CES 2016
CES 2016

This year, connected devices, drones and smart cars are expected to take central stage at the world’s largest consumer technology trade show, which opens to media on Monday, but officially runs Wednesday through Saturday.

CES 2016
CES 2016

“CES is the most important innovation event in the world,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), organizer of the show, said in an interview with Xinhua.

“We have better audio than ever before. The immersive audio, high definition audio is a new experience. The video — 4K Ultra HD — is now expanding with HDR … Then there is the newer categories like driverless cars, the connected cars, the drones, robotics, 3D printing as well as the Internet of Things (IOT).”

Nowadays, everyday items like cars, home security systems and kitchen appliances are increasingly being connected to the Internet and made “smart”, a term commonly known as the IOT.

Research firm Gartner forecasted that there will be 6.4 billion connected things in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and that the market will grow to 20.8 billion by 2020.

The dominating influence of connected devices will undoubtedly be felt everywhere at CES 2016. “Over 1,000 companies will show connected products,” Shapiro said. It is so large that “at CES we no longer have a separate area (for these products).”

Shapiro believed the IOT products “are fundamentally solving the problems that humanity has.”

“It tells you things and it connects information and it collects (data) so we’ll know which treatment, which foods to eat, how we stay healthier, live longer, better, more productive lives,” he said.

Just as the IOT is on the rise, so are the security risks. This year, CES will feature its first cybersecurity forum to “examine the dark side of our interconnected world and explore what companies need to know and do to protect their data, products and customers,” the CTA said.

But Shapiro himself tried to downplay such security risks. “It’s a concern for our governments … for businesses and companies,” he said. “In terms of the products themselves, it’s less of a concern right now because … as products in your home are made connected, someone controls the fan or your thermostat, it’s not a problem.”

He noted that concerns around security cameras or things like that are also “being overblown.”

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, went mainstream in 2015. At last year’s CES, a separate area was created for the first time for drones with 16 companies presenting their products, about half of which came from China.

At CES 2016, a record 27 companies, including renowned brands such as DJI, Yuneec, Hobbico and Squadrone System, are set to showcase their drone technologies related to sports, travel, real estate, search and rescue, law enforcement and disaster relief.

“Drones have taken off in the marketplace and now represent one of the fastest growing tech categories — globally and on the CES show floor,” Shapiro said in a statement in December. “This is truly life-changing technology that will create new jobs, improve lives and transform the way we do business.”

According to the CTA market research, 400,000 drones were sold in this past holiday season and the U.S. market revenue reached nearly 105 million U.S. dollars in 2015 – a 52 percent increase over 2014.

Given the current regulatory environment, the CTA also predicted that the United States could reach one million drone flights per day within the next 20 years.

Better batteries for longer flight times are also expected to be demonstrated, as many drones currently could only fly for about 20 minutes, a major limitation in promoting such products.

As some consumer tech experts joked, CES is increasingly becoming an auto show.

According to the CTA, at least nine major auto manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Fort GM, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen, and more than 100 auto tech companies will appear at CES 2016. The floor space taken by these companies has a 25 percent growth over last year’s show.

“The show will feature the hottest auto tech trends from parking assistance, collision avoidance and emergency braking to the latest in driverless, electric and energy-efficient vehicles,” said the CTA in a statement.

Volkswagen, still in the midst of the emissions scandal, will definitely draw great attention. Herbert Diess, chairman of the German company’s passenger car sector, will give a keynote speech at CES 2016, where he’ll be introducing a new electric concept car.

Audi, BMW and several other car companies are also said to have plans to showcase their respective new car concepts. Meanwhile, there are reports that Google and Ford will announce a joint venture to build self-driving vehicles at the show. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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