From Futuristic to Functional: A Look at the Top Trends from CES 2017

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The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was as crazy as you might have imagined it to be, with more than 165,000 attendees in the technology industry converging on Sin City all at once. While I am still trying to catch my breath from all of the meetings, announcements and new products, this year’s CES did not disappoint in terms of highlighting some really cool technology. All sorts of “things,” from refrigerators to hairbrushes to cars, are getting connected to the Internet. And as part of the wireless industry, I couldn’t help but notice that mobile devices are at the core of most of these connections.

After taking a look at the myriad product introductions at CES 2017, there were several trends that stood above the “noise” of the show, including the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, AR/VR, connected cars and robotics. While many of these trends were also front and center last year, they are now becoming more consumer-friendly, cost-efficient, and ready (or much closer to ready) for primetime and mass adoption.

Here are some of the major takeaways from our time at CES 2017:

  • The IoT Revolution is Closer: Mobile is front and center of the Internet of Things (IoT), and many of the products and services showcased at CES this year proved that. While many companies are integrating connectivity and sensors into every day products to make them “smart,” the companies that do so in a way that is seamless, straightforward and provides clear value to consumers will ultimately be successful and drive IoT technologies forward to widespread use. One fun example we saw is Target, which is releasing a line of Bluetooth-connected lamps that use tunable white lights and are remarkably affordable.
  • Driving the Connected and Autonomous Car Forward: While fully autonomous driving is not a reality for 2017, more and more vehicles are implementing technologies such as self-parking and automatic braking that are getting us closer to that reality. Companies like Chrysler, Faraday Future and Honda made headlines at CES this year with impressive vehicle showcases. Chrysler featured the Chrysler Portal Concept car, which is fully autonomous and has face and voice recognition built in. While there is no specific plan for commercialization, some of the types of technologies used in the concept vehicle will be available in the not-too-distant future. Faraday Future was founded in 2014 and since then has developed two major concept cars, including the FF FFZero1, which debuted at CES last year, and the FF91, which debuted this year. The FF91 is a stealth-like luxury electric car that will offer many autonomous features such as self-driving and self-parking in addition to a 378-mile range. And for another really cool innovation, the Honda Riding Assist is a self-balancing concept motorcycle, designed to provide the thrill of riding a motorcycle while reducing the danger quotient. It keeps the rider upright, even at low speeds.
  • Robots Take to the Earth and Sky: Robotics was another popular category at CES this year, from inexpensive drones to robots that cost upwards of $10,000. One drone that caught the attention of many techies this year is UVify’s Draco. This drone is modular, easy to repair, and includes assisted flight modes for learning, making it an especially good option for racing. While it isn’t cheap at $499, its modularity allows for easy fixes if an arm or blade happens to break off from crashing into a tree. Another company, Elephant Robotics, showcased a $10,000 robotic arm launching next month that has integrated computer vision and can reduce the overall cost of machinery that’s used for loading/unloading, packaging and testing by 80 percent.
  • Rugged Holds Real Value: CES runs at a frantic pace, and gets more crowded every year. I can’t tell you how many people I saw drop their phones during the course of the show while trying to get from point A to point B. Most mobile devices announced at CES just don’t have the durability to survive through a major fall or a dunk in the pool. Rugged devices—ones that are durable, waterproof and don’t need additional expensive cases—continue to rise in popularity because of their reliability and cost-savings compared to traditional devices, without compromising on features or performance. While most major wireless-industry announcements will probably be made at Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona, we came away from our time at CES confident that 2017 is full of opportunity for rugged devices.

Now that CES has come and gone, it’s always exciting to see how far the industry will evolve in the coming year. Regardless of what comes next, it is a sure-fire bet that IoT, automotive, robotics and rugged will all continue to be hot topics in 2017 and beyond.

John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

busybusy, Kyocera Join Forces at the 2017 International Builders’ Show

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The beginning of each year always comes with an influx of trade shows and events across multiple industries. While last week we were running all over Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, this week Kyocera is joining forces with one of our fantastic software partners, busybusy, to participate at the 2017 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando. We will be showcasing how our hardware and busybusy’s software can help the construction industry enhance productivity via mobile technology.

Construction Marketplace, one of the key media outlets covering the show, just published its show guide, and highlights Kyocera and busybusy’s partnership on page 42 of its newest issue. From project and field management to communications, connectivity and materials and resource management, Kyocera and busybusy are working together closely to meet the unique and specific needs of the construction industry.

