The largest consumer electronics trade show is about to kick off the new year with over 3,600 exhibiting companies and more than 150,000 attendees from 150 countries. What is shown here is a peek into the future. Here's what we expect to see (a lot of) at CES 2016.
In the roster of exhibitors, nearly a third of them are listed in the Smart Home/Appliances category. We expect to see "smart" everything - sensors embedded in objects along with software that translates that data. From car seats for your baby to cups you pour your drinks into, being able to collect, analyze and take action on data will be present on most of the showroom floor. Businesses will want to consider the above three prongs and examine the opportunities within their industries. It truly is a time to reinvent the wheel.
A big market sector where these sensors and other technology will appear is in health gadgets - with a subclass of products to assist seniors. It's no secret the Baby Boomer generation is getting older. That offers a huge market opportunity for tech companies to help ease the transition. Companies like ReSound out of Copenhagen will demonstrate hearing aids that wirelessly connect to your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, allowing users to stream calls, music and turn-by-turn navigation to their hearing aids.
HeyMomDad, is showing off a two-way monitoring system designed for children of elderly parents to be able to see and hear their family remotely from their smartphones. While other monitors immediately call 911 with a button-push, HeyMomDad allows a parent to speak with their adult child first - allowing them to maintain their independence while getting support when needed.
If you think people are the only ones getting health monitors, you're barking up the wrong tree. Canhegat, a French-based company, will be demonstrating the Canhe-Fit, a pendant you attach to your dog or cat's collar to monitor food intake and activity level in accordance with their breed, age, and weight." If it has a heartbeat and is a "member of the family" you can bet there will be a health gadget, sensor or monitor for them at CES.
If you've ever walked the floor at CES, you know TVs are a staple. Each year televisions have higher resolution and get bigger and curvier. In the past we've heard about HD and Ultra HD, but this year HDR (high dynamic range) is going to steal the spotlight. In the past several years the HD movement has been about squeezing as many pixels as possible onto a panel. But HDR technology makes those pixels smarter - offering truer colors with greater ranges of contrast (think of how photographers are able to tweak an image in post production to pull details out of the shadows). If you have a newer smartphone it likely has an HDR mode built in to the camera. Unlike these new TVs, however, the camera takes multiple versions of the same image and blends them together to reveal the best pixels. In short, HDR-capable TVs make each pixel on your screen look its best. By the end of 2017, most 50-inch-plus TVs worldwide will feature 4K resolution, according to IHS TV Sets Intelligence Service; and earlier this month DirecTV announced they're launching 4K service in 2016.
Lastly, 3D printing is finally ready for the masses. A fan-favorite for the past several years at CES, the technology has matured and is ready for large adoption. New Matter, for example, is showcasing its end-to-end solution with a store where you can submit and download designs, along with its affordable MOD-t 3D printer. More than just affordable, the machines are getting exceptionally robust as well. Last year MakerBot made headlines when it rolled out a new material set it could print with, including bronze, iron and limestone. This year, Nano Dimension, an Israeli company, will demonstrate its printer that spits out highly-conductive silver nanoparticle inks, which means it can print circuit boards. Home users and businesses will be able to prototype and create like never before.
This is only a small sample of the new innovations we expect to see at CES. Americans are more wired and connected than ever before - in fact 20 percent of us are online at almost any given moment - and companies are developing products and services to feed our habit. We'll be back with more after CES to tell you what we saw - and what it means for you and your small business.