Each January we travel to the Consumer Electronics Show, a mega conference filled with 200,000 people, miles of new technologies, over the top brand experiences, and flashy parties celebrating the next new big thing. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by it all, but amidst the craziness we found ourselves fixating on a few key trends that make us excited for the year to come in consumer tech:
The future of TV. Satellite cable provider Dish announced a groundbreaking new TV product called Sling TV that offers select premium cable channels, including ESPN, directly over the internet for just $20 / month. Live sports is the most valuable asset cable companies have in their expensive bundle, and Dish’s ESPN deal could be, for many, the straw that broke the camel’s back for cord cutting. Along with HBO announcing an Over-The-Top internet service at some time in 2015, this could be the year the great unbundling of cable actually happens.
Smart devices we actually want. 2015 will give us meaningful reasons to believe in the Internet-of-Things. Parrot Pot: a self regulating and self watering plant bowl; Dash Earphones: wireless headphones report your activity and heart rate; August Smart Lock: a door lock that can be controlled remotely; and eSkin Thermometer: stickers to monitor your child’s temperature in real time via your phone. Better yet, we can expect convergence across connected devices through smart home hubs like Google NEST.
VR beyond hype. The latest version of Oculus Rift was mesmerizing, and paired with products like the Sixsense Motion Controller it can be transformative. But maybe more impressive was Google Cardboard, which managed to replicate much of the experience with just cardboard and a phone. A base jumping simulation was so real it caused a stomach ache. At minimum it shows the depth of which experiences can be created using the censors in a standard mobile smartphone, how much innovation is still possible.
A little bit of awe inspiring. We raced cars using just our brainwaves, saw drones that follow behind us as we run, listened to creepy lifelike robots singing to us, and watched autonomous cars that can start and pull out of our driveways for us with the touch of a smartphone button. The future really is still in our imaginations, and all of us have the potential to unlock it. It’s going to be a wild ride.