posted on Tuesday, 10th January 2017 by Geny Caloisi
It’s been happening for 50 years and this year was no exception: innovators, start-ups, entrepreneurs, inventors and the biggest consumer electronics companies have gathered in Las Vegas for a week of awe and inspiration at CES 2017.
CES is the global stage for innovation, with attendees from more than 150 countries and more than 100 official national delegations. With more than 3,800 exhibiting companies and exhibit space of more than 2.6 million net square feet, CES 2017 was a record-breaker, welcoming 175,000 industry professionals, including 55,000 from outside the US.
"CES 2017 shifted to a new level as large and small companies from around the globe gathered to reveal solutions for many of our world's most challenging problems," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA). "Our industry is bettering the world through connectivity and innovation, touching literally every facet of our lives. Today's connected world was on full display this week at CES 2017 - our largest, boldest show in history."
This year's show was all about connectivity - both in the form of the technologies unveiled and in the valuable face-to-face business connections happening throughout the show. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the cloud are the technologies driving trends.
"CES 2017 is a global showcase that demonstrated that we are in a new era of innovation where technology is valued not just for the devices it produces but for the experiences it makes possible," said Bridget Karlin, managing director, IOT, Intel.
Connectivity, creating a true IoT was everywhere at CES 2017 - enabling nearly every product category, from self-driving cars and smart cities to digital health and 5G - and a major focus throughout CES conference tracks. 5G will revolutionize our connected world, and the entire connected ecosystem came together at CES 2017.
What enables IoT to happen is sensors on objects that allow them to connect via WiFi or cable to the Internet and the cloud. Just by carrying your smart phone about your person, or any other wearable technology you become part of the IoT. The IoT allows the tracking of day-to-day activities, which will then generate data that can be analysed and acted upon. Samsung for instance introduced its newest wearable the Gear S3 with LTE connectivity and the next generation of the Samsung Chromebook Plus designed for Google Play. LTE or Long-Term Evolution is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals.
The Robots are definately amongst us. As humans, we always like to find anthropomorphic similarities will all that is around us. Indeed, our SciFi understanding of robots are computer operated humanoids that can talk to us and act according to our commands.
This is no longer on the realm of SciFi. Major technology brands are launching their own version of voice operated interactive robots that will soon play a centre role in our lives and be the beating heart of the IoT.
Bosch's smart kitchen robot, "Myke", features voice recognition and guidance to help you make dinner. The German tech giant will this year also launch “Kuri” a smart robot for the home with facial recognition technology, to tell apart each family member and adapt its behaviour accordingly. Both bots are expected to be launch in time for Christmas 2017 in the US. The rest of the world might have to wait a bit longer.
LG also presented its own home assistant, but it doesn’t have its own name like Alexa or Mike, it's just called ‘Hub Robot’.
‘Hub Robot’, is a small white machine with a black ‘face’ and two glowing blue eyes, is said to be a competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home. But LG argues that it is capable of doing a lot more and has expressed its appreciation to the strong partnership it has with companies such as Google and Amazon.
LG said that all its home appliances will now have learning technology, called DeepThinQ, which can be voice operated and has an image intelligence engine. The company also announced the new WEB OS 3.5. Developed by LG, WebOS, is a Linux kernel-based multi task operating system for smart devices. So far it has been available for TVs and smart watches but now it will expand to all of LG fridges, microwaves, ovens and all other home appliances.
LG’s home assistant can tell you the weather and suggest to start washing your clothes after the storm passes, and subsequently witch the washing machine on. It can play music, order your vacuum cleaner to start cleaning the house and turn on your oven to get it ready for dinner.
Of course, Hub Robot will only be able to do this if all appliances are connected to Wi-Fi. So before you get your Hub Robot you might need to think of upgrading your home appliances. Hub Robot is expected this year but no release date has been ventured.
On its CES 2017 address, LG made it clear that it understands that the path to a true IoT cannot be walked alone. The company has teamed up with the Open Connectivity Foundation to collaborate with all other manufacturers and developers on the IoT.
As so many companies are involved on creating the IoT, there is a need to organise and make sure what needs to be connected, connects and that there is interoperability for consumers, business, and industry. For this reason we see the creation of the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). The foundation is leading the way to create a specification and it is sponsoring an open source project to make this possible. OCF objective is to unlock the massive opportunity in the IoT market, accelerate industry innovation and help developers and companies create solutions that map to a single open specification. OCF will help ensure secure interoperability for consumers, business, and industry.
The OCF unifies the entirety of the former Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) with leading companies at all levels – silicon, software, platform, and finished-goods – dedicated to providing this key interoperability element of an IoT solution. The OCF sponsors the IoTivity open source project, which includes a reference implementation of our specification available under the Apache 2.0 license. The OCF also includes all the activities formerly sponsored by UPnP Forum.
The IoT is a reality today more than ever. The question is at what rate will it infiltrate into our lives and become and omniscient witness and auto command or our lives.
Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications.