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CES 2016 Recap: The Autonomous 4K VR 3D IoT Drone Awakens

What were the most important trends, themes, and technologies at CES 2016? The Consumer Electronics Show this year featured massive partnership announcements from car brands, fast drones, immersive virtual reality experiences, and much more. See what matters most for technologists, marketers, and others in this roundup.

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CES 2016 Recap: The Autonomous 4K VR 3D IoT Drone Awakens

  1. CES 2016: The Autonomous 4K VR 3D IoT Drone Awakens David Berkowitz CMO, MRY @mry / @dberkowitz
  2. About this report Included here are thoughts and observations about CES 2016 – the latest edition of the annual Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas. This version is still a draft, published more to be fresh than thorough (or even copy edited). This deck will be updated more in the coming days, so you may want to bookmark this, follow me on SlideShare for updates, or email me to request the final version. The most important section is on Trends and Themes to paint some picture of what mattered this year. Beyond that are examples of ‘life at CES’ followed by the fun meat about the most important announcements and exhibitors. Some commentary appears with those. Sources are constantly cited in the bottom-right corner and in the notes, especially for content that isn’t purely my commentary and photography. Some great resources are listed at the end. Click them for more detail and for some excellent reads. Thanks for taking the time to relive CES with me. Now we’ll spend the rest of the year figuring out what it all meant. Having attended CES for ten consecutive years, I’ve been wrapping my head around it for a decade, but with a show comprising 20 million square feet of exhibit space across all that time, I know I’m just scratching the service. I hope to hear some of your thoughts as well; send them on over. David Berkowitz CMO, MRY January 7, 2016
  3. Table of Contents • Trends and Themes • An Inside Look at CES • Spotlight on… • Transportation • Drones • Internet of things • Wearables • Virtual reality • Video • Misc • Reference / Contact
  4. Trends & Themes
  5. Trend/theme review (part 1 of 2) Below are initial thoughts on major trends and the themes – more ‘back of the napkin.’ The slides that follow detail examples about each of these. 1. Partnership announcements trump product launches, as partnerships get more pronounced; individual products coming from collaborations mean less than the parties working together 2. What’s driving most of the partnerships? Signs usually point to data 3. Automotive is eating CES – a trend years in the making, but especially prominent in 2016 4. Transportation overall a huge theme, with focus on cars (especially autonomous and/or electric) and drones; ‘rideables’ fill in the gaps with alternative transportation options 5. China steps up not just presence but design and style 6. Typical device pricing focuses on value: more benefits (entertainment, health, time saved) for more cost 7. Many of the biggest hits to emerge won’t be products that get most buzz in tech press but will meet most people’s needs. It’s the difference between 4K TVs (a nice-to-have upgrade) and washing machines that can do multiple loads at once or both wash and dry clothes (anyone who does laundry will at least consider buying it if price is right) 8. 2016 is important year for VR but scale will come later; best VR now requires more powerful computing, and lower- end risks having novelty wear off 9. 3D printing became marginal at CES; B2B applications remain tremendous but value proposition, price, and speed haven’t made it accessible to most consumers
  6. Trend/theme review (part 2 of 2) 10. Brands, agencies, publishers, ad/marketing tech remain practical, with education on what’s next (eg VR, new developments in mobile) but huge emphasis on what can be done this year. The timeframe between what’s now and what’s next keeps shrinking though. 11. ‘Public CES’ and ‘Shadow CES’ keep diverging as ‘Tech South’ becomes more of a thing 12. Unfortunate silos as ‘Public CES’ is largely for creatives, ‘Shadow CES’ is more for media; biggest question is who in years ahead will bring those closest together 13. The fun is fading from the floor, even in once-happening areas like Eureka Park, as lots of big partnership announcements and data land grabs don’t lend themselves well to flashy demos 14. Trade show environment not best way to experience self-driving cars, drones, even VR (long lines for short, limited demos); reinforcing CES as a teaser to whet appetites, not a way to experience what’s next 15. Live-streaming from mobile apps a hot topic but not a new one; UX and bandwidth are much better. Previous limits included getting on show’s spotty WiFi or bringing own network; now LTE can support it (if you have a generous data plan) 16. When are we going to see a ton more robots? Surprised demos remain tame in this regard 17. Major exhibitors tackle major issues spanning harassment, diversity, health & wellness, personal safety – acknowledging that tech is part of society and not in a vacuum
