It’s the first industry access day to the Consumer Electronics Show and Derek and I have landed just in time to get started. Our initial impression from Day 1 was an interesting mix of cool, refined technology, and a lot of the same technology reiterated in a less impressive way.
The big dogs at CES flexed their muscles with giant exhibits showing off the products that are out already or the products to come. Samsung showed off their Internet of Things bigger scale approach with everything from refrigerators to washers and dryers. It’s very cool technology but was held out of a playable reach from attendees giving it that “it’s just for show” feel to a lot of it. Panasonic had a large exhibit showcasing a “Smart Home” and how they envision it to happen. This was interesting as a huge part of it was the kitchen element, helping cool, measure, guide, and even clean with their own robotic vacuum and dynamic counter top.
4K TVs were everywhere. Anyone that knew how to make a TV was showing off their newest 4K and some were even demoing their 8K models. All very gorgeous but I feel like 8K may be jumping the shark for the time being. To add on with the TV’s, Sling was demonstrating their solid platform and how far it’s come. It really is an impressive video content solution with the many many platforms it can be reached or distributed to.
Derek found a bluetooth panda with speakers for eyes (featured above). We did not bring it with us. There are quite a many vendor or manufacturer that are there just to show what they can produce and in a lot of cases are very good at it and are excited to discuss possible ways to help. It’s an awesome experience and environment if you have ideas and need people to help make them a reality.
VR had a very strong presence at the show which was cool for me as an enthusiast but also showcased just how much attention it was garnering. Lowe’s had a booth where you could build your dream kitchen in VR out of their products and see what it would look like without ever lifting a hammer while a real estate company was showing how they could create 3D models of a home for sale with just a tripod and a device that spins an iPhone. This crossed with drones, displayed across the walkway, and seemed to bleed into a lot of drone manufacturers trying to push 360 degree cameras or HMD (head mounted displays) so that you could be in your drone while flying it. It’s all very cool technology and awesome to see it evolving so quickly. Alternate reality also made an appearance to change just the everyday use of objects.
Smart Homes are at the forefront of a lot of companies minds based on the amount of “Smart” things we found around the show floor. The bigger names are putting out solutions left and right but it seems like there are another 5 putting out a solution that’s half-baked or already does what 10 others do better. The amount of times I approached a booth to see a light switch that controls a wireless relay or beeps over a wireless door contact was uncomfortably high. There were some novel ideas such as buttons with dot matrix LED arrays to help convey actions on the device or a stackable set of sensors you could purchase and mix and match called “Bamboo”. Consumer automation is “In” this year but unfortunately I have yet to see a solution that really stands out against the drone of clones. We went through a “Smart House” for a company with a very extravagant demo and there were many systems that just didn’t work or would work intermittently. It doesn’t leave the best impression but there were some very cool ideas behind them that just need time to come to fruition.
Derek continually reminded me that a lot of the technology showcased is 2 – 3 years out. If a third of it makes it to market and does what it wants to do well I’m really excited for it. Day 2 is a trip to Eureka park and the actual space set out for Smart Homes!