Last week we were following closely the announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas. Although some large tech companies choose not to attend, it’s still the biggest tech trade event of the year, and it’s always worth reviewing the announcements and the product start-ups to see what is new on the horizon. The announcements provide a good indication of what we can expect to see emerging in a couple of years.
Without further ado, here are our top 3 takeaways from the event:
- Machine learning seen throughout the show. From the start of CES, with the keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, to a range of devices from different organizations, machine learning was a key theme. Nvidia is a company well-know to gaming enthusiasts but which has reinvented itself as an AI company operating at the intersection of graphics processing units (GPUs) and neural networks. It’s at this intersection where rapid advances are being made in AI, and underpins the tech being used in areas from autonomous cars to personal assistants. The attention on machine learning at the event reflects one of the key priorities of organizations in 2017, which will be to figure out how they can better use and implement the technology.
- Voice came to the fore. Voice was present all-over CES this year, and much more advanced than what we’ve seen in the past. Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, garnered significant press attention. More and more companies are looking to embed it into their products, whether that’s a smart home appliance like a refrigerator or dishwasher, or cars. For example in the future Alexa will be integrated into Ford, Volkswagen and Hyundai cars. You’ll be able to ask from the comfort of your house about the status of your car (for example how much fuel it has or what its range is), and of course to use Alexa while driving. The prevalence and sophistication of virtual assistants such as Alexa reflect the rapid maturing of artificial intelligence systems.
- Wireless charging getting ready for primetime. In the past couple of years companies have made significant progress developing wireless charging technologies. This year it appears these efforts are starting to come to fruition, with wireless charging present in several different areas at CES. Dell for instance announced the first wireless charging laptop – a Windows 10 computer that is powered by a desktop charging pad (which will go on sale in May). However the most exciting announcement was that made by Energous, a specialist wireless charging company. They revealed a number of products now using their WattUp RF technology, although still over very low distances. This technology sends out radio waves which can then be converted into electricity, thus powering a range of small devices such as wearables. On the horizon, look out for some potentially exciting news in 2017, as Energous’ CEO suggested the iPhone 8 may have wireless charging.
In addition there was of course a myriad of other technology, from drones, to HDTV, and virtual reality. 2017 promises to be an exciting year in the tech world!