The main trends from CES 2016

Last week saw this years edition of CES in Las Vegas. To sum up my main takeaways, I just published a post on the Ziggy blog concluding the main trends from the fair. The post can be found here, though it is only in Swedish so use Google Translate if needed. Otherwise, here’s a short summary.

1. The transformation of the automotive industry is happening now
The event saw launches not only by startup EV automaker Faraday Future who has operated at stealth mode until now, but also legacy brands such as Chevrolet and Volkswagen, all talking about connectivity and user experience – and selecting CES instead of the classical venues for their launches. A lot of experimenting going on without always obvious consumer benefits – but still clear that the transformation of automotive is happening here and now.

2. The smart home is yet to move beyond silos of often quite dumb data
A lot of innovative and creative products and connected services was seen launched. However, with still a number of proprietary platforms such as Apple HomeKit, Google Brillo, Samsung SmartThings etc, and no common standards, they function at best as islands of data. Without the devices being able to talk to each other and refine the data created, that task will land with the user, which quickly risk decrease motivation and restrain maturity on the consumer market.

3. Wearable market is maturing
A lot of talking about wearables, without any totally new disruptions on the market, instead the event rather saw improved products being launched still mainly geared towards fitness. Also here, a lot of data silos. Again, looking forward to the next leap, when one or potentially two platforms or a common standard has gained hold, thus enabling data refinement and the ability for devices to make autonomous decisions based on the full picture – and, the disruption of healthcare driven by our constant data collection about ourselves.

4. Drones are getting useable and robots are still mostly gimmicks
Also this years edition saw a lot of drones and robots being presented. The first seems more and more mature each year and with the launch of drones capable of transporting humans, the self-flying car shouldn’t be that far away. As for robots, the technology for building the physical gadget is there, sure. But, for a robot to be a useful ‘butler’ it will need intelligence from the same data discussed above.

5. VR maturing, still waiting for augmented reality and holographic technology
Virtual reality finally seems to be ready for consumer launch with several interesting and reasonably priced gadgets coming out soon, which will give new possibilities as well as set new expectations on a number of industries, including entertainment, media and education. As for holographic technology, which to me represent a bigger disruption and a potential of truly blending digital and physical, it will still need some more time to mature, but when it does poses the potential to disrupt parts of VR.

Image credit: ADTeasdale @ Flickr

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Christoffer Vollmer

Strategist, project manager, economist, change agent & experience designer with almost 20 years experience of digital strategy, transformation & disruption. Blogging about strategy, disruptive innovation, design thinking and digital transformation.