I just returned home from CES, the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world. I spent a week there attending press meetings, evening events, and scouring the showroom floors, which took over the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Convention Center, and numerous suite locations throughout the Vegas strip.
CES celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and is growing as strong as ever with over 20,000 new tech product introductions, 2.6 million net square feet of space, and over 175,000 industry professionals attending.
I walked the equivalent of 2 full marathons during my week at CES…there’s A LOT to see! Every year we report on the upcoming top 5 tech trends for the year (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), as we saw it at CES.
Home automation and drones continue to be strong, but some new entrants on our top 5 tech trends list to make life easier.
Top 5 Tech Product Trends
Some very exciting tech is on its way out this year. If you are a mother-to-be and/or a pet lover, you’re going to love the new tech products focused in these areas.
We have covered Virtual Reality (VR) a couple of times on our website, there are is some amazing content available on the Internet for free, to visit places you’ve never been too…including museums, landmarks, and travel hot spots.
Of course, Virtual Reality which got its growth in the gaming industry, brings a new caliber to games never before possible. The Virtual Reality industry is expected to grow $660 million in revenue, a 43% growth this year, with 2.5 million VR units being sold*.
The number of active VR users is forecast to reach 171 million by 2018, so the audience is certainly growing.
This year at CES, everyone was touting Virtual Reality. VR has brought on a new way to experience a product…before you buy it. Imagine virtually checking out the features and driving ability of a car you’re interested in BEFORE going for a real test drive?
A number of car manufacturers offered CES attendees this virtual reality to try out the cars…that are still under development. Expect to see some amazing, intriguing developments for VR this year.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to gain a stronghold in 2017. Catapulted by Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Voice, virtual AI assistants are making life easier for their users. Amazon has been working with partners to integrate Alexa into more products, making it easy for consumers to ask for directions, the weather forecast, or to play a favorite song or playlist.
AI digital assistant services are expected to grow 52% this year, powered by integration in all sorts of new products like speakers, thermostats, appliances, and robots, vacuums, and more.
Household robot shipments for 2018 are projected to reach more than 10 million by its year end. This trend was evident by the number of robots introduced and being displayed at CES this year. And this number doesn’t even include the huge number of toy robots available.
Robots often include home surveillance and AI digital assistance – letting owners know about weather and traffic conditions, looking up things on the Internet, etc. But robot makers are incorporating a new sense of “humanness” to their robots so they act as a companion in addition to an information resource.
The new Kuri robot from Bosch, could be Big Hero 6 Baymax’ little brother with his cute expressive eyes and rounded white body. Kuri, expected to come out later this year, stands 20 inches tall, weighs 14 lbs, and uses Bluetooth and WiFi to connect to smart devices in the home.
But not all of the robots at CES offer such endearing interfaces. CBS has a great slideshow of robots they saw, including robot drones, toys, and even Einstein himself in robot form??? We also so a product called Square Off, which is an robotic-oriented chess set, allowing you to play against the invisible-built-in robot who moves pieces as your competitor.
The floor space allocated to 3D printing continued to grow this year. Worldwide purchases of 3D printers and related accessories/services were estimated to be $13.2 billion last year. By 2020, revenues are expected to reach $28.9 billion, with a 5-year compounded annual growth rate of 22.3 percent leading up to it.
New filaments continue to be made available through various 3D printer manufacturers. This year, a ceramic material was introduced which can be fired and glazed, just like clay. Other previously introduced unique filaments include wood, straw, metal, wool, and even food.
The biggest 3D printer companies continue to get bigger…and more complex. I stood in wonder and awe as I saw the things made with today’s 3D printers. But as much as there were big companies, I was excited to still see smaller 3D printer companies, who focus on ease-of-use, a smaller footprint, and affordability families could appreciate.
Two standouts were M3D and Robo 2, both of which have a focus on families and products that make the learning curve less steep. 3D printers can start as low as $300 these days, but certain features like auto-leveling and a larger printer platform make for better enjoyment increases the price of the printer.
Though 3D printing has taken off in manufacturing, universities, and schools, there is still a lot of opportunity for families to embrace this technology and understand its relevance to family life. We hope to cover more ways 3D printing makes sense to families this year.
I first saw a pet-focused product at CES last year with an automatic, self-cleaning litter box, called Litter-robot. We also reviewed Petzi a year ago, a wall-mounted device that allows you to see your pet on your phone and administer dog treats to him/her.
But now, there is a whole market of emerging pet tech products to make interacting and keeping tabs on man’s best friend more fun. According to Grand View Research, the pet wearable market is expected to reach $2.36 billion by 2022. At this point, pet tech includes pet trackers, activity monitors, identification, behavior monitoring and control, security and safety.
A new startup called Petnet, is offering a SmartBowl and SmartFeeder to help you manage precise portions and timing from your phone. Petcube debuted a new camera called Petcube Bites – which administers dog treats remotely and allows you to keep up with your pet at home.
For cats, we saw the Petcube Play, which houses a camera, 2-way audio, and a laser light that projects where you direct it in the room, for your cat to chase after. Similar to Petnet, is a portion-control device for cats called CATSPAD, allowing you to offer or hide food as you need to, in order to regulate your cat’s diet.
Not sure you need all of these devices? Perhaps not, but the pet wearables market is growing. Similar to wearables on humans that was once considered a novelty, the same is true for pets. With the addition of these pet wearables, it is estimated that spending on pets will rise by an additional 50% on average.
The CDC recommends children are breastfed until 12 months old. In the US, 81% babies start out being breastfed, but by 6 months, only 50% are still breastfed. Continued breastfeeding diminishes due to the amount of time it takes, its inconvenience, and the lack of freedom a woman has while pumping or breastfeeding.
For me, and many other moms at CES, a particular product called Willow stole the show. Willow breaks all traditional chained-to-the-pump barriers in giving women freedom to pump breast milk quietly and discreetly, without the need for power cords, milking tubes, hands, or bottles.
Willow is the first wearable breast pump that is placed over each breast and fits securely in the cup of the bra. It is discreet and quiet and allows moms to freely move about and use both hands for other things…even take phone calls and text.
Willow wasn’t the only innovative breast pump on the showroom floor. Another mom-focused breast pump, the NAYA Smart Breast Pump brings moms a hospital grade breastpump with the experience of feeding a baby, rather than a machine.
NAYA utilizes their patent-pending HydroComfort Technology that uses water to create a more comfortable experience. Like the Willow, NAYA tracks pumping sessions and milk supply through the app. I felt the suction of HydroComfort Technology with my finger and it felt more like a massage than a pumping sensation.
Expect to see more innovation in both nursing and baby tech as the year continues.