CES 2017 Analysis

I just returned from my first CES. Here are my thoughts on the products I saw and the trends I think they represent.

Notes

  • I enjoyed seeing the MAVIC drone demoed in person since that’s the one I’ll be getting very soon.

  • The VIVE by HTC is definitely better than the Occulus in my opinion, after trying around five different apps using them.

  • WEARSAFE is an interesting company that basically gives you a tiny little button to press that notifies a pre-existing list of people that you’re in trouble.

  • I got to see Destiny streaming some Hearthstone and using a Yeti mic (in their booth), which I ironically just replaced prior to my trip.

  • AIRBUS was a super cool technology that actively tracks drones using radar, detects what control signal is being used, and then broadcasts a disruption signal to force them to land or return home.

  • Alexa was in TONS of products. I barely heard anyone mention Siri or Google Now. Alexa just dominated the show.

  • BMW has gone full lifestyle brand on us, just like Apple. It’s no longer about the tech; it’s about making people feel the way they want to feel (e.g., superior and accomplished).

  • I saw a heatlamp in Vegas. The kind you stand under. It was very strange considering I normally only go there when it’s 124 degrees outside.

  • LG’s W-branded OLED TVs stole the main show. A few milimeters thick and wicked beautiful in terms of blacks and colors.

  • Panasonic was one of the companies showing off radar and other sensor tech that is present in cameras, signs, etc., which gives your car realtime information about things you can’t see due to weather or angles, e.g., there’s a motorcyclist coming around the corner but you can’t see them because there’s a truck in the way. The system paints the motorcycle in your HUD though because the signs nearby can see it with radar.

  • eyeLock is an IRIS identity authentication system. They said it’s virtually impossible to spoof. I’m unconvinced.

  • STEADICAM is a cool mount for an iphone that has gyros in it. You can walk around with it and your iPhone will remain super smooth as you walk or move.

  • Lots of car manufacturers there talking about autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen had a pretty interesting demo involving driving via VIVE.

  • Far too many companies are thinking they’re going to be the one VR headset that everyone uses. I mean DOZENS of companies had their own headsets.

  • Dozens of companies were also creating their own ID systems and their own ecosystems. And of course their ecosystem is the only place that the ID would work. As I talk about in my book, the only play that wins here is for these systems to consume YOUR id, meaning your Google or Facebook or your federated ID that those are linked to.

  • There were very few products there based on defending IoT. Bitdefender had a box that was like an IoT UTM, but it was the same ol’ stuff. Signatures, blacklisting, some AI buzzwording, etc. Possibly useful, but it seemed forced.

  • Another interesting solution, by PFP, was using machine learning to find anomoalies in device behavior. Specifically, deviations from baseline in either RF broadcasting patters, or in power consumption. This is the type of analysis that will definitely be part of future solutions.

  • Lots of home systems doing sensors for humidity, radon, CO2, pressure, temperature, etc. Expect this to be standard fare via a consolidated and standardized chipset in coming years.

  • YUZZIT was a super cool company that uses a button to capture whatever it is you are doing at that point. If it is a song, it captures the song. If it’s TV, or radio, or a place, or a piece of dictation, whatever. Basically, it’s the storage of memories based on a tagging action (a button press). Quite prescient, I think.

  • Proxy42 is a system that lets you view reality through a game interface and shoot and compete against real-world people. Very strong.

  • Smart earbuds were one of the most interesting things I saw at the show. I have AirPods already, but these new offerings are far more. They’re automatic noise canceling. The ability to reduce crowd noise and accentuate the voice of the person you’re talking to. The ability to drown everything out except your music. Or the abilty to translate languages in realtime. These devices, over the next few generations, are going to do more for futuristic computing than almost anything else.

  • MyManu was one of those companies doing the earbuds.

  • Skybuds was another.

  • Fingbox is another company doing an all-in-one home security system. They’re trying to do physical and cybersecurity plus alerting and dasbhoarding all in one app.to reduce crowd noise and accentuate the voice of the person you’re talking to. The ability to drown everything out except your music. Or the abilty to translate languages in realtime. These devices, over the next few generations, are going to do more for futuristic computing than almost anything else.