  7. 1) Partnership announcements trump product launches and power next-gen products Lots of other partnerships were noteworthy, including: • New Balance launching Digital Sport unit, partnering with Intel on an Android Wear watch • Whirlpool adds Amazon Dash to washers and dryers • Microsoft and Samsung doing Internet of Things devices for Windows 10 • Lenovo producing Google’s first Project Tango phone for 3D mapping See more from the auto industry in trend 3
  8. 2) ‘Data’ is most frequently the answer for what’s driving these partnerships Note push/pull here: sometimes it’s defensive – eg competitors partnering to prevent a third-party from gaining power as a middleman (IBM CEO Ginni Rometty)
  9. 3) Automotive is eating CES Especially fascinating were the partnerships coming out constantly: • GM $500 million investment in Lyft, plan to develop fleet of autonomous cars • Ford connecting cars to Amazon Echo virtual assistant, ‘hackathons’ with Chinese drone maker DJI • Toyota building its next-gen car software using Ford’s SmartDeviceLink • Volvo tapping Nvidia to power autonomous driving tech and Ericsson for high-bandwidth in-car streaming Auto booths have also been big proponents of advocating tech/media they integrate with, including Google’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  10. 4) Transportation is bigger than auto, as CES features all kinds of manned vehicles
  11. 5) China steps up design and style Huawei’s booth was inspired less by consumer electronics titans and more by luxury brands, signaling they want to be known for quality and not knock-off tech (see their smartwatch pictured here).
  12. 6) Pricing of new products skews toward a premium product’s value (entertainment, health, time saving) rather than saving $ WiThings Thermo thermometer: $100 Oculus Rift: $600 (+>$1K for gaming PC) Robo 3D RMini ‘basic’ 3D printer: $1,000 Chillhub fridge: $3,000 4K 360-degree Sphericam: $2500 Under Armour Healthbox: $400
  13. 6) Pricing of new products skews toward a premium product’s value, not saving $ (con’t) Kolibree smart toothbrush: $150 Febreze smart air freshener: $50 Fitbit Blaze: $200 Edwin the smart rubber duck: $100 Mimo Baby Onesie: $180-$200 (+$30 for more ‘kimonos’) Watson-powered Cognitoys: $120
  14. 7) Most successful products aren’t necessarily ones that get most buzz but provide most practical, tangible value to buyers Engadget’s CES 2015 winners included this gem: “Now, we might have another automatic item of clothing to look forward to in 2015 in the form of Belty: a motorized belt buckle that tightens and loosens itself.” The Belty praise is one of those reminders that so much tech hype is worthless 5- seconds after it’s printed (and you’ll find me guilty of some of this here too, I’m sure – consider this throwing stones at glass houses).
  15. 8) 2016 is important year for VR but scale will come later; best VR now requires more powerful computing, and lower-end novelty wears off A telling reminder: the Oculus Rift test check to see if one’s PC can run the rift. At left: the results from my >$1,200 laptop (and hardly the newest model).
  16. 9) 3D printing was marginalized at CES; biggest opportunity is for B2B and promise was oversold in past Consumers have yet to figure out what to use it for, and it’s still way too slow and way too expensive. Also, Amazon Prime Now, Uber, Postmates, etc all present new challenges to 3D printing. If you can get any product in <1-2 hours, it will further limit use cases for 3D printing.
  17. 10) Brands, agencies, publishers, adtech remain practical, with some education on what’s next but emphasis on what can be done this year CES is a great time to push a forward- thinking vision for the years ahead (see an example of SMG’s Dare to Disrupt content at right), but that usually bears fruit further out. Discussions with sellers tends to focus on the newest products that can be bought now while still getting some kind of first- mover advantage.
  18. 11) Media, Tech companies further rift between Public CES, Shadow CES Twitter’s a prime example. Techies at the Convention Center are using and talking about Periscope. Yet as CES started, Twitter announced a new Conversational ad unit – perfect to show marketers at the show (a smart strategy). Image source: Twitter
  19. 11 con’t) Shadow CES continues to expand Image source: Richard Alfonsi; more coverage at VentureBeat, NYT In Sin City, Twitter had its own private ‘Shadow’ city: Twitter City, USA. That only made the press more curious as to what was going on.
