With the supersized excess of Christmas and New Year out of the way the customary start to the communications calendar, the annual tech-fest known as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), kicks off this week. I will be providing daily coverage of CES exclusively for DMA but thought I would kick off proceedings with a preview of what we might expect to see this year.
More than 160,000 geeks and tech heads will descend upon the Las Vegas strip along with 3,500 exhibitors to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest kit that we are likely to see in stores later this year.
Some would argue that the whole CES concept is as brash and overblown as the Sin City where it’s held but given that the consumer electronics industry is projected to generate USD 211.3 billion in 2014, up two per cent from 2013 (source: Consumer Electronics Association) it seems like a pretty safe bet for manufacturers and startups to showcase there.
Beyond the expected slew of increasingly bigger / better TV’s (I am guessing we will see more affordable 4K and curved sets this time), even smarter smartphones (the Samsung Galaxy S6 maybe?) the initial buzz before we actually walk the floors can be condensed into five key areas:
• Drones – although not exactly new, they are likely to go mainstream this year with new product expected from Pelican, iRobot and Squadrone. The most exciting version being launched is from the guys behind GoPro who (according to pre-CES rumours) have developed a personal drone-cam for action sports fanatics.
• Connected Cars – again, nothing new here but the concept will go mainstream with the manufacturers such as VW showcasing for the first time and BMW (in their second year at CES) taking 100 vehicles occupying a space covering over 57,000 square feet – that’s what I call taking it seriously.
• Internet of Everything (IoE) – last year everyone was talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). This year? The Internet of Everything. For the first time a dedicated area entitled the ‘Smart Home Marketplace’ has been set up to house exhibitors featuring (amongst others) Bosch, Logitech and ADT to house the latest connected toasters, doorbells and toilets (?) to enhance your increasingly ‘connected life’.
• Wearable Tech – a long time favourite of mine, 2015 will be the breakout year for wearables. I predict that we will start to see the demise of wrist based sensors as the same technology literally gets woven into the garments we wear (shoes, shirts, shorts etc.). And the applications move swiftly from sports / lifestyle to blend in seamlessly with the medical industry. Pioneers in the field such as SmartLife lead the way but others are expected to swiftly follow.
• Joker’s Wild – there will be something entirely fresh launched at CES… but frankly, I’ve no idea what it is! Guaranteed that there will be something truly innovative thrown into the mix from the many start-ups featuring at CES. The ‘Eureka Tech Park’ is back again this year with over 300 exhibitors plus ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ will also be there searching for the ‘next big thing’. Another breakout like Oculus Rift maybe?
What happens in Vegas doesn’t always necessarily stay in Vegas, so stay tuned all week for my daily CES blog updates on the sexiest, shiniest new gadgets coming your way in 2015.