NEW ZEALAND TECH
This year's continued collaboration between NZTE and Callaghan was greater than ever, with 20 NZ companies represented at Booths, on TV, with awards, hosting off-floor commercial business meetings, featured in publications and enjoying themselves immensely. At the StartUp area in Eureka Park, the New Zealand presence was only outdone by France and Israel.
The Detroit Car Show overlapped CES this year. However, the massive presence of major automakers at the show proved that technology and automotive are now forever intertwined. The show is just as much about cars as it is consumer tech.
High: Nvidia showing their GPU (over CPU) capabilities that are an ideal fit for autonomous vehicles that require massive real-time processing power and BMW/Intel showing what they can do to the in-car experience.
Low: Faraday Fail - a great example of too much hype, with only the outside of the car available for viewing and a keynote demo that unfortunately failed to work.
Drones or UAVs as the industry prefers to call them are at the show in even greater quantities and capabilities than last year.
High: New Zealand companies representing fantastic Drone Technology. Dotterel's noise reduction technologies and Boxfish's incredibly nimble and stable underwater drone (OK - ROV) was a huge hit! The Discovery Channel came over to their booth a few times to drool and film their device.
Low: UAVs are not universally loved with one booth on the Drone floor being a “Drone Gun” for literally shooting down drones in the surrounding air space.
The robots are coming but not just in ways that can fold your laundry, drive your car, clean your grill or vacuum your house. By Smart Things we don’t just mean IoT devices. They are just part of the Smart Things movement this year. Smart Things means that we saw Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Machine Learning capabilities everywhere.
Low: Alexa also turned up in places that didn't make much sense at all.
This was the most talked about marketplace as measured through all Social Media channels and is definitely expanding beyond just the gaming world.
High: The NBA provided a demo of what VR participation at basketball games could look like. A really compelling use case! Also, technology and hardware acceleration breakthroughs are providing experiences that are incredibly high definition with very quick screen refresh rates (which is the main cause of “VR nausea” in many current uses).
Low: People just look a little ridiculous when using VR - no avoiding it.
#IoT was the most used hashtag at CES (even though #AR and #VR combined was greater).
High: For some time now we have seen how connected devices can seamlessly link smartphones and computers to control temperature, appliances, home lights music and security in your home (shout out here to NZ’s Wireless Guard). But by adding in the layers of artificial intelligence, your home can now gain a deeper understanding of habits, tastes, preferences and patterns.
Low: Some products are just looking for problems to solve - like smart toasters (apparently the burnt toast market is huge).
Get used to this phrase (as well as “Screenless Internet interactions”). The age of voice only interactions on the internet is here, and the hashtag #voicefirst trended like crazy this year at CES. As connected devices become more intuitive to our needs and experiences, voice will be playing an important role, we're looking to you, Siri and Alexa. We are on the brink of a shift away from touch screens (again with AI being a key lever in this transition).
High: ARDA - New Zealand's very own AI Coaching engine designed for wearables were featured at the Intel Booth. It sits within a pair of Oakley Glasses, where the athlete can simply ask ARDA workout based questions and get coach-based input from the device.
Low: OK, this one is also a high. A TV reporter accidentally demonstrated the power of Amazon’s Alexa when they reported on Alexa accepting a child's request for a dollhouse - which caused Alexa to start ordering dollhouses for other people when their Amazon Echos heard the TV broadcast.
TVs and CAMERAS
TVs are the reliable spectacle of CES - smaller, thinner, and better was the theme this year and we have finally reached peak display thinness. LCD-based technologies were highly represented (such as quantum dot) which seems to mark the end of OLED. 4K streaming is finally here across most streaming providers (Roku, Chromecast, etc).
High: LG stole the TV show that included the shockingly thin and bright W7, which the company describes as the “lightest, thinnest, and most beautiful TV on the planet." We would agree. 360 Camera rigs look fantastic - with the only underwater professional one provided by New Zealand's own, BoxFish.
Low: Do you want to sit all day in a mermaid outfit?
Just to give you some concept of how BIG CES is, below are some impressive stats:
Distance walked: Over the 4 days we were there for the show, Jon's fitness tracker measured just over 50km over walking.
Number of attendees: This year attendance was put at over 200,000 people. 4.5% of NZ’s population showed up to play with gadgets!
Number of booths: 3900.
Tweets: 9300 per hour on average referencing #CES2017, with over 1.5 million tweets in total - peaking at a potential reach of 7 billion people on Friday, January 6th.