Abstract Digest Middle East - CES Special

Our colleagues on the ground at CES (January 6-9 2016)  in Nevada shared with us a round-up of interesting developments from the event. Some of the fun things they saw and heard:

  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced major growth for the streaming content provider.  GM is getting greener as CEO Mary Barra announced their newest EV, the Bolt, calling it the “next step in the transportation journey.” Sony held a press conference to announce a new 4K TV, hi-res audio headphones, camcorders and Life Space UX, a line of connected home devices.
  • L’Oreal officially made its entry into the wearable space creating a UV-sensing patch that can be scanned with a smartphone app to track the strength of the sun’s rays. Fisher Price created a Code-a-Pillar, probably the cutest way you (or children under 5) can learn to code. LG presented their fully flexible foldable screen, however no details on cost.
  • Auto tech continued to have a presence as Toyota revealed a fully hydrogen powered In the theme of self-driving cars, the Volvo S90 will be the first car in the US with standard semi-autonomous features. Volvo’s “Pilot Assist” program will be standard equipment, and can stop and steer with clear lane markings up to 80 mph.
  • MatterHackers released a tablet that lets you design 3D prints on the go. Since the device is wholly dedicated to 3D printing, it can slide 3D models around and resize them on the screen. The Oculus Rift was apparently all over the show floor (oftentimes to augment the experience of other technology). There was a lot of commotion – and coverage – over an electric skateboard company’s booth being shut down by the Feds. Changzhou First International Trade had their booth raided and shut down after a patent infringement suit was filed by another U.S.-based skateboard manufacturer, Future Motion.
  • Miami-based phone maker Yezz has created a 360-degree action cam for phones, allowing users to take 360-degree photos and videos on both sides of the handset, a first for the industry. You can also now get wireless audio in style with the Helix Cuff from Ashley Chloe. It will connect to your music playback device via Bluetooth 4.1, and will also boast of noise reduction technology while featuring high quality audio. We’re even seeing technology from the cannabis industry, with a startup social media company for users getting attention.
  • Sports tech has had a huge presence, with commissioners from both the NBA and MLB in Vegas to discuss how high tech the sports world has become. For example: the Digitsole is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts as it’s Bluetooth enabled in your shoe and is both an activity tracker and built-in thermostat.
  • We saw more from the auto industry, with Cadillac demoing a new acoustic system with Bose, the Panaray System. Ford debuted the Ford Sync Connect system (powered by AT&T), which will be available in the spring in the Ford Escape. The system allows drivers to remotely view fuel levels, battery levels, tire pressure readings and schedule their engine to start. Ford also announced an IoT partnership with Amazon to connect your car to your house, and vice versa.
  • Wearable startup Caeden introduced a rather stylish bracelet that detects stress. The Sona Connected Bracelet measures heart rate variability and also guides users through meditation, providing mental health benefits as well as physical. Elsewhere in health and fitness, the Skulpt Chisel device was on display, which monitors body fat and muscle quality (that is a scientific term), and is meant to monitor your results and progress vs. training.
  • Drones are continuing to be a hot topic, and there’s been some serious buzz around a human carrying drone from Chinese drone maker Ehang Inc. Streaming services have cemented a home at CES and continue to evolve and shape our viewing experience as Sling TV introduced My TV, allowing customers to personalize their onscreen guide with favorite shows and programs. There was also a throwback from Polaroid, which had a camera on display in bright flashy colors that can both print and upload photos to the web.
  • The BBC reports on how everything these days is dubbed as ‘smart’ – including the launch of a smart water bottle – and what this actually means for the industry at large.
  • Samsung’s President and CMO Dr. WP Hong spoke, discussing Samsung’s connected devices and customer-centric mobile payment solutions (i.e. Samsung Pay).
  • GM’s CEO Mary Barra announced the Bolt EV, which has triple digit range and will start at $30,000, giving other EV manufacturers serious competition. Intel’s keynote has gotten praise for its inspired, futuristic tone.
  • Wired UK reports that the startup showcase at CES, called Eureka Park, is where the actual business gets done.
  • Products getting space in wrap-up reports from the likes of WIRED, the San Francisco Chronicle and Mashable include: the Fitbit Blaze, and despite initial concern over the specs, is getting positive attention for the design and departure in style from previous products; the Super 8 camcorder from Kodak which records film industry-desired footage; the Microsoft Hololens VR device; and in STEM there was the LittleBits Gizmos and Gadgets kit.