CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017 has just concluded and is widely regarded as one of the most influential and expansive expos of all things technology in the world. Set during the first couple of days of January each year, this is the perfect showcase for all tech companies to exhibit their latest technological developments and their vision for the next year's road map of product development.
As with most such cutting edge shows, there's quite a bit of showing off of some real cutting edge stuff that's still some distance from being in a saleable from, but in recent years the speed of the concept-to-product has increased dramatically.
This year visitors were again treated to some wonderful examples of expanding trends in technology as well as some more exotic bits that are just over the horizon.
Wearable technology has now become much more mainstream and with that comes product offerings from many smaller brands in addition to the large corporations that were first to market. This means many more watches, fitness trackers and technological aids that gather information about our life and movements - some as small as a simple ring - to larger items like sports or dress watches and fashion accessories.
During 2016 we saw a great flood of products into the market that interfaces directly with the user (like a wearable piece of electronics) with the specific goal of adding to, or augmenting reality for the user in some way. This is a trend that is heavily driven by the gaming sector of the market and is expanding quickly. This year, in addition to more realistic and and a greater range of VR headsets and VR pods, there are also products like projectors and screen systems that wrap around the user by extending the viewing angle and range to immerse a user (or player) to make the whole experience more realistic. There are also quite a few items designed to be worn or carried by a user and then the recorded experience can be played back in the augmented reality setup.
Samsung has lead the charge in the development of cutting edge TV technology and whilst many of its competitors have opted for exploring OLED as a TV technology, Samsung has remained steadfast in using OLED only in its portable devices and sticking to LED backlit LCD technology for TV. Last year, they introduced SUHD, an improved version of their technology that combines all the advantages of LED with the best attributes of OLED. This year, they refined and radically upgraded their Quantum Dot technology took centre stage with the unveiling of their QLED TV technology. The new range sets new standards in brightness and colour gamut reproduction and adds black levels and and contrast depth, before seen only in the best examples of OLED. Expect the range out in the middle of the year.
With 2017 we will also great expansion of the IOT or so-called Internet Of Things. This refers to the interconnected nature of mundane items like rings, watches, home appliances with our computers and smartphones via the internet. With the rollout of this interconnectivity, we see greatly increased shared information to aid us in our daily lives. Gone are the days of TV, media players, phones, and computers to be separate and insulated devices. Not only are they interconnected via the internet, but they are increasingly becoming the same device, in different applications.