CES tech trends for 2017
Another year, another influx of new technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but are what are the big tech trends to watch out for in 2017?
AI – artificial intelligence
Whether you’re talking about your TV, car or fridge, the AI within will aim to shift the thinking from your shoulders onto an automated computer’s programming.
We’re already seeing smartphone processors getting better at predicting your usage habits. As a result, they can open apps quicker and even suggest apps for you to use at certain points in the day.
Siri, Google Now and Cortana are also commonplace in our pockets, but 2017 looks set to see smart, digital assistants move away from phones and take to our homes and offices in a big way. With the launch of Google Home here in the UK, hot on the heels of Amazon Alexa, in-room PAs will enable us to schedule meetings, send emails and buy office supplies by hurling a string of voice commands across the room.
CES has never been less about mobiles and more about cars – specifically, self-driving cars. Nissan, Tesla, and Chrysler are all just a few brands showcasing driverless concept models this year, with taxi services like Uber investing in R&D to roll out a chauffeurless taxi service in the next two years.
While this might sound premature, car manufacturers including Audi aim to have self-driving models, specifically, their A8 in a driver-free option by 2018. This suggests that 2017 will see plenty of breakthrough announcements and maybe even road safety regulation change to accommodate these driver-free vehicles.
A natural extension of AI and self-driving cars, robots look set to be streamlining business costs and mitigating human risk in 2017.
Apple’s Foxcon manufacturing plant saw 60,000 workers replaced with robots in May 2016, with 2017 looking set to continue the three-phase plan to swap all manufacturing workers with machines. Likewise, Japanese insurance firm Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance which announced that it will be replacing 34 employees with IBM’s Watson Explorer.
Robots aren’t only set to replace human workers – Sanbot, a Chinese automaton will be deployed in hospitals throughout 2017 to aid patients and entertain children. Running a customised version of Android, the robot will communicate, emote and play movies and music in a bid to help aid recovery.
So while last year saw a lot of noise being made about the Internet of Things, virtual reality and augmented reality, now, we can also start having very real conversations about AI and robotics in the workplace throughout 2017.
At CES 2017, Google and Asus partnered to bring Tango to the masses in the ZenFone AR. In the world of tech, Tango isn’t a sugary orange drink, but an AR (augmented reality) platform that has big brands like BMW and GAP signed up already.
The reason for its appeal is this: Tango maps a 3D space using a smartphone camera and a host of sensors on board. It can accurately plot a phone’s movements right down to which way the phone is facing. Couple this with AR, and Project Tango means virtual shopping experiences at the GAP could be a reality in 2017 – complete with trying on clothes and getting accurate size guides overlaid on a photo or video of yourself.
While it seems like early days, if your business offers a physical product, Tango could help your customer place it in their environment before the year is out with Tango developer kits already available.
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