  20. 12) Silos abound as Public CES is largely for creatives, Shadow CES is for media; who in years ahead will bring those closest together? An example of the two CES’s: these articles published back to back by Kerry Flynn in International Business Times, with Public on top and Shadow below
  21. 13) The fun is fading from the floor as excitement shifts from products to partnerships “In the musical ‘Hamilton,’ Alexander Burr advises Alexander Hamilton, "Talk less, smile more." This year's CES brought out the opposite, where major brands' announcements generated countless conversations about the future of technology, but the show floor lacked a sense of smile-inducing wonder.” - Ad Age Image source: Genius
  22. 14) Trade show environment not best way to experience autonomous vehicles, drones, VR “Here's one way to bring back the experiential magic of CES: Shift the show floor in coming years to Boulder City, Nevada, 30 miles outside of Vegas, where the world's first Droneport is under construction.” - Ad Age Image source: Fast Company
  23. 15) Live-streaming from mobile apps a hot topic but not a new one From my CES 2011 Recap: “Everyone must figure out how to share share info on the fly. Those who are really serious sport this kind of mobile broadcasting backpack that will aim to find a signal on any network it can. The biggest challenge at an event like CES is the bandwidth is terrible. Relying on 3G and WiFi will stymie most media-sharing hobbyists.”
  24. 16) When are we going to more robots? Demos remain tame in this regard Here’s a sample of veteran CES guide Shelly Palmer’s recommended exhibits. From the full list, only two are in robotics (top left); one is telematics, and the other is a home beer maker. Where’s “AI,” “I, Robot,” “Chappie” or “Ex Machina”?
  25. 17) Major exhibitors tackle major issues: Intel teams with Vox, Re/code, Lady Gaga to fight online harassment by ‘hacking it’ Source: Hack Harassment
  26. An Inside Look at CES
  27. Quick plug: MRY releases new research on hottest and overhyped tech as viewed by marketers & consumers; see the full infographic via the link Source: MRY
  28. Buzzradar: Intel, Samsung, LG most mentioned CES brands among 1.3M posts Source: Buzzradar
  29. Quick shout-out to some stellar panelists (thank you all!)
  30. A must: having the right pre-programmed responses for your smartwatch (yes, I really used these – all the time)
  31. Framework for charting impact of what you see at CES Innovative Applicable
  32. Framework for charting impact of what you see at CES Innovative Applicable InnovativeIrrelevant Applicable Essential
  33. Transport
  34. GM invests $500 million in Lyft to create self-driving car network “In October, GM CEO Mary Barra said the industrial giant won’t rely on the traditional owner-driver model to keep its business ‘going, and will ‘absolutely’ make cars for an age when human driving is defunct. ‘We are disrupting ourselves.’ This deal with Lyft is the best indication we have yet that those are more than talking points.” - Wired Image source: GM
  35. CA-based, China-backed Faraday Future teases 1,000HP FFZERO1 concept car – but mysteries abound on their real product and if Apple’s involved Image source: Faraday Future
  36. Some brand managers have a very practical view of automotive innovation “’Cars are increasingly computers on wheels. At the end of the day, what do cars do? Cars drive past supermarkets.’ He then described a scenario in which a car is alerted to a sale on Ben & Jerry's, which your smart fridge just pointed out you were running low on.” - Ad Age interview with Unilever CMO Keith Weed
  37. Intel works with Ninebot/Segway and Xiami to announce new personal robot and transporter; one can ride it around, or have it monitor home on its own Source: Ninebot
  38. ‘Hoverboard’ vendors were in for a rough year Source: Popular Science
  39. I actually felt bed for the hoverboard vendors; a few months ago, they must have thought CES would mint money
  40. Well, at least the hoverboard press couldn’t get any worse. Oh, wait… Source: Bloomberg Business
  41. Jargon watch: Rideables “Rideables will be more than just hoverboards. This past year was a big one for all electric rideables — not just hoverboards. Small electric skateboard, scooter, and bike companies all popped up, and the few incumbents made solid progress on things like battery life and range. That same trend is going to continue at this year’s CES…” -The Verge Verdict? Yes, rideables were a thing, with Segway (image at right) one of the bigger plasts from the past to make some noise. But with such a big year for auto, and drones so hard to miss, rideables were a footnote.
