176,000 attendees and almost 3,7000 companies including 400 start-ups. It can only be CES (The International Consumer Electronics Show), where trends at the very cutting edge of the tech industry are brought to life in the deserts of Nevada.
Amidst the sea of awesome gadgets and gizmos on display, making sense of it all can be a challenge. But there were definitely some common themes emerging in Vegas that will make 2016 jump light years ahead in the tech world.
1) The Internet of (Absolutely) Everything
It seems that efforts to make physical spaces smarter with IoT have doubled, with a particular focus on the connected home. Manufacturers are clamouring to make ordinary thermostats, light switches and other controls not so ordinary any more. Just some of the home technology on show at CES included smart sprinklers, smart water faucets and smart chairs.
2) It’s all wireless
It might be all well and good having a smart home, a smart office, a smart car. But how do you power all this stuff? A big trend at CES this year is wireless charging, a technology that sends waves of power throughout your house to charge connected devices as soon as you step through the door.
3) Drones, drones everywhere
2016 will be the year that drones transform from a cool novelty to something that’s actually useful. The Unmanned Systems Marketplace in the South Hall at CES was 200% bigger this time, covering over 25,000 sq ft. The drone technology on show was pretty controversial, from smart drones that track exactly where you are to shoot better videos, to drones that have face tracking technology built in. Not to mention the luxury car that comes with a personalized drone and launch pad.
4) VR becomes reality
Pretty soon you’ll find it impossible to avoid VR and augmented reality technology, unless you happen to be a hermit. Up until now, VR has very much remained in the realm of the super geek, but it’s set to go mainstream. Devices like the Samsung Gear VR, the PlayStation VR headset and of course, the Oculus Rift are getting ready for the shift into the consumer market.
5) Cars of the future
It’s official, cars are hot again. The sales experience at Tesla has been reshaped beyond all recognition, whilst Faraday Future, a competitor that’s been shrouded in mystery until now, unveiled a concept for an electric vehicle that can go for 300+ miles without charging. Other companies have focused on the tech they can build into the cars we have now; think big displays and software that will power self-driving cars.
It’ll be interesting to see where these trends take us over the course of the year. I’m sure 2017’s tech world will be an entirely different landscape.