I played with endless gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas. I did it not out of fun or enjoyment, but I did it for you. Who am I kidding, I did it for the fun and enjoyment, but along the way I did learn a few things I wanted to share with you.
You see, if you look at any one gadget, things look fun and harmless. However, start to look at the gadgets as a whole and you see some clear trends develop. Here are my top 12…
Parents Are Becoming Obsolete
As a Dad, this one hit me hard. So hard, I did a whole post on it – 12 Tech Trends from #CES2017 That Prove Parents Are Becoming Obsolete.
Everything Is Listening To You Now (except your kids)…
We have been big fans of the Amazon Echo and Google Home, voice controlled, cloud connected speakers. You yell things like, “Who was the 23rd president and Set the timer for 10 minutes” and Alexa or Google Home answer back and set a timer.
Way back in 2016, Alexa (the ego of Amazon Echo) used to live in Amazon Echo or the Echo Dot. In 2017, Alexa will be everywhere!
The Lynx Robot is what happens when Alexa grows into a humanoid robot with a camera and facial recognition . Check out the video we shot –
Numerous other speakers and gadgets are going to be powered by Alexa. In addition, other voice controlled systems, like the Aristotle nabi from Mattel will be using a voice control system very similar to Alexa. Here is Aristotle in action –
Be careful what you say, pretty much everything around you is now listening to you.
Don’t Like This Reality, Live in Virtual or Augmented Reality
With virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift, Samsung Oculus Gear VR, HTC Vive, Pico Neo CV, Moon by Royole, Google Cardboard and about a hundred other ones, you can now live in whatever virtual reality you like.
Perhaps more interesting is the promise of Augmented Reality. Products like the Microsoft Hololens allow you to augment your reality. Wish that ugly wall that needs a new paint job had a 70″ flatscreen TV on it – boom – the Hololens will place a virtual TV on your ugly wall.
Want a BMW in your driveway? Here is the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro doing just that –
Welcome to the world of mixed reality – part real, part virtual.
Humans Are The Problem
Good products solve problems. Self driving cars, robots that take care of your kids (5E Nanny Bot) and sensors that track everything you do are all looking to solve the same problem – humans! Humans are too distracted, lazy and inaccurate to safely drive cars, take care of kids and keep track of how much we eat, exercise and sleep.
The Electronic Industry Creates Solutions…to The Problems It Created
From the above we learned that good products solve problems. I learned at CES that a sort of expansion of that theory is true as well…”good products solve problems that other products created.”
In 2016, the electronics industry was pushing IoT – the Internet of Things. We were told we need endless connected devices for our home…you know, so our washing machine could tell us our wash was done, via an app, even if we were 3,000 miles away. How our wash got started without us there? Never figured that out.
Flash forward to 2017 and it turns out there is a huge problem that needs fixing. All those IoT devices we were sold last year, yeah, they are insecure and can be used for zombie botnet attacks on various websites (see Mirai Botnet – infecting over 400K IoT devices).
What a great opportunity for all types of tech companies to now solve the problem they created. Devices like the Securifi Almond 3 work to block all the connected devices in your home from being used in zombie botnet attacks. Personally, I would totally buy it if it also blocked real Zombie attacks.
Our Ears Suck
Turns out us humans are really bad at hearing things. Sure, with no outside noise and in the perfect environment, we do ok for ourselves, but we can certainly use some help.
Headphones like the Stages Hero look to improve how we hear. You can focus your hearing, amplify certain sounds (like voices) while reducing other sounds (traffic) and even bump up the volume when key words are heard (your name, fire or duck!). Numerous other companies were showing headphones that look to improve our ability to hear what we want and eliminate what we don’t.
Your Home Is Getting Smarter, So You Can Get Dumber
Tired of having to waste brain cells figuring out the proper temperature for your home? Doesn’t it make your brain hurt to actually remember to turn off the lights and coffee pot before you go on a trip? Who has the IQ necessary to figure out if water is flooding into your house?
Luckily, you don’t need to think about anything when it comes to your home. Smart home devices will turn everything on and off based on conditions. Sensors will detect any problems in the home and notify the proper folks to fix it. Lights will go off at night, relaxing music will go on and you can lay your dumb head on your sleep tracking mattress.
Everything We Do Needs to Be Tracked And Analyzed
Heart rate, blood pressure, steps…all have been tracked for years. In 2017, we will see pretty much everything we do tracked – sleep, caloric intake, posture, breathing, mental capacity, exposure to the sun, how long we brush our teeth, when we play, when we work and yes, even our sperm count.
Why exactly do we need to track all this? Not exactly sure, I think our Robot Overlords just want to laugh at our limited abilities.
Drones and Robots Will Soon Rule The World
I think I could write continuously for the next 30 days and still not be able to cover all the drone and robots that filled CES. Basically, when it comes to drones and robots, if you can dream it up, they probably have it.
Drones and robots are clearly taking over the world. Seems like our only defense is to start eating all the drones…
It’s About Time The Tech Industry Transformed The Breast Pump
Breast pumps look like a torture device from the 1950s. Finally, Willow is changing all that with the Willow Breast Pump. The pump is wireless and slips right into the bra, allowing women to pump, totally discreetly and in near silence. No tubes, no cords, no bottles – completely hands free. Guys, this might not mean anything to you, but to the Moms in the house, this is an absolute game changer!
High End Gaming Machines Just Moved to The Cloud
Just about everything else lives in the cloud – why not a high end gaming machine? Liquid Sky is promising the ability to play the most advanced and graphic intensive games, from any device. Oh, did we mention it will be free. Yep, starting in March you watch some ads and then get to play the games for free.
Liquid Sky will have competition up in the clouds. Nvidia Grid promises a similar cloud based gaming experience.
Please Wait Until 2020 To Be Totally Distracted While You Drive
Driverless cars are coming…the only question is when. Lots of demos at CES2017 and the general belief is that by 2020 we will have full driverless cars on the road.
So, to all you folks I see texting while driving – please wait until 2020 to drive again. Thank you.