  42. Parting thought here: a vision of what we’ll be doing when we have self-driving cars
  43. Drones
  44. Federal Aviation Administration notes >180,000 people have registered their drones
  45. Parrot announces Disco, a 50-mph fixed-wing consumer drone to hit market later in 2016; signals continued arms race for best drone specs Source: Gizmodo
  46. The next wave of drones: self-flying drones you can carry with you. Lily pulls in $34 million in pre-orders
  47. Ehang wants to usher in new era of drones that can carry people Source: Ehang
  48. Coming soon near Vegas: world’s first ‘Droneport’ for current and next-gen drone pilots (CES 2017 field trip!) Source: Fast Company
  49. Not at CES, but important in background: Amazon could unleash drone delivery at scale, if regulators let them
  50. Internet of Things
  51. Coldwell Banker: Smart Home Tech Goes Mainstream in 2016 Highlights from Real Estate Smart Home Marketplace Survey: • 45% of Americans own smart home technology or plan to invest in it in 2016 • What makes a home smart? Respondent said locks/alarms (63%), temperature (63%), lighting (58%), safety detectors (56%) • 54% of homeowners would install smart tech if they knew it would make homes sell faster Source: Coldwell Banker
  52. “Sengled Voice is the only integrated microphone/speaker LED bulb on the market.” Because we need 50,000 choices for talking lightbulbs.
  53. WiThings introduces Thermo, a smart thermometer – but must convince people to pay $99 for a thermometer Source: WiThings
  54. LG SmartThinQ joins wave of Amazon Echo competitors – adding screen but lacking voice input Source: LG
  55. Whirlpool builds on previous Nest integration by building Amazon Dash reordering into washers and dryers Source: The Verge
  56. Smart air freshener? Sounds nuts – but it allows for app-triggered release of scent; Febreze Connect also works w/Nest Source: Febreze Connect (h/t Evan Kraut)
  57. A new addition to the IoT roster: internet-connected pregnancy tests Source: Church & Dwight / First Response
  58. Add your heartbeat to photos to show emotion beyond emojis with Sensum’s Emocam
  59. Putting USB ports in a fridge? Ugh. Launching a crowdsourced, open-source fridge? Far more interesting Source: FirstBuild, via PSFK
  60. 6SensorLabs’ Nima wins TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield with pocket-sized device to test food for common allergens Source: 6SensorLabs / TechCrunch
  61. Wearables
  62. Smartwatches aren’t just for the 1%, but the top 25% is far more into them Source: Global Web Index
  63. Wisewear offers stylish line for women focusing on health and safety
  64. Fitbit launches Blaze $200 smartwatch; stock price plummets amid fears of lack of innovation and more competition Source: Fitbit
  65. Fitbit competition includes Under Armour’s A Healthbox, 3-parts hardware and 1-part software, for $400 Source: Under Armour
  66. New Balance launches Digital Sport division, starting with Android Wear smartwatch designed by runners in conjunction with Intel Source: Android Guys
  67. Mimo shows off latest smart baby onesies – most valuable for ‘at risk’ babies; too expensive for everyday needs and requires proprietary clothing
  68. Samsung’s WELT is a smartwatch for your waist (but it doesn’t charge your phone, like other belts) Source: Samsung
  69. At a male-heavy show, female health got more attention thanks to OhMiBod and Fiera; also see First Response above Source: OhMiBod / Fiera
  70. Nothing is more romantic than giving your partner a ring that tells them to get more exercise and sleep
  71. If you have connected every other thing you own to the internet, buy Bruno – “the world’s first smartcan” (yes, really) Source: Bruno