  • Inirvreact is a kitchen safety device. Sensors, stove protection, etc.

  • Silent Space generates silence in work areas. These already exist so I’m not sure how they’re adding smarts to the mix.

  • Mapwise is mapping indoor areas. Realtime data of as much as possible—indoor and out. That’s the game.

  • KeeeX is a blockchain-based solution for doing document security.

  • Say Wear is a really interesting Israeli company that has a social necklace. You tap it and it changes in various ways, showing what you most care about. And when you’re near to other people you’re linked with in some way, they can all interact in various ways. Very forward-thinking.

  • Everykey had John McAfee doing a hilarious video, but I don’t remember what the product was. It was something that supposedly replaced all passwords and keys. Great video; didn’t stay to hear the product.

  • Dotin.us has a fascinating machine learning technology that is able to analyze images you’ve uploaded and figure out your main personality traits based on them. Scary. Awesome.

  • Amber does tracking of lots of different stuff, realtime alerts, lots of analytics, etc. Think kids, elderly, pets, cars, etc.

  • UNISTELLAR is a system that combines multiple captures of light from a telescope and then turns it into a better image for viewing galaxies and nebulae.

  • GENVID is a company that lets game viewers play in the game along with the main players.

  • Ring is a smart doorbell / floodlights system. They got lots of press.

  • Saw a self-cleaning litter-box and a laundry folding system. Highly practical stuff. Reminds me of Rhoomba.

  • SO. MUCH. 3D. PRINTING. I see the stuff a lot at Maker’s Fair. But definitely promising to see what’s being done in the space.

  • NEATMO is a camera that identifies you from a distance and puts a box around you with your name on it. Very Minority Report. Awesome. Frightening.

  • ShadeCraft had the coolest name. Unfortunately it’s a solar umbrella. No, it’s cool, just not in the market for one is all.

  • Thread Group was there showing off all the companies they’re working with.

  • There was a 3D printing pen. You write with it and it leaves carbon tubes behind. You can DRAW a car. Or whatever you want. Strong.

  • IQbuds were another company doing the smart earbuds thing.

  • Bionic Bird is a drone that looks and flies like a bird. With the wings flapping and all. 8 minutes flight time.

  • SKAGEN had a pretty clean looking watch.

  • Mint Indian Bistro was epic (Indian Food).

Themes

  1. The top concept seemed to be Augmented and Virtual Reality. There were SO MANY VR headsets and other ways of showing AR/VR content.
  2. Autonomous cars was probably the second biggest trend in terms of scale and visibility.
  3. I’d say the third biggest, and perhaps even more ubiquitous and interesting, is the concept of sensor data coming from as many things as possible and then going up to be analyzed by deep learning.

Concepts

  1. The biggest concept for me was sensors going out from the endpoint, up to get processed, and then back down to all other endpoints. That’s major, and it perfectly matches what I wrote about in my book. The more data, from more perspectives, the better.
  2. Another related idea is the value of the sensor data. I think it’s going to be a combination of SENSOR TYPE / SENSOR REPUTATION / SENSOR PERSPECTIVE (location) / and then the analysis that comes out of it. So you have value in being some place nobody else is. You have value if you have a type of data nobody else does (thermal vs. visible, for example), and you have value if the sensor has a high reputation (high weight for updating daemons). These combine to determine how valuable that data is. There will be others as well, such as update frequency, security, etc.
  3. Everyone is going to get what I’m calling Mobile Sensor Stacks (MSSs), which are visible cameras, sonar rings, chemical sensors, gyros, accelerometers, etc. These will be built into mobile devices, clothing, watches, jewelry, etc. And similar to Apple, they’ll be lifestyle products. Using that sensor data that you’re now producing you’ll be able to see, hear, sense, and otherwise perceive in super-human ways. And the stacks will be standardized and regularly upgraded.
  4. Security continues to be an afterthought. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it’s still disturbing. People are rushing as fast as they can to make this stuff, and there is very little effort at all being put into security. They’re in survival mode, and in survival mode you don’t think about nice-to-have’s. Security for these companies is exactly that—a nice-to-have.

Notes

  1. Here’s my album of images I took during the conference. Link

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