5 Coolest Products From This Year's Consumer Electronics Show

January 13, 2014

Leaders in the business world tuned in to watch Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, deliver his annual State of American Business address on the morning of January 8. The day before however, another important speech was made. President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association Gary Shapiro gave the State of the Consumer Electronics Industry address at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. 

Shapiro’s speech opened this year’s show and highlighted the bright future ahead for the consumer technology industry. He believes the world is “at the forefront of a momentous wave of innovation,” and has high hopes for the industry in 2014. Consumer technology revenues in the United State alone are expected to be $208 billion this year, a 2.4% growth since last year. 

For over 40 years, CES has brought together the people and the companies who shape the future of the electronic and technology industries, giving them the opportunity to debut their newest innovations. Among the 150,000 attendees of the four-day convention are over 14,000 CEOs, presidents, and owners of companies big and small—from start-ups to industry leaders like Sony and Cisco. 2014’s International CES is the largest ever, with 3,200 exhibitors covering 2 million square feet of exhibit space. 

Some groundbreaking technologies that have been unveiled at CES in the past include:

  • 1970 – Video Cassette Recorder (VCR)
  • 1981 – Compact Disc Player
  • 1994 – Digital Satellite System
  • 2001 – Microsoft Xbox
  • 2010 – Tablets, Netbooks, and Android Devices
  • 2013 – Driverless Car Technology

 

What will the next big thing be? Will it be Samsung’s bendable TV; Intel’s smart earbuds that track speed, location, and heart rate; or the TouchJet PTE that transforms a blank wall into an interactive tablet? Or will the biggest technology from this year’s show be in the automotive industry, such as Audi’s 90 mpg hybrid car with laser headlight capacity of 1/3 of a mile or Formula E’s electric racing car?

Here are five of the 20,000 products introduced at this year’s show that particularly stood out:  

  • AT&T and GM’s 4G LTE in cars: There will be Wi-Fi connectivity and access to vehicle-specific apps right in the car’s dashboard in select Chevrolet 2015 models; other auto manufacturers are close behind GM in adding this feature to their models.
  • Sugar Lab’s 3D printer: This device makes custom cakes that are entirely edible and don’t have to be baked.
  • Sony’s web-based TV service: With live-streamed, pay-TV online included on Sony TVs and PlayStatione game consoles, this service could be a disruptive opportunity in the market for cable and satellite TV providers.
  • Ford’s solar-powered car: We’ve seen electric and hybrid cars, but Ford’s C-MAX Solar Energy concept car is something different. Its rooftop solar panels glean enough of the sun’s energy to effectively make it a mobile recharging station, enabling the car to run for short trips without any other power source. For longer rides, the car’s conventional engine will extend the C-MAX’s range to 620 miles.
  • Clearview’s invisible speaker: The days of big, bulky speakers may be numbered with the introduction of this clear, wireless, paper-thin speaker.

 

During his keynote address, Cisco’s Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, specifically predicted 2014 will be a pivotal year for the Internet of Things. Everything—people, processes, data, and objects—will soon be connected. He said, “The Internet of Things will be five to ten times more impactful in the next decade than the entire internet has been to date.”

The world will for sure see big advances in technology this year.   

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Photo credit: David Berkowitz, 2012. License.