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CES 2015: Where tech goes wild

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The Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, which ran for most of last week, was the first major tech event of the year, and sets the tone for what we can expect in gadgetry. LIRON SEGEV sums up the wild array of dominant themes.

Every year, the latest International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas promises to be bigger and better then the previous year. DId last week’s 2015 edition live up to the promise? Going by the wild array of new products and the range of themes that jostled for dominance, it may well turn out to be a watershed event. Here are the themes and gadgets that captured the most attention:

1. Wearables

Loads of wearables with every company swearing that they have the next best thing to a phone battery that lasts an entire day. From fitness devices to sensors in socks, to pet-tracking – it was all there. Prices are still sky-high to make a mass market impact but eventually wearables will reach an equilibrium between what they are willing to be sold at and the price consumers are willing to pay. Currently, wearables seem to be broken down into people who don’t purchase the wearables at all and those that do, but use them for 3 months and then lose interest. Of course there is the niche market that swears by the value of the information that their socks and toothbrush produce but these are far from mainstream.

The automatically adjusting belt (Belty) is one example of tech-gone-wild with a belt buckle device that expands and contracts depending on how many burgers you stuffed into your face during lunchtime.

2. Motoring

More and more tech is making its way into the motor vehicle. Self parking cars are all the rage along with connected vehicles that not only connect to your smartphone so you can read your e-mails out aloud, but also connect to other techie-enabled-cars and get information as they zoom by. We are sure to see more technology being integrated into the vehicles as we continue to spend more time in those mobile computing-houses on wheels.

Speaking of cars, there are some serious high end TV’s that cost more than cars do. The choice is left to the consumer to either buy a car and drive to the beach to snorkel with the fish or buy a TV to watch National Geographic with such clarity that you wish you bought a car and drove to the beach to snorkel with the fish – same price.

3. Connected Home

There are lots of examples of devices, gadgets, widgets and doodahs that connect the light to the washing machine to the fridge to the sprinkler system and to the stove. Not sure when this happened, but we have been convinced over time that we need to be able to communicate with our air-condition unit as pushing the ON button is apparently too difficult. We also absolutely have an urge to know, in tiny detail, about every system in our home so that we can graph this on an application and share that with our social network. Not sure I get all of this but the mega trend is for everything to be connected to everything at all times and all the big manufacturers are making that happen.

This is the iKettle that uses WiFi and connects to an app so you can set the right water brewing temperature and be alerted when you have to fill it with water. Could this get any geekier? What happened to looking at the water-level indicator thingies and filling it up? Too hard? Now, if you could get it to switch on a couple of minutes before you walk into the office, that would be exciting.

4. Print and Fly

Quick, go to the printer and print a drone to take the temperature so we know if its going to rain or not. Well that is what it would seem like if you look around CES with the announcements of drones and 3D printers. While drones and 3D printers were around, the main message is that they are continuing to evolve. These are not yet an “every day item” that we have laying around our homes, but they do seem to be more focused on mass market rather than corporates.

MakerBot announced that their 3D printers could now print with material infused with stone, metal and wood instead of just PLA composite.

5. Alternative to walking

Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot (and repeat) is soooo 2014. What we are crying out for as species is an alternative to walking. Or so it would seem by the plethora of mobile transportation devices at CES. There were scooters, wheelies, skateboards and other such devices that promise to propel us from point A to point B. The price tags are still over the top but I must say that as more of the populace is inhabiting major cities where each one owing a vehicle is simply not feasible, the option of personal transportation is indeed an attractive option and an interesting theme to watch out for.

This is the Hovertrax that is controlled with shifting of your body-weight forward and backwards much like a Sageway and will sell for around $1000. It charges in around 45 minutes and can go at 12km per hour.

So in summary:

It seemed like CES 2015 was packed with technology and there was something for everyone. Not all were revolutionary technology that we have never seen before – but that is ok. Improving on last year’s tech is also good as long as there is a real need and demand for the products and the prices are affordable then its a win for the consumer.

By the way: so far, Back to the Future predictions have not met our expectations. We were promised that we would be using our hover-board by 2015 and the year just started and so far I still have to tie my own shoes and my jackets don’t self-dry‚ĶI wonder where these products were hidden at CES?

* Liron Segev is also known as The Techie Guy. You can read his blog at http://www.thetechieguy.com or follow him on Twitter on @Liron_Segev

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