What will be big this year at CES? As I get ready for my annual return to the Consumer Electronics Show, I asked my experts this question. Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies and long time tech industry analyst joined Tom Martin, CEO of NextScreen, parent company of AVGuide.com and WindingRoad magazine, to provide me their perspectives.
Here’s what I’ll be looking for in Las Vegas:
1. 4K TVs and related products
“4K is the next big thing in TV’s and we will see well over 100 different designs and models by dozens of TV vendors showing off stunning images and video throughout the show. These TVs have 4 times the resolution of today’s HD sets and companies like LG and Samsung are even adding curved displays to their models to make them more interesting to customers” says Bajarin. “And don’t be surprised if we see a couple of 8K TVs launched at the show. Although 4K will be the big thing for the next 3-4 years, 8K TVs will debut in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo which should be broadcast in 8K by that time.”
What does Martin want to see in this area? “Aids to the shifting pay-per-view model. How do I find the content? How do I pay for it?”
Bajarin adds “Because these new TVs are so sleek and slim there is not much room to put serious speakers in these sets. This has fostered great attention in sound bars, or HD stereo, and 5.1 surround sound audio systems that sit in from of the TV and enhance the audio experience of the TV programs you watch.”
2. Connected Everything
“The Internet of Things (IOT) will be a major theme at CES in 2015. Almost every device will have some type of wireless radio in them that can connect them to the Internet, other devices within the home and in many cases each other. Huge emphasis will be on home automation with connected door locks being the next big category to be pushed by the IOT crowd. There will also be a lot of connected lights, thermostats and and even beds that gather sleep data and feed it to your smart phone. IOT will be a big theme with products just about everywhere on the show floor” predicts Bajarin.
3. Intelligent Cars
Martin will be looking for the consumer-oriented infrastructure for driverless cars. He believes this future mode of transportation is much closer than most of us realize.
Bajarin tends to agree. “About two years ago the auto companies decided that CES would be an important show for them to attend. Ten auto companies will be at the show including Audi, BMW, Toyota, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Ford. The latter two will be giving keynote speeches on Monday and Tuesday of CES. We’re going to be seeing a lot of self-driving cars, as well as news from Toyota around fuel-cell technology. Auto companies will also be touting their connectivity to the Internet and smart phones with many showing off Apple’s IOS CarPlay Auto service in many new models.”
4. Wearables and smart devices
“Wearables will be everywhere” projects Bajarin. But it’s the emergence of proto-artificial intelligence features that really work in embedded products that interests Martin.
There will be a complete section of the show designated just to wearables. The largest category represented will likely be fitness wearables. Bajarin thinks we should also see some new smart watches and perhaps even some smart glasses, although the interest in smart glasses has waned dramatically since last year’s show.
“It is interesting that Apple does not attend CES but their presence is felt in a big way. Apple Watch will be a big part of the wearables discussion at the show and well over a hundred booths will have accessories for the iPhone and iPad” added Bajarin. “One particular health wearable that will be launched at CES that I find interesting will be from GoMore. They have found a way to add EKG monitoring to the heart rate feature and this allows for measuring stamina. This type of wearable could be quite valuable for anyone who is doing any serious training or athletes who need to monitor their progress.”
5. Bonus attractions
Consumer Robotics – “CES will have a special section for robotics and we should see some interesting new twists on robots for the home. While Roomba dominates this space today, we could see variations that include robots as servants, robots that clean up after your pet or wash your windows. While robotics has been a boon for manufacturing, it is poised to gain more ground in the home and in this section we could see some interesting new twists on home robotics. Also there will be a lot of drones debuting at the show. Drones have been mainly for hobbyists but they are becoming more mainstream as they become cheaper” say Bajarin.
Tablets – Although tablet growth slowed down in 2014, tablets will again be big stars at this year’s show. I’ll be looking for lower cost tablets and application specific tablets. But I’ve been warned not to expect see much in the way of smart phones as the new models will mostly be launched at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona in March.
Alternative monetization models – As more and more devices are connected to content of all type, how will content producers get compensated? One alternative is new forms of advertising in connected devices like cars, smart watches and specialized tablets. Martin will be looking for the emergence of these new monetization methods to keep up with the connected device proliferation.
3D Printers – CEA has declared 3D printers one of the top trends to watch as they come down in price with many under $1500 at this year’ show. “However, even at these prices they are still mainly being bought by hobbyists and those in the maker movement” says Bajarin. “It will take some really good software aimed at small business and consumers before 3D printers really gain any ground. HP’s Sprout is perhaps the most intriguing device that redefines a desktop computer and uses 3D cameras to create 3D images that could be used on a 3D printer. But it will take more hardware and software innovation tied to 3D printers before they will ever get into the mainstream.”
This article was written by John Ellett from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.