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CES 2016: Samsung, YouTube, Fitbit take stage

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Keynotes from the top executives at FitBit, NBCUniversal, Samsung and YouTube, along with tech policy sessions and top product awards rounded out Day Two and Three of CES 2016 last week.

Thursday morning kicked off with a keynote address from WP Hong, president of Solution Business Unit, Samsung SDS. During his address, Hong stated that the Internet of Things (IoT) is already here, but many companies need to collaborate to make it work. Samsung is laboring to ensure all of the devices the company produces connect to the Internet. The company is building IoT innovation that is in-sync with people’s daily lives by offering a new category of IoT home appliances that connect families and make life easier. Samsung showed its home appliance connected line including the Family Hub Refrigerator and the FlexDuo stove with Wi-Fi. “The age of the Internet of Things has begun,” Hong said. “It will be a success, but only if we get the fundamentals right: openness, interoperability and close industry collaborations.”

At Thursday’s C Space Keynote, presented by MediaLink, Stephen B. Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, discussed disruptive innovation and its impact on the television industry. Burke noted that television is still making money, but in different ways as revenue streams such as international syndication and subscription video on demand (SVOD) services evolve. “There’s more competition now than ever, which makes it harder to break through and have a TV show that’s a hit. But people watch as much TV today as they ever have. And the vast majority is watched on broadcast or cable.”

Next, a panel of leading media and marketing leaders took the stage to discuss the future of advertising in a mobile era. While television is still important for many brands, it’s only one piece of the marketing mix, according to Allison Lewis, global chief marketing officer for Johnson & Johnson. Mobile advertising platforms offer greater reach and precision, she said, adding that 50 percent of Johnson & Johnson’s web traffic comes from mobile. Kristin Lemkau, CMO of JP Morgan Chase added, “We want the ability to target and more ways to authentically integrate into programming – to get more creative in advertising.”

At Thursday afternoon’s keynote, Robert Kyncl, chief business officer, YouTube, noted that the last time he spoke on the CES keynote stage four years ago, he predicted that 90 percent of all Internet traffic would be video traffic by the year 2020. Cisco data now predicts that video will reach 90 percent of global Internet traffic by 2019, a full year ahead of schedule.

Kyncl discussed the top reasons video will ultimately win the decade, including the quality of video – data speeds are faster, sound is better and screens are bigger – and the increased diversity of content. Kyncl announced that YouTube’s premium subscription service, RED, will begin producing original content to follow suit with Netflix and Amazon. He added that new shows and movies will be available, as well as a music service. Kyncl also announced a partnership with GoPro to create the first commercial 3D/360 camera called Odyssey. Odyssey uses 16 GoPro cameras to capture VR video.

The annual Leaders in Technology (LIT) Dinner took place Thursday evening, honoring the policymakers and technologists that are instrumental in furthering tech innovation. Honored guests and speakers included Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry Emmanuel Macron, who noted that France brought a delegation of 190 entrepreneurs and 127 startups to CES 2016, calling them “the face of France.”

Fitbit CEO and Co-Founder James Park delivered the evening’s keynote address as a discussion with CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. Now a global brand providing fitness solutions to consumers around the world, Park noted how far Fitbit and fitness tech have come. “We essentially had to create the health and fitness category in 2009,” said Park. “I remember talking to Best Buy, and they didn’t even have a section to display it.” Fitbit unveiled its Fitbit Blaze at CES Press Day on Tuesday. The smart fitness watch creates a digital health platform – hardware and software – to help people reach their health goals. “People really want to work for a company that is mission-oriented,” Park noted. “And they want to work for a company that has profound benefits in society.”

In addition to powerful keynotes, Day Two and Three of CES 2016 featured compelling SuperSessions, tech policy discussions focused on furthering the next-generation of innovation and awards honoring the hottest products at the show.

During Thursday’s SuperSession: IoT Business Strategies: Partnerships for the Sharing Economy , leading industry service providers and manufacturers stressed the importance of strategic partnerships to accelerate the development of IoT. As an example of a successful partnership between IoT and the sharing economy ecosystem, the panelists pointed to   August Home’s integration with Airbnb, where Airbnb hosts can link their account with a keyless lock. This revolution has driven companies to move toward open source and standards to provide faster and better solutions to consumers.

Thursday’s C Space Storyteller series kicked off with Margo Georgiadis, president, Americas, Google leading an engaged discussion between Time Warner’s CMO Kristen O’Hara and Best Buy’s CMO Greg Revelle where they shared key insights, advising brands on the best ways to win over consumers. Following the “new rules” of marketing in today’s technology-driven, multi-device environment means that brands need to focus on the critical moments when consumers are actually receptive to them. In the following session, Yahoo’s Chief Revenue Officer Lisa Utzschneider led a talk with leading marketing minds from Subaru of America to analyze the intersection of data, content and technology and what that means for today’s consumer.

