The annual Consumer Electronics Show or CES in Las Vegas is traditionally the place where the electronics giants have unveiled the latest consumer technology innovations for the coming year. It’s the place where you can get a glimpse into our digital future – at least for the next 12 months.
Since its launch in 1967, CES has been the platform where some of our best-known technology gadgets were announced ranging from the video cassette recorder, to CD players, camcorders, and the Microsoft XBox.
Although many large technology companies such as Apple and Google now prefer to run their own launch events, consumer tech giants like Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic continue to unveil TVs, home appliances and smartphones here every year.
But aside from this, several smaller companies vie for attention in emerging categories such as wearables, the connected home, the internet of things, 3D printing and smart cars.
In fact, in 2016 there will be a 33 per cent increase in the number of startups exhibiting their inventions at CES.
Here’s everything you need to know about CES 2016 so far.
When and where is it?
CES 2016 will run officially from Wednesday January 6 to Saturday January 9 in Las Vegas, United States.
However, the trends, innovations and displays at the event are previewed from Monday 4 January, with a large networking event called CES Unveiled.
Companies can present their newest products to about 1200 media from around the world, and other attendees.
How much does it cost?
An All-Access Pass currently costs $1400 (£925). If you’re interested in more specific topics, you could get a Content and Advertising Pass for $850 or a $600 CE pass, which is recommended for first-time attendees to get a flavour of the event.
You can also purchase tickets to individual conference “tracks” or topics for $200 each, such as Automotive Technology, Lifestyle Technology or Wireless and Mobile Technology.
What were the big technology trends for 2015?
The connected home was one of the dominant themes of CES 2015.
Samsung said all of its products – from TVs and smartphones to fridges and washing machines – would be connected to the internet by 2020.
Other highlights included the WiFi-enabled coffee machine from British company Smarter (creator of the iKettle), that lets you to make a cup of freshly ground coffee from your bed, and the Sengled Snap smart lamp, which has an integrated IP camera, speaker and microphone for detecting intruders.
Photo: Nest / Smarter / Netatmo
Another focus was smart cars – internet-connected automobiles that use sensors to improve the driving experience. BMW launched a smartwatch-controlled i3, as did Audi and LG with the introduction of a watch that talks to your car.
From high-end smartwatches from the likes of GUESS and Casio to fitness monitors from Polar and Mio, and low-cost wristbands from Alcatel OneTouch and HTC, wearables was another big trend for 2015.
What trends are we expecting at CES 2016?
According to Shawn DuBravac, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Consumer Technology Association (which runs CES), one of the big themes at 2016’s show will be ambient sensors, or gadgets connecting our daily lives to the internet – ranging from baby monitors like the Mimo, to the wearable environment/pollution tracker Tzoa.
The second trend he calls “aggregated learning” – in other words artificially intelligent objects such as Google’s self-driving cars, which collect data and use it to learn from preivous mistakes.
The third trend is predictive customisation – using machine learning to understand your preferences and make new recommendations.
Examples include the Google-owned Nest Learning thermostat which learns your ambient environment preferences – such as what temperature you like to come home to.
Other huge themes will include virtual reality – headsets from Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Sony, HTC and Samsung will all be launching in the first quarter of 2016 – as well as 3D printing and health and fitness devices.