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Introduction CES Fairs are enormous. I would even say they are super enormous and overwhelming. Almost 180 000 participants, 3 600 exhibitors, over 220 thousand m2 of surface of exhibition halls and as much as 20 000 premieres of new devices. The numbers are impressive. Nonetheless, I would not treat this year's event as some sort of breakthrough. The majority of the world's technological mass media also agree on that. No revolutionary solutions were presented, also I did not notice any devices which in the nearby future would constitute a breakthrough or create a separate category of technology. This does not imply, however, that last year in which such inventions could have been created, should be perceived as in one innovatively wasted. On the contrary. The discussed stagnation (I prefer to use the term of catching a breath by technological companies) results, among others, from a current place in technology development cycle in which we are now. On the one hand, solutions debuting this year are not so impressive as could be expected, while on the other, the market is already loaded with many extremely promising technologies, which developing rapidly, but still remain at the stage of perfecting and optimisation predating their launching on the mass market. This process requires time, therefore the technology market is presently in a temporary phase. It has also been emphasised during all discussion panels which I had listened at, and it is worth mentioning that, the organizers have invited to Las Vegas the top leading personalities of the largest market players. Among all the technology areas, presented on CES, the following 5 category most heavily caught my attention. Not only with the sheer size of it but, first of all, with many examples of perspective innovations included into them. 2 Photo: fubiz.net
Automotive Technology You will probably be surprised that I am going to write about cars here, but the presence of automotive brands on CES this year truly equals "Car Wars". As much as 9 manufacturers and 115 companies from a broadly understood automotive industry has prepared their stalls. I have started my tour of the fairs exactly from this hall and for a moment I thought that I probably was not in Las Vegas but in Detroit where almost at the same time had started the automotive NAIAS Fairs. All present companies emphasized the development of EV vehicles (Electric Vehicles) and either presented them (the premiere of economic Chevrolet Bolt), or clearly highlighted the advanced works being in process. Of course the buzzword in the automotive hall was the phrase "autonomous vehicle". It does not mean, however, that any of the exhibiting companies intend to present a ready autonomous car this year. More was said about the plans. KIA announced works on their project, Toyota mentioned an investment for this purpose, in the amount of 1 billion USD, GM wants to build a fleet of ride-sharing together with Lyft (thus, the investment for the amount of 500 million USD in this company), and Volvo promised test drives with Concept 26 model in 2017. On the other hand, while peeking into the interiors of vehicles presented at fairs I noticed the discrepancies in issues of the interface. It is not entirely sure whether in the future we will control the vehicles using gestures (BMW), touch (concept by Bosch or Volkswagen BUDD-e) or sophisticated buttons or knobs (Garmin would like that). In the context of Connected Cards trend, a large focus can be noted on the greater exchange of information on the line car – house and car – car. The vehicles of the future are to be platforms of communication and even the extension of functionality of smartphones (among others, according to Faraday Future the manufacturer of a futurist, vehicle Faraday). 4 Photo: fubiz.net
Smart Home When visiting a part of the CES halls devoted to a house and the so-called The Internet of Things it is impossible not to get the impression that the manufacturers would like to make all the household appliances smart and connected to one another soon. The problem is that the manufacturers themselves currently have got any idea (willingness or business) how to develop a common standard for the products delivered, so that these could communicate with each other even when they come from various companies. The lack of idea for unification of platforms and multiplicity of products available are two main disadvantages of that sector and they loudly discussed by e.g. the representatives of Samsung, the company that wants to be a leader in the context of IoT and – as the company itself emphasizes – by 2020 it wants to deliver "Full IoT home experience". As everybody knows, the larger possibility of integration of various devices, the greater meaning the customers will have in making their houses more or less smart. In the opinion of many a one-of-the-kind smart hub of an intelligent house will be a fridge, which as the only device is working 24h a day. The aforementioned Samsung presented Family Hub fridge with a huge touch screen, which, in cooperation with MasterCard allows to make purchases directly from the level of its doors. In this way the most popular film, related to the IoT technology has become reality. However who does not remember predictions that one day "our fridge will know when to buy milk”. From now on it will know, because there are 3 cameras built in into its interior, making real-time pictures of the content, which are shown on an external screen. Such fridge selfie can be probably called fridgsie (?). The range of products from the Smart Home category was really wide in Las Vegas. Starting from minimalist buttons automating and shortening processes (Flic or a project belonging to a Polish company Fibaro – Button) through intelligent safety cameras identifying faces of people and unknown cars (Netatmo Presence Security), Whirlpool washing machine in the Social Good trend, which for each laundering provides a fixed amount of money for a charity goal, to the Hydrao shower head intended to change the habit of wasting water. 6 Photo: fubiz.net