At the Forecasting the Future of Entrepreneurship SuperSession, Rebecca Jarvis, chief business and economics correspondent for ABC News led a discussion with disruptive innovators, Nick Woodman, founder and CEO, GoPro; Steve Case, chairman and CEO, Revolution and Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder, Slack. The group emphasized the importance of risk taking, strategic partnerships and picking a project you are truly passionate about. When asked about the future of entrepreneurship, they named major sectors such as food, healthcare and real estate, as well as consumer-generated content.

A mix of the world’s top movers and shakers in transportation solutions participated in the panel, Beyond Smart Cities: The Future of Urban Mobility, featuring Dr. Volkmar Denner CEO and CTO, Bosch; Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Department of Transportation; Stephen Mollenkopf, CEO, Qualcomm and Amnon Shashua, co-founder, CTO and chairman, Mobileye. Kent Larson, director, MIT Media Lab Changing Places Group moderated the discussion . With 90 percent of global population growth expected to take place in cities, panelists discussed how shared mobility, big data, practical business models and spectrum will be embedded in the smart cities of the future.

Business leaders and policy operators weighed in on the digital economy during Thursday’s Global Innovation SuperSession , featuring panelists Neelie Kroes, special envoy, StartupDelta; Emmanuel Macron, Minister, French Ministry of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs; Jeannine Sargent, president, Innovation & New Ventures, Flex and U.S. Senator Mark Warner. Alan Murray, editor, Fortune Magazine, moderated the session, asking panelists a series of questions, including what innovation-friendly environments are needed for businesses to succeed today; what single policies they are most focused on and where they see hope for creative policy making. Sargent noted that entrepreneurs and business people have a responsibility to help their government officials understand and be smart about making policy. For Kroes, she said it’s very important to have a government that doesn’t avoid risk.

It was a packed house for the always popular Last Gadget Standing, presented by Living in Digital Times. Founder of Yahoo Tech David Pogue kicked off the event, which featured 11 companies competing for the top crowd-pleasing gadget. The top two winners were chosen by a live applause meter and selected through an online audience. View the results here.

The Stars of CES Awards, presented by What Hi-Fi?, named the top ten hottest audio products of CES 2016, chosen by Simon Lucas, editor of What Hi-Fi magazine, and Joe Cox, editor of What Hi-Fi.com. The top prizes were awarded to these 10 products.

Yahoo Tech’s David Pogue led an audience through a Friday afternoon of friendly app competition during the Mobile Apps Showdown, presented by Living in Digital Times and sponsored by Lenovo.  More than 100,000 apps were submitted for consideration, with ten finalists selected for the main event and the winner selected by audience applause levels. The apps were designed to improve individual wellness, promote environmental sustainability, support small businesses and care for our pets. Results are available on the Mobile Apps Showdown website.

Friday afternoon’s Extreme Tech Challenge Semi-Finals consisted of 10 semi-finalists, picked by VC judges from a field of over 1,000 companies, pitched to a panel of judges – including CTA’s Shapiro – for a chance to pitch in the final round to Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island. View the results here.

The third day of CES 2016 concluded with Engadget’s presentation of the Best of CES Awards 2016. Pepper the robot co-hosted and introduced the different categories. Winners included:

Best Startup: Owlet

Best Digital Health & Fitness: OhMiBod LovelifeKrush

Best Wearable Technology: Recon Empire EVS

Best Automotive Technology: Chevy Bolt

Best Home Theater Product: Philips’ Fidelio E6

Best Connected Home Product: Cassia Hub

Best Innovation (disruptive tech): VW Budd-e fast charging technology

Best Mobile Device: Huawei Mate 8

Best TV Product: LG Oleg G6

Best Gaming Product: HTC’s Vive Chaperone

Best Offbeat Product: Ehang 184

Best Maker-Friendly Technology: LEGO Education Wedo 2.0

Best PC: Razer Blade Stealth

Best Robots or Drones: Typhoon H

Best of the Best Award : The Chevy Bolt

People’s Choice Award: The Razer Blade Stealth

Cars

Auto rivals team up for connected car demo

Rivals BMW, Ford and Groupe PSA, maker of Peugeot and Opel cars, have teamed up with the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), Qualcomm Technologies and Savari for Europe’s first live demonstration of C-V2X direct communication technology operating across vehicles from multiple auto manufacturers.

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The live demonstration also featured a live showcase of C-V2X direct communication technology operating between passenger cars, motorcycles, and roadside infrastructure. C-V2X is a global solution for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication in support of improved automotive safety, automated driving and traffic efficiency.

