Inside CES 2018: Thoughts and Trends

Every year, CES showcases the newest and most innovative technologies, and LiquidHub attended to check out new customer engagement experiences. Here’s what caught the attention and imagination of our associates - Cheri, Daniel and Christine, and what they think will set technology trends.

Cheri - The Evolution of Modern Technology

Perhaps the most evident trend was the extension of existing technologies into other areas rather than the introduction of any one gadget that will change the world.

The wearables market is widening with brands unveiling mainstream, fashion-forward smartwatches to entice and incentivize people to proactively monitor their health without conceding personal style. Take for example, the Kate Spade series from Fossil. It doesn’t just track your steps, show messages and calls, and send alerts (like many wearable devices), it also has a feature that personalizes the dial based on your wardrobe. The “Choose Your Look” feature changes the face of the watch to match your outfit choice.

Here are a couple of other companies following the trend:

hamon® by Mitsufuji is a line of silver-metalized fiber clothing that monitors biometric information of the wearer. This new ‘wearable’ is designed to be used daily at home for sleep monitoring, in industrial operations (driver/worker stress and fatigue monitoring,) and for elder care (monitoring loved ones from a distance.)

Another great sporting product that trickled down into workplace safety and health care is Digitsole. Starting merely as a heated insole for outdoor athletic use such as skiing, it transformed to help runners and cyclists track and refine their performance with metrics around stride length, spin cadence, foot stress, and to help monitor fatigue and injury risk.

Now it is a product to help monitor worker posture, fatigue and movement (including slips and falls) in an industrial arena, and in health care, potentially, a great physical therapy tool.

The possibilities for this product category are enormous and I cannot wait to see what will happen!

Daniel - A look into the AR/VR Marketplace

The Internet is today, at the core of almost every product, along with the focus on ecosystems.

To predict what will be happening with AR and VR, take a look at Samsung, Intel, LG, and other big consumer electronic (CE) brands that treat AR and VR as a channel that integrates into their ecosystem, a part and parcel of a holistic experience and not just a product offering.

Here are a couple of other companies that deserve a shout out.

Lumus, an Israeli-based AR company leverages innovative AR technology, originally designed for military use for a commercial application. Their AR glasses are compact, both in terms of weight and thickness, yet have a field of view greater than other such products in the market, which could have applications in prescription glasses. The unique Lumus reflective waveguide technology is baked into the lenses themselves, which give AR developers a unique platform to create augmented and mixed reality experiences.

The Silicon Valley based Sigma Integrale believes that trucks will become driverless, but trucking companies will still require drivers to be available remotely to control them. Their concept is a truck that operates thousands of miles away, controlled by remote operators, which “pauses” only during shift changes. So, the truck goes further, faster, and more safely than if one or even two drivers were driving it.

Germany-based tire company Continental is creating “smart” tires, with the ability to sense temperature, punctures, and tread wear, which help gather analytics on tires and further improve the tire, and allocate different production runs of tires specific to a region of the country, etc. The tires can also gather and leverage data about traffic, popular routes and destinations and a myriad of other valuable analytics.

Christine – Inside CES 2018

First of all, I would recommend, if you ever get to CES, Central should be your first stop, even though it was my day 3. This hall holds the major companies like LG, Samsung, SONY, Panasonic, Intel, and Cannon. Each exhibit was innovative and extremely impressive.

SONY showcased something completely original. Their new line of speakers, which looked like a lamp, and completely made of glass, allowed for 360 degrees of sound. Not only was it aesthetically pleasing and blending in with your home but the sound quality was amazing as well.

EYESEE earned an honoree CES innovation award for their drone, which takes inventory in warehouses in a much faster and more cost-efficient way. This is a fantastic example of applications of innovative technologies for use cases, which will make a drastic impact on business, such as helping factories increase productivity and reduce costs.

Intel brought the Olympic games to life by turning the user into an Olympic athlete, using their VR glasses. Although I continually told myself it wasn't real, when skiing down the slope as an alpine ski jumper and about to take off, my hands were clammy and my knees were buckling! I can say it was extremely realistic.

Intel will be live streaming 31 different events through their VR technology, this Olympics. They will also be incorporating drones into the opening ceremony. We had a preview; watch this video of the drone light show over the Bellagio Fountains:

I see VR technology being used not just for gaming; soon it will take a virtual class in school and help doctors train and practice procedures. The possibilities are truly endless…

My day 1 and 2 didn't lack excitement either.

One trend I noticed, was companies expanding technologies into things that consumers care about – pets, children, our home.

When you think of Whirlpool, you think washing machines, refrigerators, and other home appliances. But Whirlpool is no longer just an appliance brand, they are adding digital tools to your home routine.

Their Kitchen design tool helps you visualize different colors and materials for your kitchen, making your choices easier. I had fun trying out the different counter tops and back splashes.

I had been interested to see how Whirlpool would integrate their newly acquired recipe search engine Yummly, into their products. Here’s how – The Whirlpool refrigerator with touch and voice controls are integrated with Yummly; you choose the ingredients in your fridge that are displayed on a screen, and Yummly will populate recipe options for you. But it doesn't stop there! Once you choose your recipe, the fridge will tell your Whirlpool oven to preheat to the temperature according to the recipe.

Now, all we need is a pan that cooks it for you!

Tractive is selling a GPS device that attaches to the collar of your pet helping you track its exact location. What makes it unique is that it uses 3G cellular technology that allows you a bigger than 33 feet range of communication, which current devices like Tile, which connects to Bluetooth, have. The company plans to soon be able to track the calories and health of your pet too.

The Kohler Konnect exhibit was by far my favorite. It personalizes and adds a touch of luxury to your everyday mundane acts. Imagine, getting back home after a long day and just saying, “Alexa, start my bath,” and your bath tub will be filled to a perfect temperature and level for a relaxed bath. Their application can program your preferences for the shower, toilet, mirror, facet, and bathtub, for a best experience, always.

Did you know that you can earn over $1,000 per year in HSA credit?

UnitedHealthCare’s Motion App connects to your activity tracker and earns you points for the number of steps you take. These points can be converted towards healthcare costs like copays, prescriptions, and deductibles.

Now, we can’t wait for CES 2019.