People from around the globe flock to Las Vegas every year to attend the highly anticipated Consumers Electronic Show (CES), where thousands of companies exhibit their latest tech products. Over 175,000 people attended this year’s convention, which wrapped up on January 8th. But, if you weren’t one of the lucky people who had the chance to attend this show, take a look at these five trends that made headlines:

Digital Assistants

Since Apple introduced Siri, the digital assistant market has drastically grown. Over the last several years, both Amazon and Google have released their own versions of the digital assistant, Alexa and Google Assistant, respectively. Both of these digital assistants used to live solely inside smart speakers, with Alexa built into the Amazon Echo and Google Assistant built into Google Home. But at CES 2017, consumers saw them incorporated into other products for the first time in what is sure to be one of the biggest tech trends of the year. Alexa will now be built-in to a number of different products, including a Lenovo speaker, various 4K TVs, and even a GE lamp. Now, consumers can ask their lamp to set an alarm or their TV to record their favorite show with just their voices and a little help from the Alexa digital assistant. Because Alexa is built into these products, consumers won’t need an Amazon Echo in order to speak to their new digital assistant.

But, Amazon is penetrating the market even further by partnering with other brands to make their products compatible with Amazon Echo. For example, if you have an Amazon Echo, you will be able to control your Samsung vacuum or Whirlpool appliances with Alexa.

Google is also integrating its digital assistant into products, but for now, the only announced partnership is with Android TV, so it looks as if Amazon is currently winning this battle.

Augmented Reality

Virtual reality was everywhere at CES 2016, and although it still had a strong presence in 2017, augmented reality was also a huge trend among exhibitors. What’s the difference between the two? Virtual reality involves the creation of a completely virtual world, whereas augmented reality blends together pieces of a virtual world with real life.

Asus introduced a new smartphone, the Zenfone AR, which will incorporate Google’s Tango, an augmented reality system. What can consumers do on an augmented reality smart phone? The President of Gap introduced an app that lets customers put clothes on virtual models so they don’t have to try them on to see how they look. Hotwheels also has an app where consumers can play with toy cars on a virtual table. There are only 30 Tango apps available right now, but this number is expected to grow as augmented reality takes off this year.

Smart Products

From smart lights to smart door locks, you may think you’ve seen everything there is to offer in the world of smart products, but the exhibitors proved everyone wrong. A major trend at this year’s event was the transformation of mundane items into smart, innovative products. For example, Kerastase introduced what is being called “the world’s first smart hairbrush” at this year’s event. The brush contains an accelerometer, gyroscope, and conductivity sensors, which will all be used to analyze how the user brushes her hair. There’s also a microphone that will pick up the hair’s sound waves to identify issues with frizz, dryness, breakage, and split ends. Customers can download the accompanying mobile app to see their “hair quality score” along with personalized tips to improve their brushing technique.

Griffin also introduced a line of smart kitchen products, including a coffee maker and toaster. The coffee maker connects with an app that allows users to customize their morning cup of coffee without ever stepping foot into the kitchen, while the toaster is smart enough to remember how crispy you like your breakfast toast.

If the products at CES 2017 are any indication, consumers can expect to use more smart products in their everyday lives.

Start-Ups

Headlines after the annual CES event are usually filled with household names such as Microsoft, Google, and Samsung, but this year, these big players weren’t the only ones who made a splash in the press. The Consumer Technology Association reports that three out of five exhibiting companies were not in existence three years ago. This statistic shows that the tech industry is still alive and booming. Competition drives innovation, especially in the tech world, so the more companies that enter into this industry, the better for consumers who are eager to see what they will come up with next.

Wearables

Wearable technology is nothing new—in fact, last year Forbes estimated this industry would grow to be worth $34 billion by 2020. Although smart watches and fitness trackers did start to gain traction, they didn’t catch fire as quickly as industry experts had predicted. So, why were wearables back in the spotlight at CES 2017? Brands proved they were listening to consumers by introducing new wearables designed to meet customers’ needs.

Consumers have not been thrilled with the athletic-inspired look of fitness trackers and smart watches, which is why so many companies have introduced fashionable accessories designed to camouflage various trackers. However, this year at CES, Fossil went one step further by introducing a line of smart watches designed to look like regular watches. The watches pair with a smart phone app to track users’ activity and sleep, while also allowing them to receive notifications about new emails, texts, and phone calls through the watch. The best part? This smart watch doesn’t need to be charged, so consumers have one less device to remember to plug in. Another brand, Matrix, must have also become wise to consumers’ frustration with charging multiple devices. This year, they brought their PowerWatch to CES, an innovative smart watch that never needs charging because it is powered solely from your body heat.

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate some of these new tech trends into your next experiential marketing event, or if you want to create as much buzz as CES every year, contact us today.

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