CES 2017: Alexa, Drones, IoT & Automotive

January 17, 2017
Holger G. Weiss
CES 2017
Toyota's Concept-i at CES International, Las Vegas

Amazon’s Alexa was the life and soul of CES 2017.  She was everywhere, and everyone was impressed.  Speaking to many insiders and  tech-enthusiasts, the dominance of Amazon’s voice platform has been the talk of the town at the turn of the year. Team Alexa is doing a great job. Android Auto? CarPlay? No one even mentioned either of these products at the show itself nor at any of the professional or casual events that followed. CES 2017 was all about ‘HER’.

Drones for every use case

The rapid emergence of consumer drones over the few years has been a remarkable phenomenon. First there were Alexa enabled drones, then selfie drones , following you to help you catch that perfect shot. There are drones for professional  building maintenance, videoing, drones carrying people (seriously) and even underwater drones. Drones are everywhere, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. We can expect a future full of them. However, I can’t help but  wonder what this could mean for our safety and security in the future. Air traffic, power plants, privacy, military secrets, espionage?

Ehang 184 at CES 2017

New possibilities for entrepreneurs

Like every trend of modern times drones spell a whole host of possibilities for entrepreneurs. For example, Airmap is a start-up from Silicon Valley which is working with authorities, drone makers and other parties to create trustworthy airspace intelligence. Dedrone is another start-up, working to  identify flying drones that are in the air at any given time.

Everything becomes connected

Connected home and connected health were also dominant discussions at CES 2017. There were a few products that stopped me in my tracks: How about a real-time sperm quality-meter (I’m honestly not kidding..), or a sensor to define the quality of the wine in your glass. Or even an entertainment automat for your pet, playing and feeding it and even offering to remotely watch it and talk to it (while you are in the office or gym…).

New excitement about voice interfaces

Digital assistants are on the rise as well, and there is a huge buzz and excitement about voice interfaces. This could be down to the colossal progress technology has undergone during the last 5 years. For starters the ratio of words recognized by machines jumped from 70% to 90% over that period. That’s an almost human level of processing. It’s no surprise that many car makers are experimenting with this: Toyota unveiled perhaps the most impressive concept. I’m personally a big believer in this: reaching a stage where the car appears like a man’s best friend, your guardian angel, remembering every second you share together.

“Touching” the buttons of a hologram

In addition to voice control car makers and suppliers also showed new concepts and prototypes for interaction without touching the interfaces at all. Gesture will clearly be a supportive way to control and maneuver the car of the future, alongside spoken communication. BMW presented a very impressive demo showing a hologram of an interface. Simple gestures such as an open or closed hand ‘push’ the buttons for you as the hologram is responsive by a haptic impulse from the user’s fingertips. It totally blew my mind.

BMW's interior of the future

Verdict: Everything that´s hot in tech

So there you have it: CES 2017 showed everything that is hot in tech. The  excitement for  the many new awesome developments is increasing every day.  Most importantly for German Autolabs, it’s great to be part of this movement and we are onboard  to help shape this amazing future.

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