It’s possible that a top product or story will break out at CES 2017. More likely we will witness the slow evolution of some big categories like virtual reality, drones and autonomous vehicles. The size of the show makes finding really interesting needles-in-this-haystack tough. The pace of the show makes it hard to process all that is there. As I get ready to attend, here are a few things I will be on the lookout for:
Exceptional Virtual Reality Content
Last year brought us headsets from Oculus Rift (inside their impenetrable ‘cube’ of a showfloor booth), Samsung and HTC. This year is the year to grab a demo seat to see what content has been created for that experience. The virtual Power Rangers experience showing off Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset could be that go-to experience. Finding that off-hours time to visit the booth and actually get a headset could be the trick.
Autonomous Vehicle Demonstrations
We all know we are on that long march to fully autonomous sometime around 2025. Until then, we will see promising innovations announced and incremental demos. This CES, I would expect there to be actual driving demos through the streets or parking lots of Las Vegas. Unfortunately, very few beyond the press will get to experience them. Look for demos from Hyundai's Autonomous Ioniq and Delphi.
“Delphi and Mobileye have also announced they'll conduct a 6.3-mile drive in challenging real-world conditions to show off the Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) automated driving system.”
The Connected Home Longtail
The connected home appears held by some marketplace tension. That tension is between the hope that particular “gadgets” like Nest or Alexa will fly off the shelves and drive adoption and the slow growth of “systems” like Apple, Amazon Echo, Samsung Smart Things that promise to seamlessly integrate many smart home technologies. Integrated systems remain the luxury of hobbyists willing to put in the time. That won’t change this CES. What we will see is a long tail of entrepreneurs with quirky solutions in Tech West and the special venue, Eureka Park.
The singlecue Gen 2 gesture-controlled system for example – wave your hand to change your Nest settings.
Cool Cars and Vehicles
I wonder what the betting pool on Faraday Futures looks like in Vegas. There seems to be equal parts anticipation of their reveal of their new electric vehicle and speculation of the disintegration of their business. The company reveals its new production vehicle with “extreme technology” at the head of the show. I guarantee the Faraday car will be a must-see.
No doubt Ford, Mercedes and BMW will show off something cool including BMW’s hologram interface for their dashboard experience.
Meanwhile, the French leader in hydrogen fuel cells will show off the hydrogen-powered skateboard. Think of it as a “minimum viable product” that may someday grow up to be a car.