Technological Nostalgia It is one of the most interesting trends that I noticed on this year's CES. The products come back which until recently we could boldly call the oldschool or in the VINTAGE style. Furthermore, there is also a comeback from a slightly forgotten brands or those which has been forgotten because they slept through the period of changes in the industry, in which they operated. Kodak appeared on CES with very a large exhibition stand, presenting among other... headphones. However, the iconic camera Super 8, which brought up a numerous popular contemporary film directors is to experience a true renaissance. Despite 50 years of history, the refreshed product received many digital functionalities which it will certainly did not have in its first generation. A popular boom box also returned the potential of which was once again noticed by the Monster company. Polaroid Snap, is in turn a product of a very fancied and slightly forgotten brand, which presented on CES, among others, very simple cameras (without LCD display) that print the taken photographs. In the opinion of many, it is one of the most warmly received "debuts-returns" of this year's event. I also liked Snap, its price included (99 dollars). There will appear also a slightly more expensive version of this product (Snap+), equipped with a screen and possibility of wireless connection. In the case of Polaroid, the products are one thing, and re-emergence of a brand favoured by many slightly older enthusiasts of photography is the other. On CES the VW BUDD-e was called a nostalgia on wheels. The electric vehicle refers to the worshipped minibus from 1960, although its futuristic form and wide range of equipment with do not have many things in common with significantly older brother. Manufacturers also want to bring back the fame of gramophones and listening to vinyl. Many companies, e.g. Technics, Sony, Crosley and even Polaroid presented modern versions of these devices. Some time ago Tesco promised the introduction of gramophones for sale in the stores in the UK. 8 Photo: fubiz.net
Virtual Reality All panels in the substantive part of the fairs which were devoted to the issues of combination of VR/AR (there were as much as 14!) were characterized by one common feature – rooms packed full. It shows in which technologies the customers are interested in the most and which solutions the marketers would most often use for their brand. During the discussion it was said multiple times that the that the present form VR of displaying devices is ready to be given to a mass customer. It is also emphasized by Noah Falstein (Chief Game Designer in Google) when he says "All elements of this technology are already on such a high level that it can be given to customers”. It is happening now and it will be a huge business sector success". Crowds also gathered around the Glyph project stand, combining the VR device with exclusive headphones. During CES the Sony brand did not present its design of PlayStation console VR, although, as everyone knows, it is to make a debut in the first half of 2016. An interesting extension of the head equipment is the involvement of a hand as presented by the Rink company, pairing special movement sensors with Samsung VR devices. About 40 companies which main area of activities for this moment is the virtual or extended reality were present on the fairs. Among them one can also find brands, creating special stands, ensuring the maintenance of balance when using the VR headsets. It is a clever but also good idea, because while wearing the device, it is easy to trip. The announcement of the consumer version price of Oculus Rift (599 $) is not surprising especially during CES – as a result, the manufacturer has gathered a huge number of visitors around its exhibition area, standing in long queues. HTC brand also presented a new version of its Vive Pre devices, created in cooperation with the Valve games manufacturer. I personally think that 2016 will not bring a breakthrough in terms of mass adoption and large sales of these devices. On the other hand, I suppose, that in this time many people will use this the technology for the first time and only after will decide whether to buy it or not. 10 Photo: fubiz.net
Content & 360-degree Cameras
Content & 360-degree Cameras During CES Keynote, Robert Kyncl from Youtube was a Speaker and I can definitely say that this was the best presentation I attended during the substantial part of the conference. Kyncl placed an opinion, which says that digital video will "win" the decade but in 2020 the main medium of entertainment will not by a TV but the online content video. His whole presentation comprised of 4 major arguments, explaining this assumption (digital video is available on mobile devices, is extremely popular among music enthusiasts, what generates millions of views, it is an exceptionally diverse library, soon it will start to deliver new experiences, thanks to the VR and 360º). Many guests has also appeared on the scene, the first one was Scooter Braun (SB Projects) who, as he said himself, has created stars through the Youtube, without having recording company, including, among others Justin Bieber and PSY. Later it was only more interesting, as Nick Woodman (GoPro cameras CEO) and Nick Milk (CEO VRse – storytelling agency based on the VR technology) joined the conversation. It was the VRse together with New York Times who created a unique application NYT vr, in which by using the VR technology people can find incredible stories (among others, moving document about a girl from Syria and her everyday life in the country at war). In my opinion, it is for this moment the best application based on the VR which can be browsed, having for instance a budget Cardboard from Google. Is the 360º technology the future of video? The aforementioned panelists do not have doubts. "It is not a matter of if but when the 360º content will become the standard of the main midstream. Soon, the majority of the YouTube content will be of this kind. We will be ready on time with a sufficient version of GoPro. It is a natural way of things, this technology teleports the viewer to a given situation in a movie and performs it very thoroughly". These are the words of Nick Woodman who, when referring to the GoPro product, had in mind the Odyssey version, which will be available for professionals for a limited sale this year. Everything indicates that the evolution of content towards 360º is unavoidable as could be noticed also on the CES exhibition part. There will a huge selection in this field soon: Giroptic, Kodak PixPro, Nikon Key Mission, Vuze, Luna, Ricoh Theta, 360fly, The ALLie Go. This of course is only a part of what were presented in Las Vegas. Get ready for 360º! 12 Photo: fubiz.net