The 2016 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) was one for the books. This was my first CES and I already can't wait until next year! Having a first-hand sneak peek into the latest technology before it's even on the market was extremely rewarding, exciting, but also overwhelming at times. While wandering through the three massive exhibit floors, it was easy to get distracted by the bright flashing LED lights, booming upbeat frequencies, with each exhibitor having their own unique strategy to grab your attention, drawing you into their booth.
Walking around, from exhibit to exhibit, exploring all the up-and-coming technologies, I began choosing my favorites. I thought long and hard about what criteria I wanted to look for in each product or service. Here's my top three:
Affordability – How economical is it for consumers to obtain the product or service?
Market Impact – How new or innovative is the product or service?
Value Proposition – How well the product or service delivers what is promised?
For each product and service, I awarded "stars" in the affordability, market impact and value proposition categories using a 1-5 rating scale, with 5 stars (highest) and 1 star (lowest).
Digital Forming developed the ODO software to allow anyone to design and sell lifestyle products without having to know AutoCAD or even own a 3D printer.
This product deserves 5 stars because independent designers can simply download the LITE account for free. Professionals or small businesses can download the Pro account for approximately $650 per month.
Yes, 3D printers have been making exciting breakthroughs for the past few years, but the average consumer does not own one, nor are they familiar with AutoCAD to design the 3D model of their product. With ODO Software, imagine how successful the design industry could become. Designers would have the potential to design, customize, print and even sell any item they desire. I awarded ODO Software's market impact 4 stars because of the great potential for everyday consumers to adopt designing their own lifestyle products for themselves or even starting their own small business.
Value proposition also received 4 stars. ODO software is extremely user friendly and customizable. With the click of a button, you can conveniently enjoy your own customized household décor, personalize jewelry or any other lifestyle product that desire.
Fitbit featured their newest fitness smart watch, the Blaze.
The Blaze starts at $199.95, so I give it 4 stars in the affordability category. You can centralize music and follow work out plans on your wrist, without breaking the bank. When comparing the Blaze to other brands in the smartwatch market, it offers very similar features and specifications, but at a lower price.
Impact on the market receives 3 stars, as there are many fitness bands and smartwatches already on the market today.
Blaze provides significant benefits to consumers. The Blaze incorporates heart rate tracking, GPS and on-screen workouts, new running routes and you can automatically log workouts and receive summaries of each workout upon completion. In addition to replacing the old-fashioned handwritten clipboard we carried around to track our fitness progress, the Blaze also includes additional integration points with smartphones and displays incoming calls, texts and calendar alerts giving a healthy four stars of added value.
Groupe Tera introduced Breathe Up into the fitness and technology marketplace. Breathe Up is the first ever air monitoring and activity tracking application that can be sync'd to your phone. Featuring an in-home or mobile device that you carry wherever you go, the Breathe Up reads air pollutants and particles in the air to identify the cleanest air for you.
Although the pricing is currently unavailable, I still believe this application has great potential to gain market share, as consumers are increasingly becoming more health conscience.
Breathe Up can impact the market in a very positive way. With existing digital ecosystems, such as community air sensors and cloud trackers in place, Breathe Up provides custom recommendations to limit exposure to air pollutants. I awarded this product 4 stars for market impact because it is the first of its kind to integrate accurate sensors in existing digital ecosystems to help you breathe smarter
In addition to just sensing air pollutants, Breathe Up can read users physical activity, give users control over their most optimal time to train for fitness, alert users when to avoid traffic in high air polluted areas or simply when to crack a window for fresh air. As consumers push to live healthier, I give value proposition 4 stars, as users living in bigger cities with more air pollution and industrialized areas will benefit even more with this new technology.
Overall, CES 2016 was very informative and a great opportunity and experience to get a preview of the latest up-and-coming technologies. I urge every IT professional to attend and take full advantage of upcoming events and trade shows like CES. Finding where you fit in this growing industry is only the start of this ever evolving business. It was an excellent experience and I'm excited to attend more Consumer Electronic Shows in the future.