To read more about our partnership with busybusy at IBS, please read page 42 of Construction Marketplace’s show guide. And if you’re at IBS this week in Orlando, be sure to stop by busybusy’s booth (#W5371) to learn more about our complete solution for the construction industry.

KYOCERA DURAFORCE PRO EARNS CES 2017 INNOVATION AWARD

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As we kick off the new year, we are proud to announce that our latest ruggedized smartphone, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO, has been chosen as a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in the “Wireless Handsets” category. The annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is one of the largest (and busiest!) consumer technologies shows in the world, and the CES 2017 Innovation Awards* is a prestigious awards program created to acknowledge outstanding design and engineering in consumer electronics across 28 product categories. For our newest Kyocera device to be regarded amongst the top mobile handsets in the world is an honor and a true testament to its standout combination of performance, durability and affordability.

Products entered in the CES Innovation Awards program are judged by a panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media. They are evaluated on their engineering, aesthetic and design qualities, intended use/function and user value, unique and novel features, and how the design and innovation of the product compares to other products in the marketplace.

According to the Consumer Technology Association, products chosen as CES Innovation Honorees reflect innovative design and engineering in some of the most cutting-edge tech products and services coming to market. DuraForce PRO, which is the latest among the durable smartphones in Kyocera’s leading portfolio of rugged, military-grade and waterproof devices, offers an affordable, durable and dependable smartphone for both business users and consumers alike. DuraForce PRO is certified against shock/drops, water immersion, vibration, high altitude, extreme temperatures, dust and humidity. It can be submerged in up to 6.5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes and, for peace of mind, it comes with a standard two-year limited warranty. On top of its durability and reliability, it comes equipped with industry-leading, high-quality photo and video capabilities, including three front-and rear-facing cameras, and the industry’s first super-wide-view HD action camera in a smartphone.

DuraForce PRO will be on display along with other award winners during CES, January 5-8, 2017 in the Innovation Awards Showcase at The Venetian, Level 2, Ballroom E/F. If you are attending CES, come by and check it out! Or, if you can’t make it, check out DuraForce PRO on our site. For more information about the CES Innovation Awards, visit their website.

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

*The CES Innovation Awards are based upon descriptive materials submitted to the judges. CTA did not verify the accuracy of any submission or of any claims made and did not test the item to which the award was given.

From Vegas to the Mainstream: Our Expectations for CES 2017

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December can be a busy and stressful month, whether preparing for the holidays or for next month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Both events are fueled by an intoxicating level of excitement, with one being the perfect opportunity to gift this year’s “must-have” technology gadgets, and the other a launching pad for what are sure to be 2017’s hottest consumer technology trends.

In just a few weeks, CES will kick off in Las Vegas (January 5-8) with a dizzying array of innovative new products and technologies. While many products from 2016 are expected to return with great fanfare, consumers can expect tangible and newsworthy advances in the categories of wearables, drones and virtual reality, as well as more affordable and user-friendly options. The major theme across CES 2017 will likely be the evolution and refinement of consumer technologies that are more palatable to and attainable by the mainstream public.

No matter what your technology sweet-spot is, CES 2017 will be the perfect place to get your fix. Here are a few of the anticipated trends that will pique our interest at CES 2017:

