So CES 2016 has come and gone for another year. The great gathering of vendors, hawkers and purveyors of technology that descend on Sin City have packed up their wares and moved on. So what have we learned this year? Car technology is big news, all of the major car vendors are now exhibiting forms of autonomous driving and more and more digital integration into their vehicles.
This ranged from Mercedes demonstrating driverless technology on the road (watch Robert Scoble take a ride here)to Chevy showcasing the Bolt a 200 mile range mini, to the pomp and circumstance of the Faraday Future electric vehicle launch.
This itself was the epitomy of CES, lots of buzz around the ‘Tesla killer’ followed by a purely concept vehicle on display that looked like an early prototype of a Tim Burton Batmobile. The innovation and scale required to manufacture and new all electric drive train and truly modular chassis system is incredibly difficult and it will be interesting to watch this battlefield evolve.
This was also truly the CES where VR was ‘almost’ consumer ready, HTC Vive have announced their ‘pre’ kit, which is not a consumer set…..yet but the nearest iteration before launch. Palmer Luckey and the Oculus gang announced (to universal howling) the $600 pricing for the Oculus rift consumer kit. Which then promptly sold out on preorder….The pricing of the HMD alongside the minimum spec PC required to really use it looks to be along the lines of $1500-$1600. This is in no way yet a commodity item, but if you look at the timescales to evolve from a duct taped ski mask to the polished VR headset you can now buy it really is astonishing. Oculus are partnering with Nvidia to launch a range of badged ‘Oculus Ready’ pc’s which should speed adoption and uptake.
This CES also showcased a plethora of tiny display screens. To me this means that Augmented Reality (AR) is on its way as well. A number of vendors have been showcasing vertical use cases for AR headsets, as well as the expected moves into the consumer space, i.e. the BMW AR motorbike helmet. These developments highlight to me that both immersion into and augmentation of our everyday lives is accelerating. We are living in exciting times.
(image courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk)