Last week I had my annual 26 mile walk around CES Tech West, East, and South. It was a great workout. This year again I walked around with the 12 year long CES veteran Bobby Lo — he started CES before when he was allowed to gamble ... :-)
Where are consumer electronics going?
Distributed manufacturing is hot. 3D printing of metal is getting better. There are small waterjet cutters, small laser printer machines, and small PCB printers. To connect them all, we have fictiv.com (portfolio company) helping startups prototype quickly, without spending any money buying machines.
Cars have always been huge at CES. This year we finally got flying cars and car platforms. The problem for me in cars has always been that consumers don’t buy a new car every 12–18 months (like they do for smartphones) and this becomes a checkpoint on how quickly innovations can come to market.
We saw new solutions that we could potentially add after-market. The trend started a few years back withgetting data out of our cars, but this year we’re seeing some intelligent lane / collision warning systems andgesture controls.
IoT is becoming more about action and automation.
Speaking of hoverboards, last year we had a huge number of Chinese smartwatch makers. This year they are replaced by hoverboard suppliers and Coolest Cooler copycats.
The marketing and branding of the Chinese booths have also noticeably gotten better. I saw more foot traffic in the Chinese booths than the German booths, which admittedly is not a high bar. For now, US and French exhibitors still attract more traffic.