Ten Areas to Watch at CES 2017

With about a week to go, my attention is now solidly on CES 2017. Among other things, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first CES, which had about 17,500 attendees and featured a grand total of 117 exhibitors all the way back in 1967 (they're expecting at least 165,000 attendees and 3,800 exhibitors for 2017). Here are ten areas I'm following as I (carefully) pack.

1) Kaby Lake chipset announcements from Intel and accompanying notebook introductions from Dell, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, and Toshiba. Despite being more capable than ever, notebooks are not as glamorous as they used to be, but they're still quite important (and can be quite profitable).

2) Continuing and rapid changes in the automotive electronics market. Fiat Chrysler and Toyota both have press conferences, and Nissan has a keynote. Almost every other large auto manufacturer you can think of (Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Volkswagon, etc.) has a booth in the North Hall. Third parties like BlackBerry (really!), Bosch, Continental, Delphi, and OnStar are also very visible. I'm anticipating significant announcements around autonomous vehicles, connectivity, and mobility.

3) Build-out and integration of fitness and training devices. No single company, no matter how big, can go it alone in this space right now. "Works with" is an increasingly important phrase as we head into 2017.

4) Internet of Things (IoT) security offerings from companies with which I'm familiar. In January 2016, a few startups were offering such services—next month, I expect announcements from well-known technology providers.

5) Augmented reality finds its own markets. I believe that augmented reality (AR) will end up being more significant than virtual reality (VR) and I think that CES 2017 will have several important AR introductions.

6) Drones, drones, and more drones. I count about 25 drone exhibitors in the map of the drones area of the Las Vegas Convention Center's South Hall. There's also starting to be some task specialization in this area.

7) Useful and effective gamification. The idea of gamification has been around for a while, but often questionably implemented. I'm expecting some interesting and relevant introductions in this area at CES 2017.

8) Some interesting digital camera introductions. I anticipate some of the expected upgrades from well-known camera makers such as Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony, but I'm also looking for some new approaches.

9) Exciting USB 3.1/Type C accessories. There's now been more than enough time for the market to digest Type C—I'm expecting at least one device where the hardest part of developing it was even thinking of using Type C for the intended purpose.

10) More OLED TV choices. I'm expecting at least one big name vendor to enter this market and I'm also expecting more options at more prices from LG and Panasonic.

John Mulhern III, Posted 12/27/2016

For more information on CES, visit: https://www.ces.tech/