CES 2015 was in full swing last week and all eyes were on Las Vegas to see the next big things in innovation. It is a huge event – 170,000 attendees and 3,600 exhibitors – brimming with start-ups, shiny bright lights and supersized TV screens.
This year, the theme was realisation. The technology that has been sprouted for years – the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, advanced interfaces – have matured to a point where consumers can readily buy and use them. Amidst these, five key trends emerged:
1. People are the new security
2014 saw an unprecedented amount of data security breaches that compromised personal and banking information, and as a result, consumers are looking for new ways to secure their personal credential and protect their digital identity.
In response, start-ups like Myris and HyprKey have developed authentication systems that utilize biometric measures to secure personal identification, using iris detection and fingerprint sensor, respectively. While current applications are mostly limited to unlocking computer passwords or mobile payment, these systems point to a future that allow secure, consistent identification everywhere. Myris, for instance, demoed its iris-scanning technology in a car visor, which would start the engine.
Protecting anonymity is also important, making encryption important on the device itself. Vysk has developed a signal-blocking phone case that uses end-to-end encryption to ensure the privacy of phone conversations and file transfers. Although this may seem extreme, the interest shown at CES in the device indicates the level of concern about privacy.
2. Cars are the next mobile platform
Vehicles are now a BYOD (device) and BYOS (service) container to consume content. BMW and GoPro have taken this a step further by including an app that allows you to create content as well.
Android vs iOS is rapidly becoming the new VHS vs Beta – Mercedes, Volvo, Jaguar and BMW have all committed to Apple, whilst the others are siding with Google’s Android Automotive alliance.
3. The smart home is here
The connected home is now a reality as product availability and compatibility are allowing automation and monitoring to happen anytime, anywhere, and with anything. Standards are the challenge as Apple’s HomeKit, Google’s Nest and Samsung’s SmartThings all battle it out.
Consumer adoption is the focus, as manufacturers invest in educating customers on the differences and benefits. The Netatmo Welcome, for instance, identifies people in the home through facial recognition, and can alert users if an unrecognised face has entered. Old school appliances are also becoming smarter, with LG washing machines capable of doing two different loads at once, while Whirlpool’s new washers and dryers send maintenance alerts and provide information on how to fix common problems.
4. Television and content
Major manufacturers use CES to show off their biggest, thinnest, and curviest televisions, and this year was no exception: TCL featured a 110-inch TV, Sony unveiled a 0.2-inch thick TV, and Samsung showcased a 105-inch bendable screen. Image quality also continues to improve thanks to 4K, SUHD, HDR, and Quantum Dots. It is content delivery however, that continues to be of most interest to consumers.
5. Wearables become wearable
Wearables were big at last year’s CES, but were mostly limited to heart rate monitors and pedometers. This year, their applications have expanded to everything from fashion to gesture control. For example, Swarovski’s Shine band turns an activity tracker into a statement piece of jewellery, while the LogBar Ring lets the user control other devices, such as turning on lights or music. Even athletic wearables have surpassed expectations: Skulpt measures muscle quality and body fat percentage, and Owlet monitors infants’ vital signs to alert parents to any potential concerns.
Other notable highlights included advancements in virtual reality, wireless charging, drones and 3D printers. Drones can now auto-follow your mobile device, adding a huge array of content creation and tracking possibilities, while wireless charging is one area that is on our watch list for the coming year.