Three fundamental trends to look for at CES

3 January 2016 by Steve Blum

I love seeing the new products at CES every year, but the real value of the show is the opportunity to pull back and look at technology from the 40,000 foot level. In particular…

  • Will the Internet integrate things or just link things to your smartphone? So far, no mainstream platform for tying together a broad spectrum of home automation or personal electronics or other lifeforms lurking in the Internet of Things has emerged. Based on pre-show buzz, Lowes is making another try and the AllJoyn wants you to believe it will link all things. But the predominant model that’s emerged is a device that links to the manufacturer’s server, which talks to a bespoke app on your phone. It might just be that simple.

  • Has anyone solved the power problem yet? Adding electronics to products might be a fine thing to do, but if you end up with a few dozen networkable gizmos, you’ll be endlessly recharging and/or changing batteries. Consumer adoption of IoT products will be limited by willingness to put up with the daily (at best, weekly) grind of plugging things in.

  • Are consumer electronics companies eyeing the automotive business yet? The advent of electric, self-driving vehicles means that cars will be differentiated by software, services and design. Like televisions, phones and computers, the physical attributes of different makes and models will be largely indistinguishable, and contract manufacturing will be the norm. With the vertical iron chain of the automotive business broken, legacy car makers will struggle to survive. Brands will live on, but the 20th century’s industry infrastructure will not.

It kicks off tomorrow in Las Vegas with two days of previews and then four days of floor time.