Internet Of Things Leads The Charge At CES

Before the official opening of each annual CES in Las Vegas, the industry organization behind the show comes out with a look ahead, and this year the major theme is the Internet of Things.

Some interesting tidbits about CES itself were laid out by Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which used to be called the Consumer Electronics Association. DuBravac traditionally kicks off the week with a presentation on the state of the market. This is the 50th year of CES, which used to be called the Consumer Electronics Show. Some CES stats of this year:

  • 165,000 attendees expected
  • 3,800 exhibitors
  • 20% of exhibitors did not exist three years ago
  • Attendees come from 150 countries

Sales of emerging tech products including smart home devices, wearables and 4K Ultra HD televisions, will help produce 1.5 percent in industry revenues this year, according to CTA. Increasing consumer enthusiasm for IoT and adoption of emerging technology is projected to  drive the U.S. consumer technology industry to $292 billion in retail revenues this year.

Sales of connected devices in the U.S. this year are forecast to reach 600 million units, a record high. Here is the state of the market by category, according to CTA:

  • Smart Home: Evolving as consumers' most popular means of IoT engagement. The  projects the smart home category, including smart thermostats, smart smoke and CO detectors, Wi-Fi cameras, smart locks and doorbells, smart home systems, and smart switches, dimmers and outlets, will to reach sales of 29 million units in 2017 (63%increase over 2016), earning more than $3 billion.  
  • Digital Assistant Devices: Present an opportunity to understand how home tech products will integrate artificial  intelligence over time. Unit sales projections for voice-controlled, stand-alone digital assistant devices with a cloud-based operating system - including Amazon's Echo and Google Home, are expected to reach 5 million units and reach $608 million in revenue.
  • 4K Ultra High-Definition: One of the industry's fastest growing segments, driven in part by next-generation technologies such as high dynamic range and wide color gamut. Growth of the 4K UHD market significantly outpaces the transition to high-definition television, with just three years since introduction; cumulative sales of 4K UHD displays are forecast to hit 19 million units.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): Among the tech sector's overwhelming leaders in growth in 2017, VR headset unit sales are projected to reach 2.5 million units and $660 million in revenues.
  • Drones: Total drone sales are expected to reach new heights in 2017, topping 3 million units and $1 billion in revenue for the first time.
  • Wearables: Driven by the popularity of fitness activity trackers, the total wearables market in 2017, including other health and fitness devices, hearables and smartwatches, is expected to reach 48 million unit sales.

In addition to market stats, CTA provides some insights into what to watch for at CES. Here are the five CES tech trends DuBravac identified to monitor:

  1. The new voice of computing. The graphical user interface started to broadly disappear with wearables. The next computer interface is voice, ushering in an era of faceless computing. Voice activated digital assistants double in 2017.
  2. AI infusion into lives and business. An increasingly autonomous life and the ushering in of smart cities.
  3. Connection and computations. Increasingly intelligent systems connect diverse objects.
  4. Transportation transformation. Growth of driver assist technologies and self-driving vehicles.
  5. Digitizing the consumer experience. Future of entertainment is virtual and augmented reality blending to create mixed reality.

Based on what I saw presented during the first two days of pre-CES events, the Internet of Things is front and center for all the major technology companies.

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