The Ad Council’s Business Development and Innovation team kicked off the new year in Vegas at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show), joining over 200K people who descended on Sin City to browse tech exhibits spread across 2.6 million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The products at CES were either completely futuristic and innovative, or insanely practical and ready for purchase. An overarching theme was “the best interface is no interface,” really embedding the human element into technology. With that in mind, here’s what stood out to me at this year’s CES:
What did you say, Alexa?
Without a doubt, the power of voice was embraced throughout CES, whether it was to advance security in financial services or to better connect you to your home and car. Alexa has become the ultimate back seat driver in new Ford vehicles where you can control your smart home devices right from your car, as well as remotely start, lock/unlock cars, and get vehicle information right from your bed. In the future, you will also be able to order products on Amazon (surprise, surprise), start/pause audiobooks, and more right from your car.
Another stand-out voice integration was in refrigerators, especially LG’s Smart Instaview fridge. Who doesn’t want a fridge that can pop up recipes, play your favorite Pandora playlist, text you images of what’s in your fridge, and even order groceries right from the fridge touchscreen? No more expired milk in your future.
This is the LG SmartInstaview fridge that talks to you pic.twitter.com/OhzF9zTngZ
— Angela Moscaritolo (@amoscaritolo) January 5, 2017
This is the year where you can control everything and anything with Alexa.
Delegate household chores to your robot!
Everything from smart lighting, refrigerators, dining tables, ovens, vacuums, locks and steam cleaners are now being designed to improve your living experience–with the help of robots! Kuri, already known as the most adorable robot (that’s a thing now), can follow you around, take video, tell stories, monitor the home and greet guests.
The LG’s Hub bot (powered by Alexa) can learn your habitual patterns, do tasks by anticipation, and run immediate/scheduled tasks to all of your other home smart devices, like running your washing machine or vacuum. Some other home robots to keep an eye on are: Lynx (powered by Alexa) that can dance and do yoga with you, and iPal, designed to give kids companionship, can play games, tell stories, dance and video chat. Check out the full list of robots at CES here. Also, LG has announced that they are planning to put wifi in all of their gadgets!
VR is here to stay
Virtual Reality has been the buzz for a while now–immersing users in beautiful experiences that can tell stories for fundraising, gaming, journalism, entertainment and more. At CES, VR was used in new ways that may shape the future of product and experience design.
Using the Oculus Rift, Audi allows you to now pick and customize the exterior and interior specs of a car and then get inside the car before you decide to buy. Can you imagine being able to virtually test drive 5-6 cars in one day to get a feel for the car you may want?
Samsung Gear VR had 4 experiential simulators (Robot Wars, The Flight, The Skeleton Winter and The Boat Race) that had long lines each day. These simulators, along with the headset, would put you into a game-like experience that could be used in amusement parks. I had a chance to get in the Boat Race simulator and couldn’t believe the seat even rocked back and forth to provide the physical experience as well. This can be great for people who want the thrill of rides without the fear of the ride breaking down.
Even the CNET stage at CES could be viewed in 360 video, which was helpful for those who didn’t make it to Vegas but had a VR headset handy. I can imagine a new VR ticket option for conferences in the future!
If you want to know more, this roundup by UploadVR captured all of the AR/VR happenings at CES.
This year’s CES showed us the gap between tech and humans is narrowing and with much greater attention to how all of this new technology can benefit the [human] end user. IF you were at CES, what top trends stood out to you?