Fjord Trends at CES 2017: what we saw
If you’ve never been to the giant tech-fest that is CES, it is a surprisingly overwhelming experience. More than 3,800 exhibitors competed this year for our attention with bright lights, live music, and over-the-top displays at every step.
To say it is difficult to see and do everything that CES has to offer is an understatement. In fact, the only easy part is consistently hitting 10,000+ steps on your tracker every day! But we were prepared, using our 2017 Fjord Trends as a guide, to uncover the most inspiring work and topics that will continue to evolve this coming year.
50 Years in the Making
This year was an extra special one as CES celebrated its 50th year of innovation. CES, which started in 1967 in New York City, has grown from its transistor radio and stereo roots to become a global gathering of more than 165,000 attendees from 150 countries.
This year, we saw companies not just promoting individual products or new technologies, but also pushing whole new ideologies of the future, challenging today’s idea of the home, the car, and AI.
Refocusing the modularity of the smart home into an ecosystem.
The Fjord trend “Homes without Boundaries” is about looking past the device-centric stage to emphasizes the need to design for an entire home experience, putting the householders’ needs first.
Last year, companies at CES displayed the latest “smart” objects for the home. Smart toasters, fridges, washing machines and locks were on display, ready for consumers to buy and plug in. But plug into what? This is the question that this year’s smart home entries answered.
LG’s answer is the Hub Bot, a personalized robot butler intended to connect and control all of your smart home devices in one central location. Built upon Amazon Alexa, the Hub Bot plays to human emotions with personality, animated facial expressions, movement, and facial recognition to identify individual household members.
The New Car: Mobile living room or taxi cab?
In our trend “World on Wheels,” we question the combination of autonomous driving, electric vehicles and ride sharing and wonder how new experiences on wheels will be defined. There is also the careful readiness that is required from policies and infrastructure.
Electric vehicles at CES in previous year were still marketed as a personal item, owned by one individual or family. However, this year saw an influx of reimagined interiors and even ridesharing plans.
Toyota’s Concept-I focuses on the driver experience, separating the ideas of driving versus commuting. Toyota understands that some people like performance driving, while others would rather skip all the traffic. The Concept-I allows the driver to switch between these two modes through an AI called Yui, which appears not in a standard dashboard screen, but throughout the entire car. Yui even has a safety mechanism built in with an ability to read the driver’s face for attention span, frustration, etc.
Caretakers and AI
“Me, Myself, and AI,” another Fjord Trend, focuses primarily on chatbots as the first step in the acceleration of machine learning. Due to demand, AI will need to quickly grow to become more emotionally intelligent and more human capable.
Although robots and AI are nothing new to CES, and chatbots were far and few between this year, AI had a surprising presence in the child and elderly care category.
Several companies are looking to define children’s relationship with technology: When should children first interact with technology? Is more or less screen time better? Should technology assist a parent in care for their child, or should the technology administer care directly to the child?
Woobo introduced its furry and friendly child companion, an AI-stuffed animal designed to learn and develop a child’s interests. Instead of acting as a teacher, Woobo is designed to act like a child’s peer and enforce good habits.
There was a lot to see and do at CES, and this is just a sample of the big themes we observed. To learn more about Fjord’s coverage and take on CES 2017, check out our SlideShare deck.