CES 2016: Ambient Intelligence Is Here
Virtual reality, wearables, smart cars — in 2016, all the theories and experiments of the past few years come into view, writes inMarket's Todd DiPaola.
CES rings in the tech industry new year with its showcase of the most exciting and groundbreaking products coming to market. Here’s the short recap: Places and devices are getting smarter and more connected, so they can help us live better.
Each year, a number of products “steal the show” — and often times, they’re linked together by particular themes. In 2016, the overarching themes of ambient intelligence — the concept of the world around us becoming smarter and more helpful to our lives — and connectivity were on display in Las Vegas. We’re on the precipice of a smarter world, where online and offline have been blended together to better serve us in our daily activities, and I’m not just talking about robot bartenders.
In 2016, that online/offline blend will be quite literal, in the form of Virtual Reality. With Oculus ready to debut its headset, we’ll get the most awaited tech debut since the iPad. And while it might take content providers a while to due the hardware capabilities justice, it’s not too speculative to think that VR could be a staple of our lives as soon as 2017.
Perhaps the most promising technology, though not quite as sexy as virtual reality, would be “traditional” wearables. This category was the darling of CES in 2015, and a number of products have matured significantly in the past year. Wellness is a recurring theme in wearable tech, with products like L’Oreal’s My UV Patch capable of tracking your exposure to sunlight, or Owlet’s smart baby sock designed to track your infant’s vital signs. Given recent awareness of concussions in athletes, FITGuard’s new head injury alerting mouthguard uses Bluetooth to transmit potential concussion impacts from right under the cranium. It could have a transformative effect by protecting students and professionals alike in the coming years.
Through the further convergence of electronics and transportation, we’re seeing new user interactivity in and out of the home. The smart car has become a staple of CES, and this year’s crop most certainly fueled excitement. Self-driving, connected vehicles will have a real place in our future, with major players like General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, and Ford involved in either acquiring or contracting technology companies that will help them put an autonomous product on the road. GM’s latest debut, the 200 mile, $30,000 Bolt EV, even features a touchscreen larger than an iPad. Beyond self-driving vehicles, the connectivity aspect of the vehicle will be an interesting space to watch, and perhaps a petri dish for the physical web and “one-touch” internet to evolve.
At inMarket, our slice of the physical web involves helping retailers and brands enhance the customer experience. We do this through a number of mobile proximity technologies including Bluetooth beacons which allow a consumer to get the benefit of accurate micro-location far beyond traditional GPS capabilities. User experiences can include a smart shopping list that reminds you what your spouse needs picked up as well as being able to activate experiences around you via the physical web. In 2016, the mobile proximity infrastructure is in place and consumer behavior has evolved. Smarter connected devices plus accurate location data will lead to new consumer experiences both in and out of the store.
*Veteran entrepreneur Todd Dipaola co-founded inMarket in 2010 to bring the performance and accountability of digital marketing to the realm of retail. Dipaola previously co-founded and bootstrapped digital marketing agency Vantage Media at the inception of search advertising. Vantage ranked 31 on the Inc 500 and earned “The Fastest Growing Technology Company in Los Angeles” honors by Deloitte’s Fast50. In 2007, Todd exited the company at a valuation north of $100MM.
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