CES 2015: The year of connected devices, from clothes to cars

This article was first published on Techworld on 12 January 2015 and the full article can be found online here.

Technology Lawyer Jenny Hotchin finds that connectivity, driverless technology and sports and fitness wearables are the buzz trends at this year's CES.

Over 3,600 exhibitors have launched over 20,000 new products at the CES this week. I have been looking at the new offerings and technologies to determine the big consumer trends for 2015.

Connectivity and the internet of things

This year everything at CES is about connectivity. The phrase "internet of things" has been replaced with the phrase "internet of everything". President and CEO of Samsung Electronics, Boo-Keun Yoon, claims the "The IoT has the potential to transform our society, economy and how we live our lives". I tend to agree.

A colleague was telling me yesterday how, when he pulls into his drive at home, he now receives a message from the kettle asking if he wants a cup of tea. At CES we have seen hundreds of IoT devices. Here are just a few:

Parrot released two smart flower pot devices that will irrigate plant pots with exactly the right amount of water.

Belty belt which automatically loosens and tightens depending on whether you are sitting or standing. It will learn your preferences and tell you when you are putting on weight.

Kolibree connected electric toothbrush uses vibrating technology to increase brushing efficiency. It also depicts games to teach children to brush correctly. You can even elect to send the data to your dentist in anticipation of your next check-up.

Pixies Scientific exhibited their smart nappy which helps parents track their child's health by completing diagnostics triggered by QR codes.

SmartMat analyses your yoga stance.

Kwikset's Kebo smart lock unlocks your front door whilst your phone is still in your pocket!

Amazingly the IoT market it still in its infancy and will continue to exponentially grow in 2015 as product developers connect sensors to every device possible. It is therefore not surprising that IDC predicts that the IoT market will reach $3.04 trillion with 30 billion connected "things" by 2020.

Cars and driverless technology

As the connection between consumer electronics and the automotive industry is strengthening, connectivity in our lives will soon extend to our cars. This year at CES we have seen a record number of products released by automakers and automotive suppliers. Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, points out that in the near future "there will be more computing power inside your car than in any device you have today".

Consumers are shifting focus when making car purchasing decisions. Accenture found that in-vehicle technology was the top selling point for 39 percent of potential buyers. Only 14 percent put horsepower and handling at the top of their list.

Ford's CEO, Mark Field, used his keynote presentation to announce Smart Mobility. A road map by which Ford aims to drive innovation and tackle the problems of congestion caused by urbanisation using connected cars.

Such connectivity has not been without raised eyebrows. Jim Farley, global marketing and sales VP of Ford highlighted "we know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone."

Wearables - sport and fitness wearables

Wearables were definitely the central attraction at CES 2014. This year, whilst still prominent (loads of fitness bracelets and touch screen watches), the focus was very much on sports and fitness wearables. Devices that can monitor your vitals either during exercise or at rest and report back on training progress or even directly to your GP.

Devices range from smart insoles which discretely tuck into your shoe to track your steps to a Swarovski crystal encrusted fitness and sleep tracker. However, for 2015 I predict wearables will go a little quiet whilst product developers are busy working on second generation iterations.

To conclude 2015 is going to be all about connectivity - inside our homes, into our vehicles and wrapped up in our clothes!

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