Tomorrow arrives today in Las Vegas with the opening of the always-anticipated Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, organized by the Consumer Technology Association. More than 68,000 senior-level business executives will be in attendance along with 7,500 journalists (1,000 more than covered the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio). Eighty-one percent of the world’s countries will be represented at CES.
Yeah, it’s big. And the buzz is always loud.
Along with the latest-and-greatest gaggle of gadgets, CES affords us a tantalizing glimpse into the future and how technology will impact our lives at home and in the workplace. If you’re jacked about that Amazon Echo (your new best friend “Alexa”) or Google Home device you received for Christmas, you’ll love the tech-coolness that always emerges from CES.
Much like high-end auto shows, a lot of items (some say the majority) being touted and tested will never make it from prototype status to the retail checkout line. At least not in their present form. That’s OK, because what they will do is whisper in your ear and give you a sense of what may come later in the year, or at next year’s CES.
Which raises a question that I’ll ask you at the end of this blog.
For now, here are just a few notables you’ll be hearing about on the morning and evening network news shows in the coming days …
The Jetsons, Lost in Space, and Star Wars
No longer do you have to suspend reality to imagine Rosie, the robotic housemaid from The Jetsons, the nameless robot from Lost in Space, or R2D2 from Star Wars as actual entities.
That future is now.
Home robots promise to be all the rage again this year at CES. Voice-actuated, stand-alone digital assistants with cloud-based operating systems (Amazon Echo and Google Home are base examples) continue to evolve.
Mayfield Robotics will unveil Kuri, a home robot “with emotive eyes and a friendly disposition” that cruises around your house; avoiding obstacles while snapping pictures, taking video and serving as house-sitter while you’re away.
Olly, a robot from Appetizer Mobile, is a “table-top bot” that recognizes different members of the household and adapts its personality for each. Olly’s personality evolves, based on interaction patterns. As for its utilitarian features, we’ll have to wait and see what emerges from Vegas.
What about your kids ..? Funny you should ask.
Mattel’s Aristotle is an Amazon Echo assistant programmed to understand a child’s voice. Children’s speech patterns and inflection are significantly different from the more polished vocals of an adult but Aristotle has been designed to live in a child’s room, answer typical questions little ones might have, and take over basic story-telling duties when you just don’t feel like reading Goodnight Moon for the umpteenth time.
Might Be Time to Chuck that “Old” UHD TV You Just Bought
Ah, the curse of the early adopters!
Seems moments after you shell out the big bucks for the brightest, highest-res, Rhode Island-sized flatscreen, something new comes along.
Blame it on LG … and a few others.
The forward-thinking folks inspired by the life is good mantra are rolling out Super UHD TVs at CES. The new sets create “more subtle, accurate colors that can be viewed from wider angles” than that dinosaur you bought and mounted over the fireplace last month.
Meanwhile, Samsung is rolling out QLED TV, based on something called Quantum Dot Technology, which will feature deeper blacks and greater detail regardless of how bright or dark the room is. Technology adjusts the brilliance and detail much like your eyes do when you move between light and dark environments.
A Lot of This, A Lot of That
Along with robots and TVs, expect to learn more about self-driving cars, hybrid laptop/tablet devices, drones, smart-home devices, AR/VR (Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality) headsets, smartphones, and more mundane items like touch-screen fridges and microwaves that feature companion apps. There’s even a 2TB jump drive being rolled out by Kingston which can store up to 70 hours of 4K video yet only measures 2.8” x 1”.
Which brings me to my question …
Welcome to the New “Space” Age
As technology speeds forward, seemingly making our lives easier and (in theory, at least) saving us time, it creates a space. Where once you spent 30 minutes downloading a movie, you can now do it in seconds.
Forget that all-too-familiar question “What’s in your wallet?” and ask yourself, “How will I fill that space?” Something to think about.
If you want a glimpse into tomorrow, be sure to keep your eyes, ears and smart devices tuned to the CES 2017 which opens today in Las Vegas!
Cheers and Happy New Year, All!
P.S. For my event planning compadres, you might be interested to know that CES takes approximately 18 days to set, execute and strike. That’s a whole lotta 15-hour workdays!
Photo Credit: Kobby Dagan