CES, the biggest global consumer electronics and technology trade show, is unmatched in scope and breadth. Its focus on the whole market – from suppliers to press to retail buyers – makes it the ideal place to identify key trends, assess ecosystem maturity, and see where new market entrants are concentrating.
Current Analysis’ Avi Greengart identifies key device trends.
Digital Home/Connected Devices
Avi Greengart, analyst at Current Analysis says:
“If there was a single buzzword at CES that trumped all others, it would be ‘IoT’ – Internet of Things.”
Samsung predicted that all of its devices will be Ethernet connected within the next three years. According to Current Analysis, there were dozens of home automation systems on display at CES, typically consisting of an IP camera for monitoring or security, motion sensors, contact sensors, and connected lighting.
Some vendors focused on ease of setup, others on reliability. Several smaller vendors offered unique features in one area, for example IP cameras with 720 degree views, lighting panels that control multiple switches, and many products had no clear differentiation at all. “What is clear is that there is little consumer demand for this category beyond early adopters. A lot of consumer education is needed, but it is certainly a key area of investment by vendors large and small,” says Greengart.
According to Current Analysis, wearable technology was everywhere at CES, with smart watches combining various levels of fashion, apps, and connectivity.
“Withings, previously best known for connected scales, stole the show with attractive and affordable analog watches that incorporated minimal fitness tracking capabilities. At the other extreme, Burg showed off garish smartphonewatches that make Samsung’s Gear S look staid. We saw at least two smart rings – one designed as a gesture control, one as a bulky notification device,” says Greengart.
“For every smartwatch we saw, there were at least two fitness devices. Much of the Sands Convention Center looked like an endless series of miniature gyms. While each vendor tried to tell a unique story around their product, this certainly appears to be a case of overinvestment in a category. Most of these companies are unlikely to be in business two years from now.”
If you did not know the acronym ADAS before CES, you almost certainly encountered it at the show. ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assist Systems, and consist of everything from back up cameras to self-driving cars.
“Audi concocted a massive PR stunt when it sent journalists on a 500 mile journey to CES in a self-driving car, but it was hardly alone in focusing on the connected car at the show. NVIDIA and Qualcomm both highlighted their efforts to provide the silicon behind the systems, vendors like Kenwood and Pioneer showed off aftermarket systems that integrate with smartphones, and carriers like AT&T held developer hackathons to tie phones, safety, and connectivity together.”