CES is an enormous show. More than 160,000 reportedly attended in 2015, a total that may represent the attendance cap for this year.
Attending requires planning and a strategy to cover the exhibits. One cannot just walk around aimlessly and hope to meet the objective of seeing hot new technology from long established companies and increasingly with startups and early stage organizations, all with the goal of being the next unicorn.
While some years we have sent out a post-show Perspective on CES with some of our observations on the recent show, we are often asked what areas we plan to visit. So, here is a brief list of the technologies in which we are most interested.
Drones – Recent FAA regulations and a sharp uptick in their use in production to get the "right" shot, to the potential for package delivery by Amazon and presumably others, and everything in between, would indicate that the entire value chain at CES will be quite robust. We'll be there.
Displays – Displays keep getting better and better, from what is used in our mobile phones and tablets to the giant screens that are for TV and streaming. UHD/4K was prevalent at CES years back and will be again. Last year saw an increase of 8K displays over prior years and we expect more exhibitors to be showcasing them in 2016.
Larger phone displays may have stabilized in the 5.5" – 5.8" range, as buyers opt for better viewing as mobile usage for all manner of functions continues to skyrocket. Along with that will be the commoditization of the products, reflected in part by the US carriers that do not subsidize their purchase to the extent that was done a few years ago.
Robotics – Cognitive technologies and sensors are increasingly used in robotics, as there will be an onslaught of smart machines in the coming years. We are still in the pre-dawn era of "smart" so there is a long road ahead. We expect to see significantly more robotics this year as the technology becomes more mainstream and costs have declined as more companies enter the market. The uses are innumerable, from manufacturing to window washing in skyscrapers.
Long time readers of this consulting newsletter may recall that a few years ago we named the Beam from Suitable Technologies as the Most Futuristic Product we saw that year. Telepresence is taking over as a vital component of telecommuting.
Virtual reality – At this time last year, 2015 was supposed to be the year for VR and for AR – Augmented Reality. As with many new technologies, product launches were delayed time and again. Perhaps 2016 will be the year that the products launch from the likes of OculusVR, HTC Vive, Sony, and a bevy of smaller companies attempt to get into the frenzy that is VR today. The full value chain for workflow from image capture to distribution to the devices will be present. We expect to see more products related to AR than ever before.
Automotive – Certainly self-driving cars will be featured as they were last year. But there are many other applications as sensor technology becomes an integral part of safety features in today's cars. Better and wider use of voice recognition tools will continue to enhance communications and in vehicle entertainment systems. Sensors and smart tools will also be built into more cars to monitor drivers for drowsiness, thus increasing safety for all of us.
We were disappointed that Ford did not have its SUV with solar panels on the roof that was showcased at CES 2014, as that seems to be a smart energy saving idea, especially for those of us living in Southern California. In any event, there will be other alternative energy autos, all seeking a market.
Corning's Gorilla glass is a fundamental part of a significant number of mobile device displays. Ford just announced that their forthcoming GT will be the first car with a Gorilla Glass windshield.
Energy – Nevada may soon become the battery capital of the world, with Tesla setting up its giga battery factory and Farady Future building a factory for its electric vehicle. With the sheer number of devices requiring batteries for power, we will be keeping our eyes out for the "next" idea for storing a charge.
Wearables – This might be a component of the display category, depending on your definition. While not a new product category, this holiday season will see a big increase in sales of wearables. Next year will be a big year, too, as the category expands. CES 2016 will be an indicator of how that will transpire in the coming year.
Of course, notwithstanding the crowded nature of the show, we still manage to see people we know and to meet new people on the show floor and at after hours events. If you plan to be at CES, let us know and give us an idea of what is high on your list of exhibits to see.
As for The Shindler Perspective
On the day preceding CES, I will be moderating a panel at the annual Storage Visions Conference on the topic of Pumping Big Data: Putting Data Where it Needs to Be. This is especially pertinent given the volume of video content, files of all kinds and general traffic on the Internet.
With 2016 an election year in the US and an Olympics in Rio, the challenges of moving content to/from the cloud are big and growing.
We have an illustrious panel that will discuss and even debate some of the issues. The panel includes:
- Ben Bloom, Service Line Manager, Technologies Media + Gaming, Akamai
- Rachel Bondi, World Wide Media & Entertainment/Games Team Leader, New Cloud Division, IBM Global
- Don Gabriel, General Manager Sales, EchoStar Satellite Services
- Jim Jachetta, Executive VP & CTO, Vidovation
- Michelle Munson, CEO and Co-founder, Aspera
Storage Visions is an official Partner Program of CES.
There is still a chance to register for Storage Visions. Use code "onehundredoff_67349921" before December 26 at Eventbrite to receive a $100 discount on full registration.
For my blog on the topic, click here.
Trends in the Marketplace and Other
We generally post various trends and never looking back type of concepts here as well as some of the latest comics that reflect reality.
They do not generally dovetail, but this time they do.
Black Friday online sales were up 18% over 2014, and in store sales were down this holiday shopping season. This is most likely a trend in the marketplace. We'll know for certain next year, but intuitively, the trend will continue, with the growth in online sales likely accelerating. There are many ways that it can be explained, but one of them is noted here by Dennis the Menace.
Roberta and I wish all of you a very healthy and happy holiday season and best wishes for a successful 2016.
Chief Executive Officer
© 2015 The Shindler Perspective, Inc.