I’ve been attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for years with my dad. It’s always an amazing showcase of technology that’s here today with a taste of what we can expect in the next 5+ years.

brad-and-spidermanAt CES 2017, some of the hottest trending technologies I saw were Amazon Alexa-enabled devices (TV’s, speakers, refrigerators) and skills (voice command capabilities), Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and home automation, Quantom Dot TV’s, Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality / Merged Reality, and robotics. Most of those are here and now, though Paul Tela from our team gave a great talk recently about 2017 Tech Trends to identify where these fall on the hype cycle.

As a software engineer, I was most interested in learning about what our team can build to make work and life easier and more automated, preferably with open-source API’s and SDK’s. Amazon offers a great developer platform for Alexa Voice Services that allows me as a developer to add “skills” to an Alexa-enabled device. It can sometimes be tough to imagine why you would need an always-listening voice assistant, but once you’ve found a few really useful skills, it’s hard to imagine going back.

Think of a couple things you have to look up regularly (weather, traffic, etc.), or tedious tasks you have to do often. Many of these tasks can be automated with a voice command and some IoT sensors for environmental feedback. Services like IFTTT enable non-developers to build
some very cool if-then/trigger-action functionality without writing code.

Map of Eureka ParkMost people think of CES as a place for the biggest multi-national companies to show us their TV’s, computers, phones, tablets, appliances, and spectrum of other gadgets. A lesser-known part of CES—where I actually spent most of my time this year—is Eureka Park, a hub of startup innovation from all over the world.

I found two Columbus companies exhibiting in Eureka Park this year: Switchflip and AMP by Oio. Many companies in Eureka Park were from France (36%, to be exact), many from The Netherlands, and a whole aisle of startups from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. My dad and I even had our picture taken in front of the Cleveland Cavs championship trophy!Local company OIO (from Powell) with their iPad speaker case "Amp"; Greg Davis (OIO) with Ryan McManus and Hoa-Lisa Pyles McManus (ContentVia)

The innovation in Eureka Park impressively goes beyond what I saw from the bigger companies at CES. Many of the products are currently only available for pre-order on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but they’ll be shipping this year if all goes well. It’s exciting to see what startups can do that big companies simply can’t because of their momentum and accountability to shareholders for safe, continuous growth. I’d much rather work with the startups!

I look forward to attending CES for many years to come so I can learn from the innovators and entrepreneurs at the show, and bring ideas back to Buckeye Interactive that we can share with clients. Our office always ends up getting outfitted with a few new gadgets after the show, as well.  

If you’re interested in what I saw that might be of interest to you at work or at home, please email me. I’d love to geek out and show you my 360 photos and video!


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