  72. Also, why wasn’t the Selfie Mirror at CES?
  73. VR
  74. Quite the week for Oculus: Rift goes on sale, preorders crash site, founder apologies for poor communication around $599 pricing I handled the messaging poorly. Earlier last year, we started officially messaging that the Rift+Recommended spec PC would cost roughly $1500… Many outlets picked the story up as “Rift will cost $1500!”, which was honestly a good thing - the vast majority of consumers (and even gamers!) don’t have a PC anywhere close to the rec. spec, and many people were confused enough to think the Rift was a standalone device. For that vast majority of people, $1500 is the all-in cost of owning Rift. The biggest portion of their cost is the PC, not the Rift itself…. To be perfectly clear, we don’t make money on the Rift.” -Oculus founder Palmer Luckey in his Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)
  75. Low-end VR flourishes at CES as new Cardboard models debut for durability and style, such as I Am Cardboard’s DSCVR Source: I Am Cardboard / TechCrunch
  76. A common CES sighting: rows of businessmen (yes, usually men) strapping on their headsets to experience the latest VR
  77. Want the real future of VR? “Murder She Wrote” already aired it… in 1993 Source: CBS via Wired (h/t Joseph Sanchez)
  78. Next up: blended reality? “One area I'm really excited about is the collision between the 2-D and 3-D worlds. This is our version of the big bang, and we have created an entirely new category that we call Blended Reality. We're leveraging both immersive computing and 3D printing to take things from the physical world into the digital world and back out to the physical.” -Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing and Communication Officer, HP Source: Advertising Age
  79. Video / Photo
  80. Live Streaming a hot topic at CES; humor, news, music are biggest opportunities Source: Global Web Index
  81. MeVee joins Twitter’s Persicope, Facebook Live in attracting livestreamers and their fans Throughout panels and events on Tuesday before the “official opening of CES, much of the talk was about livestreaming, noted Ron Pruett of Al Roker Entertainment. Twitter- owned Periscope was almost always named… Now, there's another name to note: MeVee. Following in the steps of Meerkat, an app version of MeVee was released on Sunday and the company has since worked to woo the techies at CES.” -Kerry Flynn in International Business Times
  82. Robert Scoble’s Facebook Live streams brought an insider’s access to his followers Source: Robert Scoble
  83. Livestream’s Movi lets consumers track action from multiple angles with a single $399 4K camera Source: Getmovi
  84. Big future ahead for live video streaming “The challenge for brands is that people think that ‘live’ means creating a shows that look like broadcast television, while millennials think ‘live’ when they watch something on Twitch – raw, honest, first-person video. So two things are changing technology – the audience and appetite for content. Technology is changing the way people engage live community-based ‘happening’ content. While it’s easy to talk about Twitch TV as gamers playing video games live, it’s way more than that.” -Steve Rosenbaum in Forbes
  85. 360-degree video (totally separate from VR) was another hot product category. Sphericam won Techstars’ pitch competition for wearables/IoT Source: Techstars / Sphericam
  86. Nikon KeyMission 360 aims to beat others like GoPro as 360-degree video takes off Source: Nikon / The Verge
  87. A bonus mention: one app I learned about at CES (thanks Mark Silva!) that blew my mind is Forevery. Try it (now just iOS) to see how it granularly and brilliantly automatically categorizes photos
  88. Misc
  89. Endless Mini debuts $79 PC to bring ‘next 4 billion’ into digital age – an even bigger ambition than One Laptop Per Child Source: Endless / VentureBeat
  90. Reference
  91. Links and Resources • CES 2016 Innovation Awards (CES) • In Rewind: The Week That Was CES 2016 (Buzzradar) • CES 2016 Social Data Report (Buzzradar) • 6 Future-Focused Trends to Watch at CES 2016 (PSFK) • As Tech Landscape Evolves, CES Holds Execs’ Interest (Ad Age) • On Display at CES, Tech Ideas in Their Awkward Adolescence (NY Times) • Dylan’s Desk: At CES, The Ridiculous Never Goes out of Style (VentureBeat) • How CES Got Its Nerd Back: Drones, Virtual Reality and Tinkerers Putting Sensors in Everything (International Business Times) • Featured Exhibits (Shelly Palmer) • 10 of the Coolest Gadgets We Saw at CES 2016 (TechCrunch) • The DeanBeat: The 10 Best Technologies of the Consumer Electronics Show (VentureBeat) • Dave’s Faves: The 5 Biggest Tech Trends at CES This Year (David Pogue in Yahoo) • Best of CES 2016 (Engadget) • Best of CES: Our Favorite Gadgets from This Year’s Show (Wired)
  92. Select updates from MRY and friends • Reality Check: 2016 Won’t Be the Year of VR (Ad Age column) • CES 2007-2016: 10 Years in Review (my presentation) • Talking Less, Smiling More at CES (Ad Age recap) • CES 2016: Dare to Disrupt (Starcom Mediavest Group video) • Marketers vs. Consumers: An Infographic on 2016 Tech Predictions (MRY blog) • How Snapchat Bet on a CES 2016 Takeover from Silicon Alley Giants (MRY quoted) • Brands at CES Pinboard (my Pinterest board) • MRY’s David Berkowitz Shares His Top Takeaways from CES 2016 (
  93. Have your smartbelt call my smartbelt David Berkowitz CMO, MRY @mry / @dberkowitz