One of the biggest technological exhibitions of the year recently wrapped up in Las Vegas, N.V. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held from Jan. 6 to Jan. 9 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. CES is known for previewing some of the latest and most innovative technology on the market. While no single trend or theme stole the spotlight this year, a handful of ideas were at the forefront, including virtual reality, home automation, new wearables and innovations in PCs.
While it may sound as if it is coming from your favorite science fiction movie, virtual reality (VR) has been on the sidelines of technology for nearly three decades. The biggest and most popular forerunner in virtual reality hardware, Oculus Rift, showcased their newest hardware called Crescent Bay, which allows for complete first-person gameplay in a virtual reality environment. In addition to the Oculus Rift device, Samsung also reiterated their content play Milk VR that is powered by an Oculus VR accessory. They showcased new content available in a VR setting.
Another rising trend seen at CES was the concept of home automation, connecting housewares to the Internet. This allows for complete automation via an Internet connected device, such as a smartphone. New products, such as the Schlage Sense smart lock and Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener, made for Apple’s HomeKit, were previewed.
In addition to products for Apple’s home automation system, Google’s Nest and Samsung’s SmartThings also were showcased at the show. Google previewed products like the August Smart Lock, Philips Hue and Ooma, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) home phone service. Samsung previewed a new hub that can be connected to the Internet and connect to its own cloud.
Wearables can be defined as any clothing or accessory that also integrates computer technology. The most common manifestation of wearable technology is found in the concept of smart watches. CES presented many new smart watches this year with a big focus on design aspects, such as fashion and style, in addition to functionality.
Big companies such as Sony, Garmin and Lenovo promoted their own smart watches at the show. Sony presented the Smartwatch 3, featuring a new metal design that was upgraded from its predecessors made of plastic. Garmin featured two smart watches, the Fenix 3 and the Vivoactive. The Vivoactive is aimed at the athletic demographic with intrinsic apps for running, cycling, golfing and swimming. In addition to physical activity, the Vivoactive can also receive text messages and email notifications from your device. Garmin also showcased the Fenix 3, a more durable design than seen on the Vivoactive. However, this does not come with as much functionality as the former because it is solely made for activity tracking. Popular computer company Lenovo presented the Vibe Band VB10. Offering a simplistic design and a vertical face, the Vibe Band runs on e-ink and allows for all popup notifications from your smartphone.
Seen as a surprising change of pace at this year’s exhibition, PCs saw a number of innovative products. This change of pace can best be explained because Intel has released their new Broadwell chip series after a long delay. Innovations, such as Intel’s Compute Stick, a full Windows PC the size of a Chromecast or Roku Stick, were on display for the show. Products like the Lenovo LaVie Z and Asus Transformer Chi were just some of the new products featured that brought new life to a world previously dominated by tablet computing.
Overall, CES provided a considerable amount of strides in the realms of technology. CES, with its 170,000 attendees and 3,600 exhibitors showcasing numerous products, offered a sneak peak into the future as we may come to know it.