The excitement has been building up here in Las Vegas over the past few days with media days and press conferences, expectations have been riding high and the opening day of CES did not disappoint: A sensory overload of everything and anything in the world of consumer electronics, this show informs you right from the start that you cannot and will not experience everything it has to offer. You've got to pick and choose the booths you visit and the events you attend, and even so, you really have to struggle not to get derailed from your plan and stay focused. Even so, at the end of the day, I am not sure that I learned what I expected to learn and that I saw what I planned to see. But here's a few things: First off, "connectivity" is the word on everyone's lips.
Alexa, you're everywhere!
I have not hidden how impressive I find Amazon's adoption of, and investment in, innovation. Already a leader in e-commerce, having redefined how consumers shop, its warehouse robot deployments lead a revolution in logistics. And while that's rolled out, Amazon is already carefully planning its next steps, taking to the skies with package-delivering drones.
These last few days, Amazon's Alexa has taken center stage, underpinning Amazon's foray into home automation, with a publicized collaboration with LG to power the Hub Robot and to work closely with one of the biggest global suppliers of home appliances, and additional collaborations including Intel and others.
At the same time, Ford's booth at CES featured a major focus on autonomous driving, but also Alexa as the tool that connects home to car and car to home. At the end of today a strategy starts to become clear: Amazon is already impacting the way we shop, and is now targeting/expanding into the way we live, the way we commute/connect to each other. Bold moves from a bold company.
Having talked of Ford, its development autonomous vehicle looks great, and a look at its trunk allows you to see that the slick little LIDARs from Velodyne are not the only additions that make the car self-driving: all the computing power necessary takes up lots of space in the back of the car. Ford tells me that of course, in a development vehicle, packaging computing power is not a priority but I imagine in the next few years, minimizing the space the brains of the vehicle take up will become a critical part of the developments towards full vehicle autonomy.
Two velodyne LiDARs, 7 cameras and 6 radars are incorporated in the development autonomous vehicle by FORD. The computing power required to make all their sensory input into actionable data that allows for autonomy is pictured in the trunk
Autonomous driving is of course another key buzzword this week, with Panasonic, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, and many others taking their deserved place at CES 2017, as cars are becoming more and more a part of the devices that are extensions of ourselves.
Panasonic, of course, is playing to all of its strengths, showcasing its work on energy storage with Tesla, on 4K OLED displays, a VR headset with 220 degrees field of view an autonomous vehicle concept car all the way to broadband send and receive boards that Panasonic Avionics has already deployed in over 1300 aircraft globally.
Those little dots are in fact Panasonic lithium-ion batteries in tubular illuminated display cases
Panasonic's VR headset, utilizing 4 separate lenses (two at the front and two on the sides of the headset), has a 220 degree FOV
Finally, LG, two thumbs up!
Definitely the exhibit that stole the show for me was LG's booth, that doesn't just demonstrate TV sets and stoves and robots; more than anything, it tells a story, a story of how a consumer electronics company can interweave its devices with your everyday life. Beautiful ultrathin displays, domestic robots, airport robots, intelligent, connected appliances, the exhibit is a bright look at all the ways LG is looking to improve its products, and its customers' lives.
LG SIGNATURE OLED TV W
Looking forward to day 2 already!
All images taken by Dr Harry Zervos at CES 2017.
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Energy Independent Electric Vehicles 2017 on 27 - 28 Sep 2017 in TU Delft, Delft, Netherlands hosted by IDTechEx.