What a year 2014 has proven to be for smart technology. From cars and homes to handheld devices and wearables, just about everything in our world seemed to go online. In fact, according to a statement from the Consumer Electronics Association, CES will feature “the largest ever showcase of products, services and technologies that make up the Internet of Things (IoT).”
As we prepare for CES in Vegas, where we will be showcasing a wide-range of applications for connected living, let’s take a look at some of the trends we can expect to find throughout the show floor.
Home is where the smart is
It isn’t just your phone anymore, your home devices are becoming increasingly connected as well. This includes wireless speakers, ZigBee-controlled lighting, thermostats, smoke detectors, television and entertainment systems, universal remotes and even Home Alone-inspired burglar deterrents. Not only will homeowners see the Internet of Things infiltrate everything from the kitchen to the living room to the garage, 2015 will be the year we begin to experience smarter neighborhoods.
The Insecurity of Things
While not your typical CES topic, with so much information being exchanged between devices, objects and services, the need for security has never been more paramount. Recent high-profile breaches and device vulnerabilities have surely heightened consumers’ concerns about the security and privacy of their data. Meanwhile, the impact of insecurity can also be quite profound for organizations as products can be cloned, software copied, systems tampered with and spied on, and many other things that can lead to revenue loss, increased liability, and diminished brand equity. “As we all embrace the convenience and ‘always connected’ powerful capabilities of our electronics devices, our privacy and security take on even more importance,” noted Karen Chupka, CES SVP in a statement. “We developed the Personal Privacy and Cyber Security Marketplaces to highlight companies and organizations who are developing advanced solutions to stop identity theft, fraud and other cybercrimes.”
Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto
Perhaps The Jetsons were right after all. As recent innovations have shown, we’re inching closer to the day of Rosie the robot in every home. So much so that CES 2015 will see a 25% increase in presence inside its Robotics Marketplace with 18 innovative companies showcasing a full range of intelligent machines that are connected to the cloud, controllable by mobile device and capable of observing, listening, feeling and reacting specifically to various environments. According to Business Insider, there will be a $1.5 billion market for consumer and business robots by 2019, with home cleaning and maintenance, telepresence and home entertainment among the key drivers.
The Game of Drones
CEA research has revealed that the global market for consumer drones will near $130 million in revenue by next, increasing by 55% from 2014 with unit sales of consumer drones estimated to reach 400,000. Moreover, revenue from drone sales is projected to easily exceed $1 billion in just five years. As more mainstream brands like GoPro, Amazon and Google explore these unmanned aerial vehicles, we can expect its popularity to soar. Given that everyone with a smartphone in their pocket has the ability to pilot a drone, there’s a very large potential customer base. Pair that with ease-of-use, affordability and longer flight times, and it’ll become the must-have backyard accessory in no time. In its first year at the CES, the Unmanned Systems Marketplace will cover 6,500 net square feet of exhibit space with a number of high-end commercial and consumer UAV tech companies set to attend.
Embedded shirts and smarty pants
If Gartner’s predictions are accurate, the breakout wearable hit of the next few years will be the smart garment. While wrist-adorned gadgets such as smartwatches and fitness bands will carry on, the research firm believes the emergence of less invasive devices will disrupt the wearables space over the next two years. The analysts’ figures show electronic textiles — which range from t-shirts with bio-sensing circuitry woven into its fibers to sensor-laden athletic shoes — rising from practically non-existent sales this year to more than 10 million pieces in 2015. Prime examples of such next-gen wearable tech are Cityzen Sciences’ D-Shirt as well as OMsignal biometric smart wear — both of which we expect to see on the show floor.
