Game of Drones (and other cool tech from CES)

As Head of Portfolio & Launch at O2, it’s my job to keep up-to-date with the latest tech, which is why I look forward to January as I get to go to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to see the latest gadgets and gizmos on display that we might be able to bring to our customers at O2.

Here are a few of the highlights from this year’s event.

If CES showed us anything it was that wearables are here to stay, there are loads to choose from and a few are starting to stand out from the pack. We already stock a great range in our stores, but more and more will focus on customer needs, for example health with heart rate monitors and perspiration sensors. There was a lot of hype about “Hearables” – a mix between a fitness tracker and earphones, designed to track your fitness through your ears instead of your wrist. Bragi and Jabra are two players making a lot of noise in this market.  Brand and fashion will also play a major factor in determining the winners of the wearables, as shown by the marketing campaign surrounding Will.i.am’s  i.amPuls band, which I’m pleased to say is a brand we are working exclusively with in the UK in 2015.

This year’s unofficial theme was definitely ‘Game of Drones’.  They were everywhere, with a number of start-ups keen to showcase their designs in all shapes and sizes. One popular design, the Parrot BeBop, can travel up to 2km with their “SkyController” that your tablet neatly slots into. When coverage is lost the drone returns to your smartphone/tablet via GPS. How cool is that? Many of the drones on display are already available to buy, and with new models being able to do more and cost less, it’s not long before these could become a mass market product for consumers.

Is there anything you can’t connect your phone to these days? Probably not. So it was no surprise that the Internet of Things and Connected Home were two big themes again this year. I saw connected washing machines, fridges, beds, hobs, sprinkler systems, ovens, kettles, lights, heating, the list goes on. Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have all got skin in the game. Google’s Nest thermostat product is open for business through its open-software-collaboration ‘Works with Nest’. And Samsung showed they had the kitchen covered (and the rest of the house) with their range of SmartThings, the company they bought last year. In fact, Samsung CEO Boo-Keun Yoon said that 100% of its products would be connected to the internet within five years. I reckon it’ll be sooner.

In the world of motoring, driverless cars are getting smarter. And they actually look cool. Audi are working on a SmartWatch with LG that can interact with the car – in fact, the CEO of Audi wowed the audience by calling the car onto stage from his watch. Other innovations included BMW’s all-electric i3 and i8 that made a return this year (complete with laser-guided self-parking system), and Nvidia unveiled its Tegra X1 chip, dubbed as a superchip for automobiles in the future.

CES showed us that 2015 is clearly another exciting year in the world of tech with lots to look forward to. What caught your eye from the show? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Images sources iam Puls: www.engadget.com, Bebop drone: www.Parrot.com, smartthings app: www.gigaom.com, Audi LG smartwatch: www.hexapolis.com