With the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) just starting in Las Vegas, my trendspotting alarm is blaring. From medical to home products to tech for your dog, the electronics at CES will cater to a whole array of lifestyles, and we in the marketing and PR fields should consider their implications on our work. As people from all over line up to witness the next round of high-tech innovations, here are some highlights for you to enjoy from the comfort of your soon-to-be outdated smartphone.
More Pet Tech
Pets have really gone all around the food chain, so to speak, from little companions to family members in your Christmas card to actual lifesavers, so it’s only natural that their market will continue to grow. Automated feeders will be more the norm (dispensing only organic kibble, I’m sure), cats will enjoy self-cleaning litterboxes, and little Max won’t get lost with his smart collar on. The LINK AKC smart collar is the standout collar at CES, as it does more tricks than your dog ever will.
Smart Home Tech
Google Home and Amazon Alexa have certainly left their mark: The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) predicts that sales in such voice-activated “assistants” will rise by 52 percent in the U.S. this year, leaving us to wonder if the smartphone’s days are numbered. “We began by using the smartphone as a hub, and now we’re starting to offload that and move some of those technologies beyond the smartphone,” said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist/senior director of research at the CTA. Such an increase in smart home products’ popularity will see consumers offloading their responsibilities onto automated appliances. Take for instance Whirlpool’s Smart Top Load Washer and Dryer, connected to Amazon Dash, which can order new detergent when it predicts you’re running low.
Who would’ve thought that “DIY eye exams” would ever be a thing? But it’s happening. Perhaps latching onto the few other at-home exams out there (OraQuick, AZO Test Strips, Cologuard), EyeQue looks to get your delicate eyes in on the practical fun. The company has been raising money on Kickstarter for its $30 device, which connects to an app, and has already far exceeded its $25,000 goal, further justifying its 2017 CES Innovation Award. And while we’re speaking optic, also look out for Aipoly Vision, an application that lets the visually impaired, blind and colorblind comprehend their surroundings by bringing object and color recognition to iOS. The health-conscious should also be aware of the arrival of the K’Track G, a wearable tracker that diabetics can use to measure their blood glucose level in real time, without any blood extraction, and the Motiv Ring, a smart device that will track heart rate, sleep and activity.
4K and 8K TVs
4K programs will be more plentiful this year, so buying a 4K resolution TV will be a smart purchasing decision. And it’s easier to do so now, as prices have become more affordable. At this year’s CES, however, there are a couple of TV vendors showing off their new generation of 8K TVs. The goal is to start getting consumers to 8K by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which may be broadcast in the format.
With inauguration just weeks away, it’s no doubt that the president-elect will be discussed not only socially, but strategically. Many laws and regulations that apply to the tech industry could be changing soon, and companies need to be prepared for any ripple effects brought on by a new bill, a new policy and even a new tweet. To calm any nerves, a panel with members of Congress will take place at CES, covering what the new administration means for the tech industry, with CES offering these policymakers in return the opportunity to witness exactly what innovation can bring.