Thousands Flock to CES 2017 to Conduct Business and Shape Our Future


By Rose Meli

The 50th annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held from January 5th through the 8th at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Las Vegas has become the show’s annual home since 1998, and this year a record breaking 175,000 attendees canvased 3.6 million net square feet to view products ranging from the practical to the out-and-out weird.

Who Will Hit the Jackpot with the Next “It Gadget”?

Every year government officials, investors, marketing executives, content creators, innovation architects, retailers and technology enthusiasts eagerly “shop” the floor, evaluating which new product has the practicality and “wow” power to be the thing that catapults us into our next technology-based personal breakthrough. Whether it is a VR (virtual reality) encounter or the prospect of experiencing 5G telecommunication for the first time (rolling out in 2020), CES is all about being the latest and greatest. This year’s theme focused on connectivity and our new era of innovation. It’s not just products on display, but also the experiences that the products enable. The possibilities are seemingly endless, making time spent at CES feel like a trip into our not-too-distant future. 

Driverless Cars and Poker Faced Robots up the Ante

Smart technology and virtual-based products led the pack, ranging from concept cars that drive themselves to tattoos and rings that measure heart rate and body temperature. L’Oreal introduced hair brushes that measure the quality of hair care, and Carnival unveiled wearable medallions that can be used on cruises to unlock rooms and make purchases.

Robotics continued to be wildly popular. Robotic baristas seemed to battle over which was better: coffee, tea or cappuccino. Kuri, a product of Mayfield Robotics, is mobile, aware and full of personality.  It can move through the home easily, even remembering the floor plan of your house. Its LED lights will even let you know what kind of mood it’s in. The built-in camera can record and save video to let you know when the kids are home, or to take some extra-cute cat videos of their antics when you’re not around.

The Skinny on Televisions and Projectors: A Winning Hand

From smartphones to laptops, another theme was the thinner the better. Skinny televisions stole the show by providing practicality to consumers who lack wall space and jaw-dropping visuals to technophiles. LG introduced the W7 OLED (organic light-emitting diode) flat panel 65-inch model that weighs just 18 pounds and protrudes a mere 0.15 inches (as thick as a couple of coins stacked together) when attached to a wall. The OLED technology promises a 25 percent higher peak brightness and better color. The TV will hit the market in March 2017 and sell for approximately $8,000. 

Sony Introduced an Xperia Projector prototype, which projects a screen onto any flat surface and uses IR sensors to turn that surface into a 10-point multitouch screen. It can also project an 80-inch image onto a nearby wall. This device is similar to an Android phone, but without cellular connectivity, and can browse the internet and play movies and games, allowing for a more enjoyable experience than a limiting cell phone screen. It’s also child friendly, preventing little ones from spilling onto or dropping mobile devices.

Wild Cards

The following products may not become staples in our everyday lives, but may find a place in some niche markets:  radiation-blocking underwear, baby diaper monitor, Bluetooth toaster, anti-pollution scarf, buzzing shorts (to eliminate the need to check your smartphone), levitating speakers, virtual reality shoes, and fridge cameras that notify you when food needs to be thrown away. From the weird to the wonderful, CES 2017 had something for everyone.

Future Wheel Spin

CES 2018 will take place next January from the 9th to the 12th. With so many new concepts and products to ponder, it’s mind-boggling to consider the prospect of outdoing the 2017 show. Technology industry experts are currently hard at work laying the foundation for what is sure to be another fascinating and rapidly advancing year for technology — first seen in Las Vegas and then by the world.

Discussion Questions

  • What would be the primary job function of a person who held the fun job title of Content Creator or Innovation Architect? What type of skills would be needed to perform these job tasks?
  • Envision yourself as an Inventor of technology, and then name some new features and functions that you would add to your current SMART phone’s capabilities.
  • Virtual Reality
  • Technophile
  • Patent
  • Smart Technology