The demonstration exhibited the road safety and traffic efficiency benefits of using C-V2X for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) collision avoidance, as well as Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connectivity to traffic signals and Traffic Management Centers (TMC). C-V2X was operated using real-time direct communications over ITS spectrum and demonstrated its ability to work without cellular network coverage, and underscores its commercial readiness for industry deployment as early as 2020. Superior performance and cost-effectiveness compared to other V2X technologies, along with forward-compatibility with 5G, make C-V2X direct communications a preferred solution for C-ITS applications.

Six demonstrations were shown including: Emergency Electronic Brake Light, Intersection Collision Warning, Across Traffic Turn Collision Risk Warning, Slow Vehicle Warning and Stationary Vehicle Warning, Signal Phase and Timing / Signal Violation Warning and Vulnerable Road User (pedestrian) Warning. The vehicles involved included two-wheel e-scooters provided by BMW Group, and automotive passenger vehicles provided by Ford, Groupe PSA, and BMW Group, all of which were equipped with C-V2X direct communication technology using the Qualcomm® 9150 C-V2X chipset solution.  V2X software stack and application software, along with roadside infrastructure, were provided by industry leader, Savari.

C-V2X is globally supported by a broad automotive ecosystem, which includes the fast growing 5GAA organization.  The 5GAA involves over 85 global members comprised of many leading automakers, Tier-1 suppliers, software developers, mobile operators, semiconductor companies, test equipment vendors, telecom suppliers, traffic signal suppliers and road operators.  

Cellular modems will be key to the C-V2X deployment in vehicles to support telematics, eCall, connected infotainment and delivering useful driving/traffic/parking information. As C-V2X direct communication functionality is integrated into the cellular modem, C-V2X solutions are expected to be more cost-efficient and economical over competing technologies, and benefit from accelerated attach rates.  C-V2X direct communication field validations are currently underway in Germany, France, Korea, China, Japan and the U.S.

C-V2X currently stands as the only V2X technology based on globally recognized 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specifications, with ongoing evolution designed to offer forward compatibility with 5G.  C-V2X also leverages and reuses the upper layer protocols defined by the automotive industry, including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) organization. C-V2X includes two complementary transmission modes: 

  • Direct communication as shown in this demonstration for V2V and V2I use cases
  • V2N network communication, which leverages mobile operators for connectivity and delivers cloud-based services, including automated crash notification (ACN, as mandated by eCall), hazard warnings, weather conditions, green light optimal speed advisory (GLOSA), parking spot location, and remote tele-operation to support automated driving, to name a few.

“This demonstration builds on the successful C-V2X showcase we organised with our members Audi, Ford and Qualcomm in Washington DC in April, said Christoph Voigt, Chairman of 5GAA.

“We are excited to witness the growing momentum behind this life-saving technology and to see our members working together to deploy C-V2X, and to make it hit the road as soon as possible.”  

“The BMW Group introduced the first C-ITS use cases already in 2013 with the market introduction of the BMW i3. Today most of envisaged C-ITS use-cases are already institutionalized. With the implementation of C-V2X, the BMW Group accomplishes the last set of the puzzle with a practical path to C-ITS showing quick benefits,” said Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Electronics, BMW Group. 

“With its ability to safely and securely connect vehicles, along with its evolution into 5G, C-V2X is integral to Ford’s vision for future transportation in which all cars and infrastructure talk to each other,” said Thomas Lukaszewicz, Manager Automated Driving, Ford of Europe. “We are very encouraged by preliminary test results in Europe and elsewhere which support our belief that C-V2X direct communications has superior V2X communication capabilities.”

“We’re moving forward with seamless communication between cars and their environment for enhancing road safety, as well as our customers’ safety,” said Carla Gohin, Group PSA’s Vice President for Research and Advanced Engineering. “Following the first European C-V2X direct communications demonstration we hosted with Qualcomm Technologies last March, we’re pleased to work with leading automotive and technology companies today to highlight that C-V2X interoperability is a reality.” 

“This demonstration of interoperability between multiple automakers is not only another milestone achieved towards C-V2X deployment, but also further validates the commercial viability and global compatibility of C-V2X direct communications for connected vehicles,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president & president, Qualcomm Europe and MEA. “We look forward in continuing to work alongside leaders in the automotive industry, like the 5GAA, BMW Group, Ford, Groupe PSA and Savari, to help advance the automotive industry’s shift towards a safer, connected and more autonomous future.” 

“As one of the V2X pioneers, our company is extremely pleased to continue to help enable the next step in the V2X revolution that we helped start back in 2008,” said Ravi Puvvala, CEO of Savari. “For the last year and a half, the Savari team has worked diligently alongside the dedicated C-V2X engineers in the 5GAA partnership. The resulting string of increasingly impressive demonstrations is continuing to convince the world that C-V2X will soon be deployed around the world.”

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entires via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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