive brands on CES this
year truly equals "CarWars". As much as 9 manufacturers and
115 companies from a broadly understood automotive
industry has prepared their stalls. I have started my tour of the
fairs exactly from this hall and for a moment I thought that
I probably was not in LasVegas but in Detroit where almost at
the same time had started the automotive NAIAS Fairs.
All present companies emphasized the development of EV
vehicles (ElectricVehicles) and either presented them (the
premiere of economic Chevrolet Bolt), or clearly highlighted
the advanced works being in process.
Of course the buzzword in the automotive hall was the phrase
"autonomous vehicle". It does not mean, however, that any of
the exhibiting companies intend to present a ready
autonomous car this year.
More was said about the plans. KIA announced works on
their project,Toyota mentioned an investment for this
purpose, in the amount of 1 billion USD, GM wants to build
a fleet of ride-sharing together with Lyft (thus, the
investment for the amount of 500 million USD in this
company), andVolvo promised test drives with Concept 26
model in 2017.
On the other hand, while peeking into the interiors of vehicles
presented at fairs I noticed the discrepancies in issues of the
interface. It is not entirely sure whether in the future we will
control the vehicles using gestures (BMW), touch (concept by
Bosch orVolkswagen BUDD-e) or sophisticated buttons or
knobs (Garmin would like that).
In the context of Connected Cards trend, a large focus can be
noted on the greater exchange of information on the line
car – house and car – car.The vehicles of the future are to be
platforms of communication and even the extension of
functionality of smartphones (among others, according to
Faraday Future the manufacturer of a futurist, vehicle
When visiting a part of the CES halls devoted to a house and
the so-calledThe Internet ofThings it is impossible not to get
the impression that the manufacturers would like to make all
the household appliances smart and connected to one another
soon.The problem is that the manufacturers themselves
currently have got any idea (willingness or business) how to
develop a common standard for the products delivered, so that
these could communicate with each other even when they
come from various companies.
The lack of idea for unification of platforms and multiplicity
of products available are two main disadvantages of that
sector and they loudly discussed by e.g. the representatives
of Samsung, the company that wants to be a leader in the
context of IoT and – as the company itself emphasizes –
by 2020 it wants to deliver "Full IoT home experience".
As everybody knows, the larger possibility of integration of
various devices, the greater meaning the customers will have
in making their houses more or less smart.
In the opinion of many a one-of-the-kind smart hub of
an intelligent house will be a fridge, which as the only
device is working 24h a day.The aforementioned Samsung
presented Family Hub fridge with a huge touch screen,
which, in cooperation with MasterCard allows to make
purchases directly from the level of its doors. In this way
the most popular film, related to the IoT technology has
become reality. However who does not remember predictions
that one day "our fridge will know when to buy milk”.
From now on it will know, because there are 3 cameras built
in into its interior, making real-time pictures of the content,
which are shown on an external screen. Such fridge selfie can
be probably called fridgsie (?).
The range of products from the Smart Home category was
really wide in LasVegas. Starting from minimalist buttons
automating and shortening processes (Flic or a project
belonging to a Polish company Fibaro – Button) through
intelligent safety cameras identifying faces of people and
unknown cars (Netatmo Presence Security),Whirlpool
washing machine in the Social Good trend, which for each
laundering provides a fixed amount of money for a charity
goal, to the Hydrao shower head intended to change the
habit of wasting water.
It is one of the most interesting trends that I noticed on
this year's CES.The products come back which until recently
we could boldly call the oldschool or in theVINTAGE style.
Furthermore, there is also a comeback from a slightly
forgotten brands or those which has been forgotten because
they slept through the period of changes in the industry,
in which they operated.
Kodak appeared on CES with very a large exhibition stand,
presenting among other... headphones. However, the iconic
camera Super 8, which brought up a numerous popular
contemporary film directors is to experience a true
renaissance. Despite 50 years of history, the refreshed product
received many digital functionalities which it will certainly
did not have in its first generation. A popular boom box also
returned the potential of which was once again noticed by
the Monster company.
Polaroid Snap, is in turn a product of a very fancied and
slightly forgotten brand, which presented on CES, among
others, very simple cameras (without LCD display) that print
the taken photographs. In the opinion of many, it is one of the
most warmly received "debuts-returns" of this year's event.
