What to Look for at CES 2017
CES 2017 is just around the corner. What big news can we expect out of Sin City at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show?
The world of things is getting smarter, and some of the smartest things in the world are set to be automobiles. Self-driving, intelligent vehicles, laden with sensors and cameras, are on the radar of the world’s top car manufacturers, and vehicles are becoming a major driver of technology development. While it isn’t a specific theme of the event, the big news at CES 2017 is likely to be smart car technology. In a sense, smart cars are a platform upon which many allied technologies – AI, IoT, vision technology, sensor technology, and robot technology – are being developed. Like the space program in previous generations, technologies that are being developed for smart cars will eventually seep down into other consumer products, with the tech showing up in many possibly unexpected places. For proof of this, one needs to look no further than the 2017 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It’s a Las Vegas extravaganza that brings hundreds of thousands of people from over 150 countries around the world, and 33,000 companies out to Sin City to see the latest and greatest in consumer products.
What is CES?
CES, of course, is the annual confab of the Consumer Technology Association, and over the years, has been touted as “the” place to introduce new products and technologies. For example, some innovations first demonstrated at CES include the VCR, laser disc players, CD players, camcorders, Nintendo gaming systems and more. That tradition is set to continue this year, with the emphasis on truly futuristic technologies, many of them based on big data.
Big data, robotics, and IoT on display
A glance at the Top Industry Trends to be featured at the show says it all – big data, robotics, and most notably, the Internet of Things (IoT). Among the topics to be discussed will be Robot Nation: The Synergy between Man and Machine, Delivering the Internet of Everything, Robots – Are They Ready to Help? Technology’s Role in Smart City Infrastructure, and more. And among the summits, the special mini-sessions specializing in specific topics, are An IoT for Everyone, FitnessTech, Smart Home Tech, Wearable Tech Summit, and the BabyTech Summit, where “everything from smart car seats and breast pumps to at-home medical diagnostics tools and cutting-edge cognitive learning wearables” will be on display. Honda, for example, will be featuring its “Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem” that will be on display as an “interactive and immersive experience,” which “harnesses the power of artificial intelligence, robotics, and big data to transform the mobility experience.” The product, which is still under wraps, will certainly take advantage of all the smart car-allied technologies in order to enhance not only the performance of vehicles, but also the passenger experience, turning the vehicle into an on the road entertainment center or workspace. If the “driver” no longer has to drive, then why not? Also on display will be AR/VR technologies, with many of the products geared for personal devices and games. But they will also make their marks on smart cars. The vision technology that allows gamers to place themselves in a virtual world will provide in-vehicle entertainment options for passengers, and enable on-board computers to figure out the positioning of other vehicles in the area, and the potential scenarios that could result when vehicles get too close to each other (providing an additional layer of safety). It’s fitting that this tech will be on display at CES since cars, after all, are the ultimate consumer item, and they are an expensive and profitable enough item to drive manufacturers to explore new technologies – all of which will, in a few years, be a part of much smaller, and much cheaper consumer items.
Better connectivity with OCF
But, with all these devices and communications protocols from all over the world, how can we create an Internet of Things that allows devices to easily communicate with each other? Therein lies the role of one of the most important organizations in IoT: the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). OCF will also be attending this year’s CES. With the increase in IoT devices, many of which will be on display at the show, the OCF is becoming more and more critical, as their main goal is to create better communication between devices of all manufacturers and operating systems. This has numerous benefits, including better unification within the growing smart home phenomenon. By setting communication standards, more and more devices will be able to work together. The OCF’s initiatives are extremely applicable to advancements in smart car technology as well. It will help cars of different models and systems to better communicate, enhancing security features, as well as improve any entertainment centers that are also built into these smart cars.