With CES 2017 going strong this week, we're taking a look at some of the tech trends that are evident at the show so far. There are lots of things going on at CES, but these are some of the big, overriding trends that look to have the ability to impact the market, both now and in the future.
Be sure to check out Part 1: Self-driving cars and the tech that drives them (no pun intended)
(Note: Much love to the great people at The Verge for the incredible reporting at CES this week. We've linked to many of their articles here and suggest you check out their great site on your own, too.)
Trend #2 - The Internet of (Crazy) Things
The so-called "Internet of Things” (IoT) and all its various smart devices have been around for a few years now, but we seem to be reaching new levels of wackiness here. Over the past few years, everyday devices have increasingly become internet-connected and, to some degree or another, “smarter.” My first smart home device was the Nest Thermostat and, I have to say, I love it dearly. Given my excellent experience with that device, I followed that purchase up with Nest’s own Protect smoke detector - then promptly wished I hadn’t since it’s a complete piece of junk. I even bought a Withings WiFi-connected bathroom scale since it actually helped me keep track of my weight (which, given my proclivities for cookies, hasn’t been easy). I never bought into the connected LED lights trend, but at least I can see where it would be useful.
But this year, it seems like companies have just gone completely around the bend with this tech, putting smart tech in just about anything they can think of, regardless of whether or not it makes any sense at all. This year so far, we’ve seen smart garbage cans (not kidding), smart hair brushes (seriously), smart cat feeders (yep), smart toothbrushes (supposedly imbued with artificial intelligence, no less!), and even smart toasters. In years past, these oddities would have been one-off bits of weirdness - this year, however, they're seemingly mainstream.
Without a doubt, the IoT seems here to stay, but the question becomes where will customers draw the line? It's one thing to be able to change your thermostat setting from the comfort of your bed, but will consumers really care about the level of connected technology in their toothbrushes? And be willing to pay for it?
(Also, please, please, please manufacturers think about the security of these devices. Remember the Mirai botnet from a few months back where hackers figured out how to turn an army of these things into a way to mount crippling “distributed denial of service” attacks across the internet? I don't want my ceiling fan to suddenly become the reason I can't get online.)
CES 2017 "Smart" Devices: