The latest technology and trends were just showcased in Las Vegas. Progress VP of Technology, Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart, takes us through his impressions of CES 2016.
Last week I was at CES 2016, the annual showcase of the latest trends and gadgets emerging in the tech industry. 3,800 exhibitors covered almost 2.5 million square feet of exhibits, and over 170,000 people thronged the halls, creating some palpable excitement and a few very long lines. From virtual reality to autonomous cars to home automation, there was an incredible amount to see. While a lot of fantastic progress was on display, not everything is quite ready yet.
Virtual reality may just have been the star of the show. I tried four times to queue up for a chance to test out Oculus Rift, but the wait times were never under an hour and a half, so I moved on. I did take a look at the older SDK device and a GearVR. Everyone seemed to agree the final product was far superior to what I tried out—hopefully it won’t be long before I get another crack at it.
Car technology of all sorts continues to be a growing part of the CES repertoire. BMW’s electric/hybrid i3 and i8 models were up for testing, GM’s Bolt was announced, Faraday showed a crazy 1,000 horsepower single seater, and VW had a new e-platform too. Toyota is adopting an Open Source platform called SmartDeviceLink for car apps that was created by Ford. They also touted their Fuel Cell technology, though I don’t think that’s going anywhere personally (disclaimer, I own a BEV—battery electric vehicle—a FIAT 500e).
Numerous manufacturers spoke about self-driving cars, and I heard multiple rumors consistent with an Apple car release this year; time will tell. Uber and Lyft had a strong presence on the car scene too. GM’s Bolt was supposedly designed specifically for Lyft in terms of cruising range and backseat size, in fact. This could be an interesting year as Uber and Lyft battle it out for a growing market.
Home automation was everywhere, but it’s very fragmented right now. Zigbee, Z-Wave, ANT, Thread… you name it, you can buy it from a different home automation brand. Apple has yet to do a significant push around HomeKit, but several vendors said they had HomeKits product on the way, so maybe later in the year we’ll see some change here. Maybe.
Amazon’s Dash was in a few new places, including a dishwasher and washing detergent. Also of note, there were a number of products using Amazon’s speech recognition platform, Alexa (it’s what powers Echo). It’s unclear if Alexa can compete with solutions from Apple and Google, but it’s very interesting to see this adoption.
Wearables continue to extend their range. While iFit’s fitness tracker had perhaps the best entertainment in the showroom, and Samsung’s Gear 2 looks nice despite an uncertain dev ecosystem (it’s Tizen based), there were plenty of newer entrants into the scene. There was smart clothing, like a bra with a heart sensor. Connected wearables in healthcare, and medical device makers moving into the consumer space. Intel’s Curie is getting closer too—they have more traction than last year, though I’m not sure if they’ll truly get there this year. We’ll see.
Of course, all that is only a taste of what was out there. Foldable OLED TVs, true beam-forming 802.11ad WiFi, NFC turntables and drones of all shapes and sizes, including one that could carry a person and another that could follow its operator autonomously. Along with iFit, the show at the new Ford GT was also a blast.
There’s always so much to see at CES, and it remains a wonderful place to pick up the pulse of the tech industry and meet great people. While I was there I also checked out the gorgeous venue for ProgressNEXT, which should be an amazing event as well. Coming right after our recent PUG event, it’s part of a great start to the year for the whole Progress community. I hope you’re all as excited for this new year as I am, and feel free to share your own thoughts about upcoming tech trends in the comments.
Eduardo's focus is on strategic initiatives, technology trends and on Corporate Development. Eduardo is also interested in Technology Adoption and tries to stay in touch with the new waves of developers through Hackathons, internships and other community interactions. Eduardo joined Progress in November 2013; before that he worked at BlackBerry, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Xerox PARC. He has CS degrees from UCB and USB (Venezuela).
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