Next week marks the beginning of one of the world’s biggest tech stages, the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Set in Las Vegas, CES has drawn brands showcasing the most innovative technologies for over 40 years, and this year will continue the momentum with more than 3,200 exhibitors scheduled to participate and over 900 tech experts weighing in on where the industry is headed.
The breakout technologies of CES many times inform the year’s most prominent tech trends and, with that in mind, we’ve pulled together our top predictions for this year’s show, below.
It seems like “wearables” has been the buzzword of 2013 – and for good reason. With shrinking screen sizes and an increasing expectation for our devices to communicate to one another, it feels as if the needs of the user interface are shifting from static to dynamic – making mobile technology live up to its nomenclature. Just this past year Samsung launched one of the first examples of voice-enabled wearable tech as part of its new GALAXY line of products and its expanded offering of S-Voice powered devices, including the Samsung GALAXY Gear which features Nuance’s voice technology.
The outlook for wearables is certainly promising with Strategy Analytics projecting that 75 million wearable devices will be sold worldwide by 2017. In order for this trend to continue prospering, we feel that devices will need intelligent systems coupled with the right user interface to cater to the more human, more natural interaction we all crave with technology today. Stay tuned at the show for more from Nuance on this exciting frontier.
2. Home automation
Home automation has experienced a slow build in the past couple of years. Shifting from novelty to pragmatic resolution, it is a trend that’s been on the horizon for a while. That said, we predict home automation to be one of the biggest endeavors of 2014 across the industry. You can expect to see everything from voice-enabled TVs and smart kitchen appliances to automated lighting control networks and even security systems far-surpassing the typical four-digit verification code.
Whether it’s voice, touch, mobile apps or all of the above, the home of the future will allow you to control various aspects of your living environment in a whole new way.
3. Voice biometrics
Voice biometrics is already in use by many of the world’s largest financial and telecommunications organizations globally as well as within mobile virtual assistant applications powered by Nuance’s Nina to provide consumers with convenient and secure access to content and information. This technology has the ability to bring a new level of convenience to customer and consumer experiences.
For example, in 2013 voice biometrics has become the way many leading financial service providers such as Barclays have chosen to authenticate customers in order to lessen security concerns and provide customers with an easier, faster and more human-like experience. At CES we see voice biometrics and other biometric authentication technologies beginning to further permeate the consumer electronics sphere, yielding new levels of personalization and ease-of-use for technologies, particularly amongst those used by multiple members of the family to seamlessly distinguish the user and recall their specific preferences.
4. Personal assistants
Personal assistant technologies have transformed over recent months from those with the ability to perform operations based off of simple voice commands to those responding to natural interactions through voice, touch and gesture. Nuance’s Dragon Mobile Assistant is a good example of this future state, in that the app leverages natural language understanding technology and context-aware features such as proactive handsfree messaging to create a more human-like interaction. You can even personalize your assistant with the ability to choose between several voices to fit your unique preferences and use the predictive text input keyboard Swype to fit your texting style.
The reality is that personal assistants come in all shapes and sizes – from sleek mobile apps to dancing robots – but no matter what the desire for more savvy personal assistants is there. Expect to see personal assistant technologies inherent in essentially all tech devices moving forward, like in wearables.
5. Ambient intelligence
Similar to the evolution of the personal assistant, the proliferation of ambient intelligence is getting us closer and closer to bridging the gap between rigid technologies that we have to help understand us and advanced, human-like technologies that adapt with us in a world of mutual understanding.
Technologies will and are already beginning to recognize the variable environments we encounter, using various forms of contextual awareness (location-based data represents this in the simplest form) and then processing that information into helpful and unobtrusive interactions.
This very topic has been extensively explored in the blockbuster film Her, now out in theaters, and you should keep your eyes open for this on the CES floor.
Stay tuned for updates on the hottest trends of CES 2014 and follow us on Twitter to see what we’re up to all week. And if you’re attending this year’s show, visit us at the Hard Rock Hotel demo villages.