A quick look at the history of the Consumer Electronics Show, taking place this week in Las Vegas, says much about the organization. When CES began 50 years ago, it was basically a trade show for new “gadgets” like “pocket radios” and televisions with “integrated circuits.”
Now CES spans dozens of industries including everything from home appliances to automobiles to cruise ships. CES runs Jan. 5 through Jan. 8 and is expected to attract nearly 180, 000 attendees.
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Innovation And Variety
The CES ‘Innovation Awards’ go to cutting edge products and emphasize the broad reach of technology into many different industries – some expected, some not.
One winner this year, the Lenovo PhabPro2 augmented reality smartphone fits into one of the more conventional CES categories and utilizes Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOGC) Google Tango augmented reality technology.
Others like Cota Tile, a traditional home ceiling tile that offers wireless power without plugs or pads, veer far away from normal tech. Then there’s the K’Track G, a wearable device designed to allow diabetics to measure their blood sugar levels in real time.
With 138 automotive-related companies at this year’s show, CES threatens to overshadow the Detroit auto show next week. This is due to the role technology now plays in the automotive industry.
Among CES keynote speakers this year are General Motors Co.’s (NYSE:GMB) CEO Mary Barra and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:FB) CEO Mark Fields. Both company leaders will highlight innovations in technology set to take place in transportation, one of the fastest-growing sectors affected by technology.
Health And Wellness
Another area into which tech has jumped with both feet is the area of web-connected health and wellness gadgets. These include such items as HabitAware from HAX, a bracelet that buzzes to stop wearers from engaging in unwanted behavior such as nail biting or skin picking.
Others like Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT) have been moving to position themselves as serious health products designed to measure long-term health conditions as opposed to simply heart rate or sleep cycles.
Virtual Assistants ProliferateAmazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZNA) Alexa will be found in more products than ever before. This stems mostly from the popularity of Amazon’s Echo speaker, which utilizes the Alexa AI system to perform searches and answer questions.
CES 2017 will feature ways in which companies like General Electric Co. (NYSE:GEC) will present a table lamp with an embedded version of Alexa. Another company, Ubtech has a humanoid-like robot with Alexa-enabled vocal commands.
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Digital Clothing To Amaze
Clothing, likely the least technological product of them all, will be represented by Under Armour Inc. (NYSE:UAAC) CEO Kevin Plank, who will deliver a keynote address describing how the company will use digital data and information technology to expand its foothold in the world of electronics.
In October Plank said Under Armour had 3 goals – get big fast, make retail a core competency and put more shoes on feet. Interestingly, to get there, Under Armour has actually become a technology company.
Under Armour now works with many high profile tech companies as it seeks to make clothing electronic and to automate as much production as possible.