Personalization and freedom are the name of the game in 2015, and what we see at CES will empower users more than ever before to take control and better leverage the technology in their lives.
The Year of Wearables
Between smart watches, smart glasses and even smart clothing, wearable technology is going to be a huge part of this year’s CES. Calendars might even ditch calling it 2015 altogether in favor of 0 BAW (Before Apple Watch), since that company’s own wrist-worn device will be coming a few short months after the show ends.
Comprising a wide range of devices from fitness watches and activity trackers to head-worn displays and Bluetooth jewelry that vibrates when you’ve got an incoming call, most of people are willing to embrace this technology in their daily life, to change or upgrade their lifestyle. According to the report, 64 percent of consumers want their devices to track their calories burned and a further 52 percent want their devices to keep them motivated.
2014 has already seen the launch of OMSignal and Hexoskin, two t-shirts that can monitor your blood pressure, and Myontec’s shorts that are designed to measure your muscle load while exercising. There’s even a probability that we’ll see more baby clothing that can monitor infants as they sleep in order to reduce the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). CES is likely to bring another raft of innovations in this space, making smarter clothing that can keep you at the right temperature and help you exercise in a way that avoids injury.
The Rise of the Connected Home
One of the most notable devices that came out of the 2014 CES was Mother, a series of sensors that you could attach to anything you wanted. With it, you could make anything in your home “smart,” for instance if you had a cupboard in which you kept cleaning chemicals, you could attach one of Mother’s tags to the door, and you’d be alerted every time the door was opened — ideal if you have small children. Devices like this are tools that people can use to make their homes smart according to their own needs, the only limit being their imagination.
As plenty of people are coming around to the idea that you can control your home’s heating with your smartphone, we’re likely to see plenty more smart home options launching at CES, from Bluetooth padlocks and app-connected door locks to webcam-enabled doorbells and more.
Imagine manufacturing any item you need with raw materials stored at home using a 3D printer. We’re far from that reality, but advances in technology and lowering prices means that creating products at home via 3D printing is creeping ever closer to the mainstream.
In the meantime, people are stretching the boundaries of 3D printing. A hobbyist is building a device that pours concrete to create houses, and researchers are developing devices that can create food from gelatin and fruit juice. We’ve also seen tabletop devices that take raw materials and create food out of them, and while so far they’re nothing more than sophisticated bread-making machines, we could certainly see more innovation in food technology in January.
In some people’s eyes, the world of computers, TVs, smartphones and cameras is well-trodden roads where evolution, not innovation occurs. And yet, at the 2014 CES, specialist gaming company Razer came up with a modular PC concept that could revolutionize the way people buy and sell their desktops. Companies like Samsung and LG are working on curved, super-sized and flexible displays that will help these devices fit more seamlessly into our homes. We’re not too far away from seeing true roll-away flat screen TVs, and while 2015 is a little early for such sets to arrive, you can still expect to see other innovative TV technologies on the show floor.
Traditionally, in-car infotainment systems have been expensive to build and often lag behind the technology that sits inside a person’s smartphone. This is because car tech has to withstand the same sort of conditions as the car itself, but will it in the future? With smartphones becoming ever more sophisticated, manufacturers looking to streamline their devices and wireless protocols like Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, it seems clear that the industry is primed for a convergence. Expect to see plenty of ways to integrate the technology in your pocket with that in your car's dashboard.