Disney won’t be the only place to find talking cars
As drivers get older and roads more congested, carmakers will be looking for ways to automate vehicles and enhance safety. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology is exactly what it sounds like: Cars will soon autonomously “talk and listen” to one another. They will share information like proximity, speed, direction, road conditions, as well as countless others things yet to be imagined. Throughout the weeklong show, a number of next-gen vehicle technologies will be on display, including futuristic center consoles, RF and LF technologies for keyless entry systems, LIN- and CAN-based car networking applications, audio via Ethernet-AVB, as well as safe data transfer via automotive networking. A dozen or so car manufacturers will be in attendance this year — more than ever before — including Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mercedes, Toyota and Volvo, among others. As the IoT hits the road, expect to also see more tech brands enter the connected car space. Both Apple and Google have made moves on the auto industry with CarPlay and the Open Automotive Alliance, respectively, while the Mountain View giant has even unveiled its first driverless car. Furthermore, in-vehicle entertainment will become much more integrated and intuitive with smartphone-like interfaces, as seen with Ford’s recently announced Sync 3.0 system. Don’t be shocked if there’s a few self-driving car concepts steering around the convention center, either.
4K all the way
When it comes to TVs, one of the biggest buzzwords at CES 2015 will certainly be 4K. These television displays offer roughly 4,000 horizontal pixels of resolution, compared to the 1,920 pixels in many of today’s sets. And while “Ultra HD” is nothing new to the show, 2015 will be the year that they are everywhere, from Samsung and LG to Sony and Philips.
Smartwatches even Dick Tracy would love
If 2014 was the year of the intelligent health and fitness bands, 2015 will certainly be the year that the smartwatch finally comes of age. According to CEA research, nearly one in 10 online U.S. adults plan to purchase a smartwatch in the next 12 months, with the most important features to potential buyers being health monitoring (91%), peak performance monitoring (90%) and workout routine pairing (82%). CEA’s forecast even has revealed that the wholesale projections will grow from 600,000 units and $95 million in revenue for 2013 to 960,000 units and $177 million in revenue for 2014. Throughout the show floor, expect to find new companies like Lenovo and HTC enter the smartwatch market, while some reports suggest the possibility of upgrades coming to devices such as the Moto 360 and another LG G Watch variant. Guess we’ll find out in time!
Ahead of the curve
With the share of flexible smartphones in the overall smartphone market expected to reach 40% in 2018, up from merely 0.2% last year, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see bendable and foldable devices out there on the show floor. In fact, rumor has it that LG is going to be exhibiting the successor to its flexible smartphone, while Xiaomi is reportedly preparing a new smartphone with a dual-edge display.
PYOT: Print your own things
The 3D Printing Marketplace section at CES will be double the size of last year’s, with each of the top names in the space like 3D Systems, Formlabs, MakerBot, New Matter and XYZprinting present. In line with a number of recently-revaeled studies, CEA anticipates consumers to embrace these products with double-digit percentage growth in unit shipments through 2018, bringing in $76 million in total revenue in 2014, up 44% over 2013. By 2018, CEA expects 3D printers to generate $175 million in total revenue. Pretty soon, 3D printers may be just as ubiquitous as in-home microwaves!
Phabulous news for bigger handsets
Historically, CES has been a launching pad for smaller, thinner and lighter smartphones; however, CES 2015 will highlight a number of bigger handheld devices in the rapidly growing “phablet” market. Combining conventional smartphone and tablet functions, the so-called phablets boast five-to-seven-inch screen sizes ideal for viewing photos, watching movies and playing video games. It’ll be exciting to see what companies like Samsung, Sony, HTC, Lenovo, ASUS, Xiaomi and Huawei, among several others, have in store. If the holiday season is any indication of what lies ahead, small phones are out. Need validation? A recent report from Flurry stated that phablets made up 13% device purchases over Christmas week, up from just 3% of devices two years ago.
Virtual reality comes to life
It’s hard to believe that the Oculus Rift debuted at CES nearly two years ago. While the most recognizable name in virtual reality (VR) headsets is still one of the coolest gadgets around, Oculus won’t be the only name found on the show floor in 2015. In fact, they will be joined by various tech industry heavyweights like Sony and Samsung with their Project Morpheus and Gear VR, respectively. With VR set to go mainstream and become a billion dollar market by 2018, you can expect to see several new head-mounted displays in development.
So, what are you most excited to see at CES? Be sure to stop by Atmel Booth MP25760 in the South Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For those unable to attend, don’t forget to follow along with us on Twitter as we bring you the latest trends, releases and more in real-time.