I also liked Snap, its price included (99 dollars).There will
appear also a slightly more expensive version of this product
(Snap+), equipped with a screen and possibility of wireless
connection. In the case of Polaroid, the products are one
thing, and re-emergence of a brand favoured by many slightly
older enthusiasts of photography is the other.
On CES theVW BUDD-e was called a nostalgia on wheels.
The electric vehicle refers to the worshipped minibus from
1960, although its futuristic form and wide range of
equipment with do not have many things in common with
significantly older brother. Manufacturers also want to bring
back the fame of gramophones and listening to vinyl. Many
companies, e.g.Technics, Sony, Crosley and even Polaroid
presented modern versions of these devices. Some time ago
Tesco promised the introduction of gramophones for sale in
the stores in the UK.
All panels in the substantive part of the fairs which were
devoted to the issues of combination ofVR/AR (there were as
much as 14!) were characterized by one common feature –
rooms packed full. It shows in which technologies the
customers are interested in the most and which solutions the
marketers would most often use for their brand. During the
discussion it was said multiple times that the that the present
formVR of displaying devices is ready to be given to a mass
customer. It is also emphasized by Noah Falstein (Chief Game
Designer in Google) when he says "All elements of this
technology are already on such a high level that it can be given
to customers”. It is happening now and it will be a huge
business sector success".
The announcement of the consumer version price of Oculus
Rift (599 $) is not surprising especially during CES – as a result,
the manufacturer has gathered a huge number of visitors
around its exhibition area, standing in long queues. HTC brand
also presented a new version of itsVive Pre devices, created in
cooperation with theValve games manufacturer.
Crowds also gathered around the Glyph project stand,
combining theVR device with exclusive headphones. During
CES the Sony brand did not present its design of PlayStation
consoleVR, although, as everyone knows, it is to make
a debut in the first half of 2016.
An interesting extension of the head equipment is the
involvement of a hand as presented by the Rink company,
pairing special movement sensors with SamsungVR devices.
About 40 companies which main area of activities for this
moment is the virtual or extended reality were present on
the fairs. Among them one can also find brands, creating
special stands, ensuring the maintenance of balance when
using theVR headsets. It is a clever but also good idea,
because while wearing the device, it is easy to trip.
I personally think that 2016 will not bring a breakthrough in
terms of mass adoption and large sales of these devices. On
the other hand, I suppose, that in this time many people will
use this the technology for the first time and only after will
decide whether to buy it or not.
Content & 360-degree Cameras
During CES Keynote, Robert Kyncl fromYoutube was a Speaker
and I can definitely say that this was the best presentation
I attended during the substantial part of the conference. Kyncl
placed an opinion, which says that digital video will "win" the
decade but in 2020 the main medium of entertainment will
not by aTV but the online content video. His whole
presentation comprised of 4 major arguments, explaining this
assumption (digital video is available on mobile devices, is
extremely popular among music enthusiasts, what generates
millions of views, it is an exceptionally diverse library, soon it
will start to deliver new experiences, thanks to theVR and
360º). Many guests has also appeared on the scene, the first
one was Scooter Braun (SB Projects) who, as he said himself,
has created stars through theYoutube, without having
recording company, including, among others Justin Bieber
Later it was only more interesting, as NickWoodman (GoPro
cameras CEO) and Nick Milk (CEOVRse – storytelling agency
based on theVR technology) joined the conversation.
It was theVRse together with NewYorkTimes who created
a unique application NYT vr, in which by using theVR
technology people can find incredible stories (among others,
moving document about a girl from Syria and her everyday
life in the country at war). In my opinion, it is for this moment
the best application based on theVR which can be browsed,
having for instance a budget Cardboard from Google.
Is the 360º technology the future of video?The
aforementioned panelists do not have doubts.
"It is not a matter of if but when the 360º content will become
the standard of the main midstream. Soon, the majority of
theYouTube content will be of this kind.We will be ready on
time with a sufficient version of GoPro. It is a natural way of
things, this technology teleports the viewer to a given
situation in a movie and performs it very thoroughly".These
are the words of NickWoodman who, when referring to the
GoPro product, had in mind the Odyssey version, which will
be available for professionals for a limited sale this year.
Everything indicates that the evolution of content towards
360º is unavoidable as could be noticed also on the CES
exhibition part.There will a huge selection in this field soon:
Giroptic, Kodak PixPro, Nikon Key Mission,Vuze, Luna, Ricoh
Theta, 360fly,The ALLie Go.This of course is only a part of
what were presented in LasVegas. Get ready for 360º! 12