  • Rugged’s Star Will Continue to Rise: According to analyst firm VDC, 96% of people who try ruggedizes smartphones say they will never go back to anything different. The demand for ultra-rugged mobile devices continues to explode because, when the success of a business depends on uninterrupted functionality, rugged mobile devices are imperative. Kyocera has become the leader in rugged mobile solutions, especially among devices with IP68 and military-standard certifications for water-, dust- and temperature-proofing and more. You can expect to see more rugged devices showcased during CES.
  • AR and VR Get Real: During 2016, augmented and virtual reality got real for the mainstream consumer. Securing more than 20 million active users in its first two weeks of release, Pokemon Go bridged the gap between concept and usability for augmented reality – exposing a new landscape for businesses to connect with potential buyers and establish greater levels of brand affinity. CES attendees can expect to see new VR headsets and smarter more visually stunning televisions, many of which will be equipped with AR and VR capabilities, as well as some surprises in the realm of AR applications.
  • Robotics Take Flight:Piggybacking on last year’s success, advances in drones and robotics are certain to soar to new heights at CES 2017. This next generation will likely feature more compact solutions with extended battery lives and flight times, as well as integration with external devices as remote controls. For example, Cleo will debut a pocket-sized drone described as “the first selfie drone,” which resembles a donut or UFO in shape and is equipped with HD video-recording capabilities. The Cleo will take panoramas and selfies or record full 360-degree videos, and will be controlled exclusively by a downloadable smartphone app. While Cleo plans to announce the cost of its pocket drone at CES, the price-point is expected to be quite affordable and its usability high, priming it for success with beginners who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on their first drones.
  • Wearables/IoT for Every Lifestyle: The wearables market has been heavily dominated by fitness and healthcare, but this year companies will be broadening their focuses to include wearables for pets and everyday items, such as luggage. Link AKC will debut a smart dog collar that guarantees to be both fashionable and functional. The collar is a smart device that comfortably fits a dog’s neck with an accompanying smartphone app that helps pet owners stay connected with their dogs via GPS and location monitoring. It will also offer features to better manage a dog’s wellbeing via activity tracking, temperature notifications, and vet reminders. Another cool device bordering the wearable category will be available for travelers to help them find lost luggage. Bibelib has created a suitcase cover with an integrated tracking system that allows people to pinpoint and identify luggage in case of theft.
  • Connected Vehicles That Drive Us: Our CES trends hit list would not be complete without mentioning what’s anticipated in the world of connected vehicles. Cars of the future are certain to be a driving force at CES, with self-driving car tech companies Delphi and Mobileye having already announced plans to debut a platform called the Central Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) system, which promises to advance autonomous motoring. In addition, Faraday Future’s recent tweets have hinted toward the unveiling of a new driverless car at CES 2017.

While big news in the world of smartphones is not anticipated at CES (many mobile manufacturers will postpone their big splashes for the more targeted Mobile World Congress trade show in February), we at Kyocera will be at CES meeting with our partners, customers, reporters and industry analysts. CES provides us the opportunity to keep a strong pulse on the upcoming trends, particularly those affecting mobile users and the devices upon which they rely.

We hope to see you at CES for what is certain to be another fantastic showcase of what’s to come in the new year – be it in the palm of your hand, on the road, in the sky, or wherever our imaginations can take us.

John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

KYOCERA AND INTREPID NETWORKS SUPPORT SECURITY OPERATIONS DURING THE 41st MARINE CORPS MARATHON

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Security has become critically important at large-scale events, like marathons, throughout the U.S., especially since the tragic events at the Boston Marathon in 2013. Mobile security solutions have become key in providing law enforcement and first responders with real-time situational awareness and communication tools that are vital for enabling quick, coordinated responses to emergencies.

For the 41st Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, VA, which was held on October 30th, Kyocera and our partner Intrepid Networks, which develops situational-awareness software for the Public Safety sector, provided the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) with dozens of ultra-rugged, military-grade Kyocera smartphones loaded with Intrepid Networks’ STING® mobile solution working with the STING® Tactical Suite. The Marine Corps Marathon is the 4th largest marathon in the U.S. with 30,000 runners and thousands of spectators stretched in and around many national assets. Security was of utmost importance and required an integrated approach with multiple agencies using the best combination of hardware and software to support the operation.

With our rugged Kyocera smartphone using Intrepid Networks’ STING 9.0 software and running on Verizon Wireless’s 4G network, the on-the-ground security and law-enforcement teams at the Marine Corps Marathon were able to create a live, common operating picture for all responders to view on their devices, and enabled them to share data including maps, GPS and photos, as well as text-to-voice and voice-to-notes functionality. This ultimately allowed them to simplify communication, better connect responders with each other, and speed up potential response times.

Kyocera’s devices, which are certified to Military Standard 810G and “HAZLOC” (hazardous location) Class I Division 2, combined with STING’s latest situational-awareness software, created a great demonstration of the performance of our ruggedized devices operating in dynamic and sometimes hazardous environments, and working seamlessly with a leading public-safety software solution. Kyocera makes devices ideal for first responders, military and workers who need a smartphone that can stand up to challenging environments and its elements, including shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, blowing rain, dust, low pressure, solar radiation, salt, fog and humidity.

We were proud to have participated in the Marine Corps Marathon where Kyocera’s military-grade hardware and Intrepid Networks’ powerful software helped protect the safety and security of tens of thousands of runners, spectators and first responders. We look forward to continued collaboration with Intrepid Networks and law-enforcement agencies on similar projects in the future. For more information on Intrepid Networks, visit its website.

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams.