CES 2015 Preview: 8 Hot Trends - InformationWeek

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1/3/2015
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Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
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CES 2015 Preview: 8 Hot Trends

Tech's annual celebration of gadgets, robots, and connected everything kicks off soon in Vegas. Here's what will grab the spotlight at CES 2015.
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(Image: Intel Free Press)

Here's a tip whether you're attending or just keeping tabs on the 2015 edition of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: Get used to the word "connected."

Connected this, connected that, connected everything. Heading into the tech industry's annual consumer fête in Sin City, it is the one word that best sums up the buzz. Think connected cars, connected homes, connected people, and the myriad connected devices those people carry, or, as might increasingly be the case, the myriad connected devices people wear. All of these technologies have made prior appearances at CES, but they'll take up even more of the desert air this year, from a self-parking BMW, to home automation advances, to the growing industry of developer frameworks such as Android Wear and Apple HomeKit.

Even as the line between consumer and business has blurred beyond recognition, CES is not meant to be an IT professional's paradise. (It is the Consumer Electronics Show, after all.) There are some conspicuous absences from an enterprise IT standpoint, and even from a consumer tech angle. You might hear plenty about the 2015 launch of Apple's iWatch, for example, but you won't actually find Apple there. There will be loads of Android devices on the exhibition floors, but don't expect a Google booth (though Google president of the Americas Margo Georgiadis will join other media executives on the Brand Matters keynote panel). Microsoft, once a CES stalwart, no longer attends in an official capacity. And although some of the biggest hardware players in mobile devices, such as Samsung, will be in Vegas, they probably will save at least some of their fireworks for Mobile World Congress in early March.

Still, CES remains an enormous international event with a start-of-the-year calendar placement that lends it extra juice. More than 160,000 people attended last year, including 6,600 members of the media and 3,600 exhibitors, who made 20,000 product announcements. Roughly one in four attendees was from outside the US.

As InformationWeek's Thomas Claburn recently reminded us, CES is always the Year of Something, for better or worse. Year of the Tablet? Sure. Year of the Ultrabook? That one didn't exactly pan out. You can place your own bets on 2015: Year of the TV Most Of Us Can't Afford doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. (Last year it was 4K; this year it could be 8K. Does that mean we can expect 16K in 2016?)

There are enough candidates from home automation, to virtual reality, to wearables, to, yes, incredibly big and expensive TVs that have become CES floor regulars that this year's CES is in danger of being known as Year of More of the Same. Then again, CES 2015 might be the Year of the Car; check out the keynote speakers. Sure, you've got your usual tech heavyweights including Samsung CEO Boo-Keun Yoon and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, but they are joined this year by Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche and Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields.

Regardless of which technologies end up leaving Las Vegas with "Year of" status, there will be a common denominator: connectivity. From your phones, tablets, and PCs, to the lock on your home's door, to your car's dashboard, to your fashion accessories, these items will be connected to one another and to the Internet, at least if vendors have anything to do with it.

CES 2015 won't be the first time you'll hear terms like "connected car," "wearable," or any of the many alternatives and variations, but the volume and frequency might hit record highs. With any luck we'll see more evidence this year of how these technologies will move from toys of the rich and famous to mainstream realities with practical, everyday uses.

Read on for eight trends and technologies -- all with the common thread of connectivity -- that are likely to dominate the CES 2015 conversation.

Kevin Casey is a writer based in North Carolina who writes about technology for small and mid-size businesses. View Full Bio

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Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2015 | 11:35:26 AM
Re: When will the smart watch happen?
@Li Tan there are wearables that build sensors into actual shirts and hats. Those are typically used for medical and safety monitoring, so they are not quite the same as smartwatches or even Google glasses.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2015 | 10:08:56 PM
Re: When will the smart watch happen?
I am hoping to see if connected car and wearable can really set our hands free. For example, if I am driving a connected car, I do hope it to be smart so that I don't need to play with UI too frequently, which is obviously dangerous while driving. For wearable, I would like to see if more and more creative ideas in addtion to watch, ring, etc.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
1/5/2015 | 2:51:39 PM
When will the smart watch happen?
I'm hoping that CES provides more clarity on smartwatches. It's a market with so much potential, but it's still not breaking through with consumers. I had a chance to play around with Galaxy Gear 2 watch recently and it's really useful and fun. It keeps the phone in the pocket, and we can all agree that's probably a good thing. It may indeed take the Apple Watch release to move the dial on smartwatches, but CES could be a good teaser for the market in general.

But ultimately, I think most folks will walk away from CES 2015 talking about the connected car and home, two exciting trends as well.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/5/2015 | 12:17:47 PM
Auto buzz
Based on my social feeds, the CES buzz is auto tech so far.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2015 | 2:01:36 AM
iWatch
It looks to me, or there are not that many people interested or excited about the launch of the Apple's iWatch? Discounting people who work at Apple or journalists, of course.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2015 | 9:34:05 PM
Re: CES 2015 Preview: 8 Hot Trends
Some of the things I will be very interested to see, specially, monitoring devices.   Although, there is a huge hype on this technology, but they haven't made an impact on consumers the same way tablets did.  I would like to see more robots as well.  Could the rumba be the best robot we can come up with win over people? I'm sure we can come up with better ideas.     

 
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2015 | 9:34:57 AM
Re: CES 2015 Preview: 8 Hot Trends
Gearheads paradise for sure! I would love to attend CES 2015 to see all the new devices and hot trends. Smart homes, smart cars, and wearables..so many advances in all arenas of technology. My favorites are the advances with the cars and how connected and easy their systems are. Safety and autonomous driving have also come a long way. What are some of your favorites that are being presented at CES 2015?
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