From CES 2015 – Disruptive Technologies over next five years

This year’s CES expects to have 160,000 attendees and tonight’s keynote by the CEO of Samsung Mr. BK Yoon was “unlocking infinite possibilities of IoT”. The Internet of Things seems to be the overall theme this year.

Today I listened to an interesting panel on disruptive technologies over next five years. Here is a brief summary.

  1. 3D Printing: This year expects to see 300,000 desktop 3D printers in the US. Mainstream consumer adoption is doubtful. Someone jokingly said that you can build a statue of yourself and install it in your yard. Another term for 3D printing is additive manufacturing. Most likely it will be adopted by small industries providing repair service (by building plastic parts for a washing machine, for example). Many such 3-D printing devices are on display.
  2. Wearables: This is a diverse market of connecting the unconnected ($2B market). Healthcare seems to lead the usage via the health and fitness wearables, such as the Apple Watch. There are two values – quantified self (with context) and notification bits (of relevance). This technology will be quite disruptive over next five years. Apple explained what an wearable can be in their announcement last year. If they can galvanize the developer community, then huge value will be realized. Just like many PC functions got migrated to the smartphone, we will see similar migration of smartphone stuff to the wearable (e.g. notification, alerts, short messages,..).
  3. Drones: This is similar to 3D printing, with questionable mass adoption. Maybe over next ten years, serious adoption will take place. Immediate application may be video photography and surveillance. There are many regulatory and policy hurdles before drones can be mainstream.
  4. Self-driving cars: Here engineering is way ahead of the policy curve. While full adoption may not happen in the near future, semi-autonomous systems can be of help – such as self parking, and adaptive cruise control, tasks that can be turned over to the car. The panel felt that next five years will be the “preparation phase” and adoption will come in ten years.

Other technologies covered were: the huge growth in Internet users from 2B now to the over 5B. This will bring new cultural, political and economic ramifications. Smartphones will continue to be disruptive with newer and newer usage across the world impacting our daily lives. Robotics, specially home robots doing several tasks will become relevant.

The big question was on the ownership of data created by all these devices. This year’s CES has a bigger presence of automobile companies and both BMW and Mercedes Benz executives appeared in keynotes. The connected home and the connected car have bigger presence.

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