Every year at CES there are some crazy gadget, new technology advances and things that may never be actually made. I looked for what I will be coming to our homes in a very short time based on already being in production or just around the corner with real practical uses. Lets check out some of the top 5 Tech trends that will someday be an enhancement to our daily lives. Check it out.
1) Alexa and Internet Of Things (IOT)
Alexa – the intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon, was everywhere this CES. Alexa is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audio books, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information, as well as various smart home activation. Google Home was Google’s answer to this, but at least at this CES not many devices were promotion compatibility with Google Home. Tons were using Alexa. From Ford’s cars to Smart light bulbs and locks from TP-Link to Whirlpool Dishwashers – Alexa controlled and interacted with them all.
Alexa may finally be what the Internet of Things needs to get to practical use in our home. For years we have seen various Smart Home devices come out at CES, but most of them are proprietary or didn’t play well with each other. This created an often costly situation to enter into, and what if the company you pick doesn’t stick around? The price point of an Amazon Dot is about $50. If these hardware manufactures have finally accept that Alexa can be used to control their items, as this CES show seems to forecast, perhaps we will finally see more homes outfitted with various smart technology this year.
2) Robots – Pets, Assistants, and Smart Hubs
We sure have come a long Isaac Asimov 1942 novel for Robotic Laws, but the average person still does not have robots butlers in our house yet. This year’s CES seems to point to a time where the fiction and has finally caught up to reality.
There were many robots at this years CES. Like an insame amount of Robots. More robots than I have every seen. As Artificial Intelligence and IOT (Internet of Things) continue to ramp up, many manufactures have gotten on board with small robotic helpers to do various tasks. LG has launch a small robot to be the center hub of its connected smart home experience. Other robots like Lynx will do Yoga with you, Dance, Turn your lights on and off, order you groceries and countless other things. Toy robots were everywhere as well. Doing basic features like reading beadtime stories, and also tracking and monitoring sleeping habits. The IPal even claims it can keep children monitored for hours without any supervision. There are robots to help you shop, point map directions at an amusement park or set reminders. Robots are coming folks and I look forward to owning one soon.
3) Sleep Tech – 8hrs a Day of Sleep Could Use Some Technology
DOZER, The Sleep Sheep by SleepPhones is a super-cuddly, kid-safe, Bluetooth wireless music player, sleep tracker and children’s toy all-in-one. This cuddly sheep will help parents understand critical information about their child’s sleep patterns with several built in sensors and the companion app included. It will also help over time to learn what music their child sleeps best too. I’m a huge fan of their Sleep Phones, so am glad to see the company is still innovating.
Zeeq smart pillow is the complete all in one sleep device. Some people don’t like wearing fitness trackables to bed so the Zeeq has you covered. Not only does it track your sleeping patterns for analysis on an accompanying app, it also plays music to fall asleep to, monitors and reacts to your snoring, and intelligently wakes you up you up in the morning. What more do you want from a Pillow?
Sensorwake returns to the sleep tech seen with a new scent releasing device that helps you to sleep better and longer. The scents are patented, based on a set of formulas and a brain response (various studies, EEG tests, sleep diaries, Philips actiwatch) The fragrances are supposed to enhance your sleep quality (helps relax before falling asleep, sleep longer and sleep better). They also offer their flagship product sensorwake that plays scents to wake up to – like seaside, coffee, chocolate or bread.
4) Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality(AR)
VR tech was definitely a hot topic at this years CES including a VR Trade Show being held at the same time that CES was. 26% of the USA has now demoed some type of VR experience. If you haven’t yet, make some time if you see a demo at a friends or a public area. They are worth a fun look.
HTC Vive TpCast
HTC Vive announced a new Add-On called TpCast that allows its popular VR headset to become “untheathed”. Although this is an improvement to the VR experience we are still a long way of. There has been some cool advancements with VR technology but nothing that makes me think it will be in our homes as a major way of life before the end of this upcoming year.
