2015 was a banner year for the American automotive industry, but with major initiatives from Google, Apple and Ford Motors plus the sharing economy offerings of Uber and Lyft, 2015 may be the auto industry’s high water mark. The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas offered a glimpse into the future of driverless cars and battery operative vehicles all tricked out the high end audio systems and Internet connectivity. By 2020 or sooner, you could be driven home in a driveless vehicle smart enough to find the fastest route home based on traffic while smart devices in your home connected by the Internet of Things (IoT) are activated by you on a tablet or smart phone so when you get home, the air conditioning has been turned on, the lights are just right and dinner is nearly finished. Consider this; each IoT device has its own IP address.
This year’s show, the biggest yet, is spread out over three halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Expo Center, the Venetian, Aria, and Mandalay Bay; traffic and parking are terrible and there’s very tight security. Bags are being searched. The lines to everything are long. But it’s THE place to be.
Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM , officially opened CES 2016 on the keynote stage and highlighted the many ways technology is changing the world and solving some of the planet’s most complex problems through revolutionary products and services such as drone delivery, automated driving, the sharing economy, 3D printing and more. He shared his vision of a connected world that is changing rapidly as “billions of intelligent products and services are now woven into the daily fabric of our lives,” connecting each of us to these products and services, but more importantly, to each other. Shapiro continued, “I see a world with connected devices that are constantly learning and discovering new ways of doing everything; improving the way we live.”
From the CES press release:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler discussed the value of spectrum in supporting IoT connectivity and the significance of the upcoming wireless spectrum auction. “Eighty-four days from today there will be the world’s largest spectrum auction that has ever taken place,” Wheeler said. “The auction is essential to the kinds of things that are going on downstairs on the show floor,” he added. Wheeler said the upcoming spectrum auction is an opportunity for broadcasters to rethink how they want to do their business.
Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez focused on the need to protect consumer privacy in an IoT era. “Data is increasingly becoming today’s currency and we need to be aware of what impact that has on consumers.” Ramirez added that companies should be transparent about their data practices and offer consumers opt-out choices. “Consumers are willing to share information if they can be assured about what that information is being used for,” Ramirez said. She also discussed the FTC’s recent workshop on the sharing economy and the Commission’s plans to release a report on the sharing economy this spring.
Drones are big here; so big in fact, that one there is a one-person manned drone that some might consider the first flying car. On December 21, a new federal database for drones over 9 oz was established and hobbyists are registering their devices. USA Today reports more than 400,000 drones were sold during the Holiday Season. More than 181,000 drones have been registered with the federal government since a database last month according to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. There’s even a new smart phone app for Apple products, B4UFLY, to help drone operators learn about no-fly zones in their area. More than 1 million drones are expected to be sold in 2016; some are the size of a Vespa.
The Gibson Guitar tent outside of the convention hall was, in a word, awesome. There’s new technology that allows a band playing live music to record directly to vinyl. And the guitars and companion audio products from speakers to headphones were simply amazing.
A boatload of new 4K ultra high definition TVs and companion products were released — bigger and better screens, thinner devices, and all for less money than last year. But still lacking is good 4K UHD programming.
Wearables and Virtual Reality had expanded spaces this year. Fitbit has a new smart watch with fitness in mind that’s half the cost of the Apple Watch; the screen on the Fitbit watch is bigger, easier to see in bright sunlight and operates under the “less is more” standard than the tiny Apple Watch screen that doesn’t do a great job when it comes to fitness apps.
For drivers, Corba offers exceptional dash cams that are terrific when you’re driving. High quality video with large capacity memory makes it useful for people who spend a lot of time on the road and are more likely to get in accidents (insurance companies love video).
Enjoy the pictures.