This year’s CES opened doors in Las Vegas on January 6th. As the annual crystal ball event that reveals something about where our technological future is headed, CES has became a huge, four-day event about what’s new, really, really new, and really hot. As The Digitalist’s Opportunity Matrix likes to point out, our technological future has never been so diverse. Here are some big trends we’ve noted in The Digitalist’s first two issues that were a presence at CES.
- Smart cities: The big buzz that came out of CES this year was smart city initiatives. AT&T announced its smart cities program, which will start off in Chicago, Dallas, and Austin. They’ll be partnering with other bigwigs, like Qualcomm and Cisco, to make urban smarts a reality.
- Robot overlords: Did this year’s CES unveil our new robot overloads? Not so much. This year’s fashion in robot accessories went less cyborg, more cute. Pepper was there; it’ll be available for the first time in the US later this year. Start saving up for the $20,000 price tag now. The robots on display were mostly single-task capable. And battery power is still a problem.
- Transportation: Cars were all over CES, along with some surprising transportation innovations. The old-school automakers were there, but so was Faraday Future, which unveiled its first concept car, the FFZero1, at the expo. One thing the car offers, apart from room for only one person, is a water- and air-providing helmet. Then there’s the passenger drone. The Ehang 184 is actually a quadracopter that will be produced by Ehang and reportedly can carry a single passenger 10 miles in 23 minutes, no pilot or piloting required. Unfortunately, the company couldn’t do a live demo at CES – it’s against FAA rules.
- MedTech: More medical technology products were there, including company MC10 which showed off two wearables, both of which adhere, Band-Aid-like, to the skin. One is for collecting data for medical research, the other is a consumer product that tells the wearer when they’ve had enough sun. Forget wearables – the near MedTech future is in stickables.
- Virtual and other realities: No surprise here: VR was a big presence. There were 37 exhibitors involved one way or another with VR. Oculus was there, as was HTC with its Vive Pre. Facebook recently began accepting pre-orders for the Oculus Rift, which will go for $599, plus another thousand-plus for a computer with enough heft to actually run the thing (and that price, by the way, is the subsidized launch price). There’s also the issue of content – there isn’t a lot to choose from at this point, which is why Oculus Studios, the content development arm, is set to release 20 games this year.
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