CES 2015: the lead-up to the Mobile World Congress brings us more smart wearables, cars and homes

Image | John Biehler

With the new year underway and the GSMA Mobile Congress just around the corner, great expectations surround all the new technological developments that may be useful in daily life. Will we be able to communicate with our washing machines? Will there be intelligent bracelets that monitor all our bodily functions? Will we be able to take a nap at the wheel while our car takes us to our destination? The technological innovations presented at the Congress, the largest dedicated to the world of mobile technologies, will be full of surprises.

For the time being, to whet appetites, we can analyze some of the new developments presented at another of the year’s major technological events: the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show 2015. From 6 – 9 January, Las Vegas became, for yet another year, a showcase for the latest trends, services and products related to consumer electronics. 3,600 exhibitors rolled out their new products across the “sin city” convention center’s over 2 million m2 of space. Smart Houses, ** the Internet of Things**, wearables, drones and smart cars were clearly the star attractions in the showroom.

Smart houses: soon to be a reality?

For years now the CES has been presenting inventions aimed at allowing users to control all the electronic devices in their homes using smartphones or tablets, and the 2015 edition was no exception. From washing machines and dryers to coffee machines, smart doorbells and locks: will this be the year when the trend takes hold, finally becoming a reality?

This is certainly the hope of those behind inventions like the iDevices Switch, the first plug compatible with Apple’s HomeKit technology. By connecting this device to the electrical grid, and with a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, and an iPhone or iPad with iOS 8, any device featuring this technology may be monitored.

And since smart houses mean smart gardens, the CES also has included products for plant maintenance, like the Edyn and Parrot H20 smart sensors. Going on a trip? You’ll no longer have to ask your neighbor to come and water the plants; with these smart sensors you’ll be able to water them using your smartphone.

Wearables: smaller, more efficient, and even luxury options

As we wait for Apple to launch its Apple Watch in 2015, the CES has been able to confirm the potential of a whole new generation of wearables: more advanced designs and technologies for a set of devices featuring more and more functions.
News worthy of note includes the smartwatch created by an alliance between Misfit and the Austrian company Swarovski: the Misfit Swarovski Shine, a luxury wearable that is recharged using solar light. Monitoring one’s vital signs, sleep and physical activity will no longer be at odds with elegance.

Meanwhile, wearables designed to monitor physical activities and health problems continue to be hot. New products related to these types of devices include Digitsole insoles, that, through a smartphone, monitor one’s physical performance, calculate calories burned, and warm one’s feet; the iHealth Align mobile glucometer; and FreeWavz earphones, totally wireless and that, in addition to gauging users’ physical performance, monitor their pulse too.

The smart car

Assistance with parking and to avoid collisions, emergency stops, and much more are the solutions presented pertaining to the automotive sector. Ford, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen shared technological innovations that users may be able to enjoy in the future. The CES presentations given demonstrated that communication between a vehicle’s positioning system and the driver’s smartphone is already almost a reality. Thus, it is only a question of waiting for a major corporation to dare to market this innovative technology for the general public.

The boom in drones and the implementation of virtual reality, thanks to Oculus Rift, were other notable trends spotlighted at CES 2015. Quadcopters and hexacopters with cameras, infrared technology and even movement sensors flooded the event showroom, including, for example, the presentation of the new Hexo+ drone, which follows you wherever you go.

CES 2015 closed its doors after posting record attendance numbers and displaying a long list of interesting new products that we hope to see on the market very soon. Now it is time to rest and prepare for the year’s premier mobile technology event: the GSMA Mobile Congress, from 2 – 5 March.