The International Consumer Electronics Show has been showered with releases, suggestions and glances into the future of technology. From smartphones to smart homes the internet of things is big this year, as well as wearable technology and everyday gadgets that connect to the internet. So what trends have we seen in the CES announcements so far?
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Internet of things
There was a lot of talk about smart homes at CES last year, and with Samsung announcing a smart fridge that tells you if its light needs changing and Sleep Number demoing its “superbed”, it seems that the time of the internet of things is well and truly upon us. But alongside these handy gadgets come the worries about what they will mean for the future of personal privacy. As Edward Snowden said in the UK’s alternative Christmas message, people born within the next couple of years may not know what it means to keep anything private. Along similar lines, analysts believe that household items accessing personal data could mean datageddon, as these products will likely upload your information to their company’s cloud database where they can be accessed lawfully or otherwise.
Whether for the purpose of monitoring your health or as a tracker for your food, movement and sleep there have been a number of wearable gadgets announced at CES this year. The Sony “life logging” kit seemed the most excessive of these gadgets that obsessively monitors everything you do in life. The app records stats such as how long you spend on the phone, how long you spend sending messages and other actions, while the wrist gadget provides the user with data about their movements and calories they’ve burnt. The excuse for doing in this is self-betterment, with Sony claiming that knowing what you do in a day can help you make informed decisions about changing your life. Other similar products offer calorie and movement counting, such as the Garmin Vivofit fitness band and a onsie to monitor your baby’s vitals, leaving us wondering if any sneaky bit of chocolate or quick shortcut will be left un-monitored.
Technology we’re not sure we needed
Along with all of the technological advancements, there are always gadgets that initially look cool, and then you find yourself wondering why exactly they have come to be. The first I noticed was the 3D food printer which left me in awe, and I instantly wanted to make chocolate in every shape possible. Then after I had thought about it for a while, I realised that it isn’t something that anyone really needs, and it will probably put a lot of TV chefs out of business.
Similarly the stun gun iPhone case promises safety wherever you go (apart from the UK, where you’re probably going to get arrested for owning one) and yet if the world has come to the point where you have to turn your smartphone into a weapon in order to feel safe, it’s probably not going to help you that much in the long run.
In summary, this year’s CES has proven that the world is moving into an age where everything is connected. Whether this will be to our convenience or our detriment, I’m sure we’ll soon find out.