CES 2017 Unveiled Paris – what to expect from tech in 2017

Each year the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) runs its consumer technology trade show in Las Vegas known as CES.

CES 2017 will mark 50 years of CTA running the show, and not only has the huge exhibition changed but technology itself if almost unrecognisable – we know this from Computer Weekly’s 50th anniversary coverage.

The show will have more than 165,000 attendees from over 150 countries, and more than 3800 exhibitors showcasing their technology.

Gary Shapiro, CEO of CTA, has already been reported to have said the UK government has been unhelpful in supporting startups to attend the prestigious technology event.

Alongside this comes a host of product releases from smarthome tech, virtual reality and artificial intelligence spaces, marking the next steps in tech trends.

In 2016 CTA ran its pre-show event, CES Unveiled, in Paris where more than 60 innovative technology companies showcased their latest tech and gadgets.

As CES 2017 kicks off in Vegas, here are some of the trends we can expect to hear about from the show and over the year ahead…

A shifting user interface

Chief economist and director of research at CTA, Shawn DuBravac, claims human computer interaction is one of the biggest differences between the birth of computing and tech as it is now.

“The General User Interface (GUI) is starting to slip. We’ve already seen the UI drop from products.” DuBravac says, using fitness trackers as an example of how little user interface some products now have.

Labelling voice the new user interface, DuBravac explains Microsoft’s 1995 adventures in voice recognition, with an almost 100% word error rate.

Now most voice recognition technology has human parity, with Siri, Alexa and many other devices all understanding and replying to the spoken word.

DuBravac says: “In the last 36 months we have progressed further than in the first 30 years.”

Connected and intelligent tech

More of us are carrying connected devices that collect data we can then use for analysis, and many of these devices then feed into other systems to be used as data insight.

DuBravac says these systems are “driving us into the next frontier of tech” and giving us a better idea of what life could look like with intelligent data insight, connected homes and automation.

He says: “Increasingly these intelligent systems are connecting some very diverse objects. Sometimes it seems like technology is moving very slowly, and tech moves very slowly until it doesn’t.”

Transport, artificial intelligence, and digital experiences

This increase in connected technology and data is causing an impact on many other aspects of technology and daily life.

DuBravac called this the “physical manifestation of data” such as self-driving cars using data analytics in order to safely travel unaided.

He also predicted an increase in artificial intelligence both at work and in our homes, and further digitisation of the consumer experience as retailers increasingly invest in bridging the gap between online and offline.

Where devices have become more and more digital over the last 50 years – from CD Players, to iPods, to smartphones, DuBravac now expects experiences to become increasingly more digital.

DuBravac says: “There are tremendous things happening at CES, some companies will announce things that are set to change the way we perceive the world and change the way we perceive ourselves in the world.”

Increased innovation driven by consumers

Almost a quarter of the companies at CES this year exist three years ago.

The increase of connected devices mean people are more in control of their lifestyles and their choices as a result of the data they are collecting about their lives.

Smartphones and easily accessible software also means people are becoming avid creators of content to share on social channels – in the new day and age everyone is a content creator.

This also means consumers are more demanding – they are more aware of what they want and its easier for them to make it known.

Dan Pidgeon, chairman of the board at Starpower says: “The cycle of technology and getting it into the hands of the consumers is getting shorter and shorter every year.”