Intel VR Press Conference
Intel held an amazing press conference with 300+ demo stations of VR for the media set up. Each station had an Oculus Rift and gaming laptop PC. Through out the press conference there were various moments the media was asked to place the headset on. We experienced some cool experience and it was an amazing technology display to see Intel put this together. There was a nice demo at the end of the press conference of a zombie game called Arizona Sunshine. I even got my picture taken with Brian Krzanich the CEO of Intel.
Augmented reality is making a larger push from last year, with quite a few practical devices on the market place. I saw many neat devices that will move us beyond gaming and into a world of reality mixed with technology. Most AR is some simply type of glasses that you look through and see in front of you holograms or images that sometimes you can even interact with. Think A picture of the human body with the ability to zoom in to the virual hologram heart as well as see the full view world in front of you. AR also is able to allow you to have unlimited work environments and monitors for working faster and easier. The tech is still very new, but I am excited to see what comes in this area.
PlayStation VR has really pumped up its library and is now starting to include some other experiences besides Gaming, which I was glad to see. Two experiences I want to point out. 1) Hit Song KYGO – Carry me ft Julia Michaels was made into an amazing VR music video experience that pushes your experience with reality in a new creative way. The Experience allows you to floating through the floor, dance with beautiful jellyfish clouds and the fly around the northern lights just to mention a few. It’s a welcome change to the PlayStation VR line up and I hope to see more of this.
Another experience offered at CES was A private one on one concert with Joshua Bell in VR. What was so great about this very simple experience was the ability to see a concert inches away from a violist and a pianist. I have been to many concerts before and even been front row at quite a few of them, but never inches away. When you are this close, you could see each and every facial expression Joshua Bell had. The passion and skill level in the music he was playing. You could hear his breaths. Best of all, it felt like he was playing just for you. A great emotional experience from VR. As Sony also has quite the large music department, I imagine we will see more of these experiences in the coming months. Good things to come here.
5) Wearables – Fitness, Sounds and Trackers Oh My!
Although we are shown more and more smart screen devices at CES, this year there was a real trend toward more simple devices that allow you to maintain some privacy with your notifications. Enter Nex Evolution. This smart watch band includes 5 touch sensitive lights. You can customize those lights to blink, change color and interact in any way you want them to. The band does all the things you would expect from a wearable, tracking your steps, calories or distance. The light buttons are customize-able with IFTT and the free app that is included with the device. Targeting millennials or those looking for a more simple wearable interaction the Nex band offers a different solution
Tom Tom Touch
Tom tom has release a new series of devices that I rather enjoyed checking out, starting with the Tom Tom Touch. Priced at 129$ the band features a few unique on the market items. Body Composition – The ability to check your body fat levels with a simple touch of your finger on the sensor. A Built in heart rate monitor that has the option to have 24 hour a day heart rate monitoring. This is a useful feature for getting an accurate representation of your personal real resting heart rate. It also includes 2/7 activity monitoring for things like a steps tracker, calories burned and sleep monitor. The app has recently been relaunched to include more user friendly access to the various stats you have and the information you are looking for. Battery life is roughly 3 days on the device and is done via regular USB charging cable. Their are different colored bands you can use to personalize the device and make it your own. The device is pretty simply looking with a basic monochrome touch screen. it also includes notifications of calls and texts from your cell phone. A simple slide up and down interface can also play your music and a few other features.
Sony’s Nigel – Project “N”
Nigel was a future project that Sony was also demoing. This Bluetooth around your neck looking headset reset around your neck and projects the sound upwards. It creates a unique listening environment that allows you to hear music, as well as easily maintain a conversation with someone around you. The way it projects, the person next to you can’t really hear more than the occasional sound from the device. It also is voice activated and will allow you to ask basic questions like the weather and more. It includes a gyroscope so can track which direction you are looking . As AR, VR and wearable continue to grow the sound part and how it will work with us, while allowing us to continue to interact with the world around us will be an important part of the journey.
I hope you have enjoyed having a look at the unique trends I witnessed this year at CES. These 5 trends will continue to push the market place and enhance our lives with the technology bringing them into reality in our homes in the not to distant future.