CES is upon us and companies are chomping at the bit to show off their shiny new wares at the world's largest technology trade show.
Tech giants such as Sony, Samsung and Panasonic along with thousands of smaller consumer-electronics companies descend on Las Vegas for the week, where they’ll make arguably some of the largest tech announcements of the year and show off not only what we’ll see in stores this year, but what we can expect to see for years to come.
This year’s show officially gets started with Press Day (the day those largest companies will make their big unveils) on Tuesday, with the show floor opening up on Wednesday morning.
Here’s a bit of what we expect to be big this year:
Last month the FAA officially launched its drone registration program, a sign that the consumer drone market has grown to a level that the government feels the need to regulate it. That growth is definitely demonstrated at this year’s CES. Last year there were just four companies on the show floor. This year, there will be at least 27 (a record), which will cover more than 25,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 200 percent increase over the 2015 show.
More than just toys, this year’s drones will likely offer capabilities such as the ability to avoid crash landings and perhaps specialized features for using them in different types of environments. Camera technology has also increased over the past year, so expect a lot of those drones to be capable of shooting 4K video and capturing high-quality stills.
We're getting even closer to that home we were promised in the Jetsons. We expect to see a TON of connected home devices at this year’s show. More than just smart lights and thermostats, this year will focus on how all those devices connect and work together – an issue that has hampered the IoT market. Expect to see devices and products utilizing Apple's HomeKit and Samsung's SmartThings platforms.
Last year consumer virtual reality headsets started to become readily available, and 2016 will be the year they start to improve. More than just headsets, expect to see accessories that can be used in conjunction with eyewear to enhance your VR experience. Facebook-owned Oculus will most likely showcase its latest version of Rift, Samsung will present its Gear VR, Sony will show off its PlayStation VR and HTC is expected to announce the latest breakthroughs for its Vive.
Also, for the first time CES will have an augmented reality exhibit, where companies can show of their latest innovations in the space.
Wearables have become an increasingly larger category at CES over the past few years, and this year’s show will bring even more of them to the show floor. Expect to see a ton of smartwatches from both major players and some smaller guys. Also fitness trackers will be improved, including going beyond just being embedded in smartwatches to being used in fitness gear and shoes.
Cars have always been a part of CES, but this year they’re taking an even larger part of the spotlight. Automaker technology will take up more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, up 25 percent from last year. Expect to see some interesting advancements in the world of electric and autonomous car, both from some of the big names – BMW, Chevy and Toyota, to name a few -- as well as some new companies, such as Faraday Future, an under-the-radar business backed by Chinese company LeTV. More than just new vehicles, expect to see a large number of devices that will take that slightly older car you have and make it smart as well.
Beyond new tech, CES itself has made a few changes this year. In response to recent global tragedies, the Consumer Electronics Association has opted to enact new bag restrictions at this year’s show. Whereas in previous years attendees could walk freely in and out of halls, this year bags will be searched, rolling bags and luggage aren’t allowed and everyone will be subject to metal detector screening and body pat downs.
Also starting this year, makers of hoverboards and scooters will have to restrict the use of those to their booth. That means that those visiting the crowded halls won't have to worry about getting run down.
Stay tuned throughout the week for updates from the show floor and a look at the tech and companies you’ll want to watch this year.