CES Unveiled: Pre-show Highlights

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As the first major trade show of the year Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has a large responsibility in setting the technology agenda for the coming year.  This year key themes at "CES Unveiled" seem to be audio, wellness and health, home electronics, as well as the usual bigger and bigger screens, clever touch screens and automotive electronics, not to mention more than one drone helicopter carrying video camera devices.

Today at 4:00 p.m. in Las Vegas a select number of CES exhibitors previewed the products to around 800 members of the world’s technology press.

Of particular note was the high number of e-wellness and e-health products as well as a number of products in the sports and leisure market. Devices like fitbug that suggests it will help its user to get fitter and lighter and feel healthier and happier. Imedipac is a smart pill-box from Medissimo that connects to their e-health platform to help patients take their medication safely and regularly. Wellograph is a wristwatch with a curved sapphire crystal display that senses your heart and graphs you wellness, apparently the world’s first continuous heart rate monitor and running watch in a single device. There were plenty of other devices to monitor your blood sugar level, your sleep patterns, the number of steps you take and just about anything else.

In the leisure or sports area Schwinn had an innovative device for cyclists called CycleNav, which it describes as a "Smart Bike Navigator" and "the brand’s first-ever mobile appcessory." Schwinn CycleNav is a free mobile application paired with a handlebar-mounted smart-bike navigation unit designed to give riders turn-by- turn audio and visual navigation from their handlebars. More informationcan be found here.

The Zepp 3D is a motion sensor that attaches to any baseball or softball bat, tennis racquet or golf club and wirelessly sends data to your smartphone or tablet after every swing. Data is provided on swing speed acceleration and plane, providing the information required to help athletes and coaches to improve performance.

I asked both companies where the products were being manufactured and on both occasions the answer was China unsurprisingly…

Prediction: Expect many more of these devices, most of which will connect to your smart phone for data and analysis. More appcessories.

Also in numbers were connected products for the home, including a smart slow cooker where temperature could be set and monitored from any smart device. Connected security devices such as alarm systems and video surveillance were also prevalent.

Another area of focus seems to be audio again with many companies launching new high quality headphones, with a particular emphasis on wireless Bluetooth connected devices. There seems to be plenty of high value, high fashion or high quality audio equipment out there with consumers opting to upgrade from the headsets provided with their devices.

Other products of note include Liquid Image who seem to be a real competitor with Go-Pro in the action video camera market and DJI Innovations, a Shanghai based developer and manufacturer of easy to use, high performance unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for commercial and recreational use. Gaining much interest were their quadcopter solutions that can fly and take aerial still images and videos right out of the box. They also provide larger industrial/professional multicopters for videography and photography as a well as kits for the hobbyist.

It was interesting to see a number of inventive products coming directly from China, rather than just manufactured in China.

Prediction: More innovation from Asia and in particular from China, it’ll be interesting to see their approach to IP protection when the IP is domestic.

Tomorrow the press briefings start in earnest and I’ll be focusing in the morning on the Automotive sectors, with press events from Audi, Chrysler, Toyota, Bosch and Chevrolet, as well as a session on ‘The Car’s Digital Future’ and the official debut of the new Formula E Car - The first ever public demonstration of the new fully-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E race car for the FIA Formula E Championship.

More views, more insight and more predictions tomorrow…



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