CES 2016 was massive – 2.47 million net square feet of exhibit space, 3,800 exhibitors, and 170,000 industry professionals from 150 countries – it indeed was the most sought-after conference to attend to check out the latest technological products and innovations. Consumer Electronics Show, as the name suggests, has traditionally been the show about consumer electronics and gadgets. But this year it certainly was much more than that. CES 2016 was all about Big Data, IoT, and Cloud Connectivity. The overall theme was of convergence of gadgets, sensors, and networks into the IoT, about collecting data, and analyzing data. Ask anyone in the expo area and you will hear phrases like Big Data and IoT again and again.
Some of the announcements at the show will convince anyone that the focus has shifted from smartphones and tablets to smart homes, smart cars, data analysis, and IoT. Let’s have a look –
Sensing the pressure from the giants like Google and Tesla, top auto makers from all over the world used CES 2016 to demonstrate their plans for self-driving cars. Through videos, photos, and prototypes, enough evidence was shown to prove that a solid progress is being made in this direction. Mark Fields, the Chief Executive of Ford, even went ahead and said that “Self-driving cars will be the most significant development in motoring since Americans swapped horses for cars.” Volvo and Ericsson are working together for in-car media streaming for self-driving cars. BMW demonstrated its i Vision Future Interaction with AirTouch 3D gesture control. Kia, a Korean automaker, announced the plans to launch its self-driving sub-brand DRIVE-WISE.
The products on display at CES 2016 clearly indicated that the age of smart homes is here. Not only everything is connected, it is connected to make our lives better. Almost all the major electronic manufacturers are heavily investing in smart home technology. Samsung demonstrated the Family Hub refrigerator with a 21-inch display as well as a camera inside the fridge. You can check out what’s inside the fridge from anywhere, anytime, using your Samsung phone. The fridge will send alerts to you when food is about to go off. It will allow you to mirror TV and movies from Samsung televisions, find recipes, control your home audio, and also order groceries online. Samsung also demonstrated a robot vacuum called PowerBot which will use camera to ensure that it cleans every corner of the room. You can control this robot via their smartphones. Another appliance worth mentioning is the Philips ChefConnect Multicooker which is controlled via Wi-Fi – you simply need to choose a recipe, add the ingredients, and the appliance takes care of everything else. It does baking, boiling, grilling, frying, and also slow cooking!
Toyota Partnership with Ford
Toyota announced its next-generation connected vehicle plans with a Data Communication Module (DCM). Toyota partnered with Ford to adopt the SmartDeviceLink, an open-source smartphone app interface which allows users to use apps in their vehicle through the voice recognition function. Apart from this, Toyota also demonstrated a host of automated, connected technologies including –
- TOYOTA Smart Center (a private cloud-computing system connecting people, vehicles, and communities, which collects vehicle data, analyzes the information from millions of vehicles around the globe and provides customers with personalized services).
- Agent+ service system – it leverages factors such as day, time, location and driving history to predict likely destinations and offer effective and quick guidance.
- Mobility Teammate Concept – showcasing Toyota’s approach to automated driving by building relationships between people and cars.
Samsung Microsoft IoT Partnership
At CES, Microsoft announced its partnership with Samsung to develop IoT devices based on Windows 10. This seems like a win-win situation for these tech giants – While Microsoft does not have a strong presence in the mobile market, Samsung has already made a name there. Samsung, on the other hand, does not have an existing platform for real-world IoT testing and instead of developing its own proprietary platform, it can use Microsoft’s ready platform for the same.
The other announcements which deserve a mention are –
- Cisco’s announcement of Infinite Broadcast – a multiscreen video solution for one-way and hybrid satellite and cable service providers.
- BMW Open Mobility Cloud concept which aims to connect the car with a person’s daily agenda.
- Mahindra’s cloud-connected scooter with Mahindra app and touchscreen display. The settings in the App let you adjust the amount of torque, or limit the power to the wheels. The scooter also sends out this information to the cloud using which, you can run diagnostics, locate the scooter, or plan your route through the app.
Clearly the Internet of Things and Cloud Connectivity dominated the conversations at CES 2016. For someone passionate about Cloud, Big Data, and IoT, being at CES 2016 was actually like a kid in a candy land – too much of excitement around, too many things to do and so little time