Last week thousands of different tech companies and start-ups around the world visited Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronic Show 2016. I had the chance to join the excitement once again. Here I want to share with you some of my impressions from the event, and how I hope us developers can learn from CES to implement new technologies in our work.
Surprising innovation and a focus on consumer drones from Intel. Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, gave one of the most interesting keynotes of CES 2016. Most of the new products you see in tech rely on a processor; and Intel had a lot of things to share from multiple industries. Luckily for me, Brian and Intel share my fascination with drones; hence, their most exciting demo was the real-time collision avoidance sensor using one of their processors in a consumer drone for under $2,000. I see a promising future for drones and was excited that Intel is focusing on making drones more independent and affordable. Besides the keynote, many other companies were focusing on drones as well and, of course, DJI – one of the leading drone manufacturers – was present with some already-known innovations, like drones with special infrared lenses and virtual reality integration for search-and-rescue. However, the experience of being able to interact with the very same DJI engineers and discuss the possibilities for developers when using their software development kit (SDK), was unprecedented.
Virtual reality not yet ready for primetime. Virtual reality has been a trending topic at CES, especially with the consumer release of the Oculus Rift. I had to wait in line for about an hour to try it on, and to be honest I didn’t see much of a difference between Developer Kit 2 and 1, which I tried some years ago. Other than the crispness and precision, I didn’t quite get the Oculus Rift.
The internet of things (IoT) was present everywhere. However from my perspective there were not so many truly new announcements. But importantly several partnerships were announced between software firms and hardware manufactures, in order to take care of essential areas like data encryption for home automation. This way, higher level developers only need to consume their included public libraries to build solutions on top. Another big step forward in IoT was from IBM. With IBM Watson, IBM has made a bet which will see a world of IoT surrounded by cognition. The thinking is that Watson has the potential to integrate with different solutions and then convert this “dark” unusable data from thousands of sensors, convert it into something usable, and then learn from it. It was an interesting take from IBM and it’s definitely a technology worth researching since it complements perfectly with the IoT.
However, for us developers attending CES is more about seeing trends in technology that can grow or become something different through software. And, yes, more and more hardware companies are releasing along the way comprehensive software development kits (SDKs) that allow us developers to connect different technologies as if they were ingredients and enable us to become chefs who prepare brand-new solutions for different realities.
For example Nikon’s KeyMission 360-degree camera integrated into DJI’s Inspire 1 drone. So by using DJI’s SDK and YouTube’s SDK, you would be able to live stream 360-degree video using Google’s Cardboard (virtual reality technology). This means people will be able to see though their virtual reality visor a live soccer match from a drone hovering above. And that’s what is so amazing about CES – you can have your own idea for something revolutionary and go ahead and pick up different elements that will help you complete your recipe to create your product.
CES is huge but the reason I go is to hand-pick technologies, do some research, develop on top of them, and then later connect them for some extra fun. With this you get a better understanding when future clients want to integrate new technologies into their business. Knowing what is or not possible, and the things that we do and do not have, help us suggest better solutions for our customers.