The eight hottest tech trends for 2017

In January each year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brings innovation and technology from over 150 countries around the world, and from what we saw, the new technology in 2017 will be huge.

It’s really hard to narrow down all of the experiences at CES, as it was truly massive, but below are eight of the hottest trends and what to look out for this year:

1. NEW ZEALAND TECH

This year’s continued collaboration between NZTE and Callaghan was greater than ever, with 20 NZ companies represented at Booths, on TV, with awards, hosting off-floor commercial business meetings, featured in publications and enjoying themselves immensely. At the StartUp area, in the Eureka Park space of the Sands, the New Zealand presence was only outdone by France and Israel.

2. CARS

The Detroit Car Show overlapped CES this year. However, the massive presence of major automakers at the show proved that technology and automotive are now forever intertwined. CES is just as much about cars as it is consumer tech.

High: Nvidia showing their GPU (over CPU) capabilities that are an ideal fit for autonomous vehicles that require massive real-time processing power and BMW/Intel showing what they can do to the in-car experience.

Low: Farraday Fail — A great example of too much hype with only the outside of the car available for viewing and a keynote demo that unfortunately failed to work.

3. DRONES

Drones or UAV’s as the industry prefers to call them are at the show in even greater quantities and capabilities than last year.

High: New Zealand companies representing fantastic Drone Technology. Dotterel’s noise reduction technologies and Boxfish’s incredibly nimble and stable underwater drone (OK — ROV) was a huge hit! The Discovery Channel came over to their booth a few times to drool and film their device.

Low: UAV’s are not universally loved with one booth on the Drone floor being a “Drone Gun” for literally shooting down drones in the surrounding air space.

4. SMART THINGS

The robots are coming but not just in ways that can fold your laundry, drive your car, clean your grill or vacuum your house. By Smart Things we don’t just mean IoT devices. They are just part of the Smart Things movement this year. Smart Things means that we saw Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Machine Learning capabilities everywhere.

High: Amazon being a clear winner as Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant turned up wherever it made sense.

Low: Alexa even showed up in places where she wasn’t really required too.

5. VIRTUAL REALITY

This was the most talked about marketplace as measured through all Social Media channels and is definitely expanding beyond just the gaming world.

High: The NBA provided a demo of what VR participation at basketball games could look like. A really compelling use case! Also, technology and hardware acceleration breakthroughs are providing experiences that are incredibly high definition with very quick screen refresh rates (which is the main cause of “VR Nausea” in many current uses).

Low: People just look a little ridiculous when using VR, no avoiding it.

6. IoT

The most used hashtag at CES (even though #AR and #VR combined was greater).

High: For some time now we have seen how connected devices can seamlessly link smartphones and computers to control temperature, appliances, home lights music and security in your home (shout out here to NZ’s WirelesssGuard). But by adding in the layers of artificial intelligence, your home can now gain a deeper understanding of habits tastes, preferences and patterns.

Low: Some products are just looking for problems to solve — like smart toasters (apparently the burnt toast market is huge).

7. VOICE FIRST

Get used to this phrase (as well as “Screenless Internet interactions”). The age of voice only interactions on the internet is here, and the hashtag #voicefirst trended like crazy this year at CES. As connected devices become more intuitive to our needs and experiences, voice will be playing an important role, we’re looking to you, Siri and Alexa. We are on the brink of a shift away from touch screens (again with AI being a key lever in this transition).

High: ARDA — New Zealand’s very own AI Coaching engine designed for wearables were featured at the Intel Booth. It sits within a pair of Oakley Glasses, where the athlete can simply ask ARDA workout based questions and get coach-based input from the device.

Low: OK this one is also a high. A reporter demonstrated the capabilities of Amazon’s Alexa that resulted in Alexa ordering a child’s requests for dollhouses and ordering to people who were watching this TV report.

8. TV’s and CAMERAS

TVs are the reliable spectacle of CES — Smaller, thinner, better was the theme this year and we have finally reached peak display thinness. LCD-based technologies were highly represented (such as quantum dot) — which seems to mark the end of OLED and 4K streaming is finally here across most streaming providers (Roku, Chromecast, etc).

High: LG stole the TV show that included the shockingly thin and bright W7, which the company describes as the “lightest, thinnest, and most beautiful TV on the planet.” We would agree. 360 Camera rigs look fantastic — with the only underwater professional one provided by New Zealand’s own, BoxFish.

Low: Do you want to sit all day in a mermaid outfit?

CES STATS

Just to give you some concept of how BIG CES is below are some impressive stats:

Distance walked: Over the 4 days we were there for the show, Jon’s fitness tracker measured just over 50km over walking.

Number of attendees: This year attendance was put at over 200,000 people. 4.5% of NZ’s population showed up to play with gadgets!

Number of booths: 3900.

Tweets: 9300/hr on average referencing #CES2017 and over 1.5million tweets in total, peaking at 7 Billion potential people reached on Friday, January 6th.