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.