© VanBerlo

VanBerlo’s Design Engineer Martijn Baller and CTO Eric van Dorst have been visiting the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas last week. In a daily diary they shared their vision on what they witness at the world’s biggest gathering place of innovative products with us. Today a recap. (you can find the whole series here)

It was definitely a show to remember! 

Elephants dancing with elephants is a common saying, but not here in Vegas. The big companies are involved in many ways with the small start-ups. They have their own incubators and are actively scouting for new opportunities. Just like other investors from all kinds of industries. Early involvement can lead to a takeover at a later stage. “Just do it” is the motto amongst start-ups and investors, the sanity check often comes later.

All things BLE
We saw an enormous amount of products being given a BLE connection, some kind of sensor and RGB led or display. An app completes the package. It’s relatively easy to build products like these with components available on the market, creating a flood of new initiatives. Time will tell which ones will eventually have viable business models and are fulfilling true customer needs.

Each product is building its own ecosystem, because it’s easy to build and control. Integration of all these separate products can go on to provide even greater value, but the industry is still waiting for clear standardisation to make that happen.

Back to the future
It’s nice to see that so many companies are rethinking the car. It’s a buddy, it can drive itself and entertain you. Some of the features will hit the road in two or three years. We’re seeing more cars with assisted driving, and autonomous, one-handed driving will soon be making tracks on the quiet highways. A car that will let the driver perform a lot of new activities whilst driving. What these functionalities will look like, and how drivers will be able to interact with them, is something that the automotive world is exploring further.

No flying cars were seen at the show, but the manned drone created quite a fuss.

Drones and robots
This category of products is having a hard time being seen as more than just toys for boys. Doing meaningful things with these pieces of advanced technology is very difficult. Photography and filming with drones has helped in making a step towards professionalisation, but most people still look on drones and robots as merely expensive playthings.  Nevertheless, the amount and size of drones has lead to (heated) regulatory discussions, to keep this hobby safe for users as well as for bystanders. Drones shown at the CES are becoming bigger and more impressive. For the sake of safety, it might be better to keep them small. It’s our guess that the FAA agrees with us on this one.

Really Virtual
VR is getting hot, but we have some doubt as to whether it’s ready for the consumer market yet. The best offer still comes from Oculus Rift, but a beefy PC is needed to power it. You know… the stuff from a ‘dying industry’. At any rate, the 360 cameras on less advanced glasses will already provide enough content to play with.

Wearables  & smart health
What Fitbit and others started has grown into a maturing market. At first only your activity was monitored, but nowadays medical and sports research are combined to give you more solid feedback about your health. Not only the health of young adults, but also babies, the elderly and pets are targeted. You know the health aspect is getting more serious when wearables and other connected devices are becoming true medical devices. The less serious side of the business focuses on fashion and lifestyle, something not to be underestimated in Las Vegas.

This year’s CES presented so many new things to see and first impressions; it’s hard to give a complete overview. 

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About the author

Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.