Earlier this year, a group of some 200,000 people traveled to Las Vegas. Not to gamble or watch Michael Bublé perform, but to spot the latest trends in the field of consumer electronics. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been the world's leading innovation event for consumer electronics for some time now – and once again it did not disappoint. Did you miss this year’s edition? Then read on to discover the highlights! According to the CES 2017 exhibitors, these five trends in electronics will be changing our lives forever:
1. Paper-thin OLED television screens
If you thought flat-screen TVs couldn’t possibly become any thinner, LG proved you wrong at CES 2017. The LG Signature W is thin. Paper-thin. So thin that it’s virtually invisible from the side. The screen is a mere 2.57 millimeters thick, and hangs only 4 millimeters from the wall thanks to its magnetic mounting. Like many other television manufacturers at CES, LG opted for OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) instead of regular LEDs. The difference? The black levels are really, really black. And instead of HD, we’ll be watching razor-sharp television in extra HD.
2. Artificial assistant wanted
What’s the best way to cook a perfect steak? Just ask your refrigerator. At CES 2017, it was all too clear that artificial intelligence is no longer in its infancy. More and more electronics manufacturers are integrating Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service in their products, turning them into to artificial assistants, or ‘AI butlers’. Smart refrigerators, smart vacuum cleaners, smart coffee makers, ... In a few years’ time, not a day will go by without us having a friendly chat with our household appliances.
3. The super smart self-driving car
And it’s not just your refrigerator you’ll be talking to. Your self-driving car will be having daily chats with you as well. Your car will even know exactly how you’re feeling. At CES 2017, Toyota introduced theConcept-i: a self-driving car with a built-in AI robot named Yui. What are your plans for today? Are you excited about your destination? Want to make a quick stop and grab a bite to eat? Measuring your heart rate and analyzing your state of mind, Yui engages you in all sorts of meaningful conversations.
4. Surfing the Internet of Things (IoT)
There was no shortage of connected gadgets at CES 2017. Toothbrushes, hairdryers, shavers, toasters, washing machines, ... Computer chips such as Intel’s Compute Card enable all sorts of appliances to send and receive data. To guarantee smooth data exchange, router manufacturers are placing their bets on wireless mesh networks; technology which telecom operators are currently using to accommodate large communication flows.
5. Smart home technology on the rise
Although IoT today primarily revolves around standalone connected gadgets, it’s only a matter of time before all those connected gadgets will be seamlessly integrated into our homes, turning them into so-called smart homes. Does that mean we’ll all be living in smart homes a few generations from now? Henk Heylen, Director of Sales Consulting at fifthplay, has no doubt:
"Smart homes not only make our lives considerably more comfortable, they also yield substantial cost savings. Intelligently controlled heating and ventilation systems make saving energy much easier. Smart home technology continues to evolve, so these benefits will only increase in the future. What’s more, connected homes give their owners extra peace of mind. Smart homes can keep residents informed of unexpected events such as gas and water leaks, even when they’re not home."
New markets for utilities and telecom companies
The increasing number of smart homes also opens doors for utilities and telecom players, Henk continues: "Fifthplay’s smart home technology enables service providers to better communicate with their customers, adopting a proactive business strategy. Technical systems can be monitored remotely, allowing providers to alert customers when failure is imminent. This reduces maintenance costs for residents, while service quality only increases."