The holiday season may have whetted your appetite for new consumer electronics, gadgets, and services, but starting next week that could be nothing more than a palette cleanser. The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show is about to kick off, which means we get our first look at the latest and greatest technology from our favorite device manufacturers, application developers, and service providers, as well as a preview of the upcoming gadgets and gear that will top next season’s holiday wish lists.
So, what exactly are we anticipating this year? Here are our top five tech predictions for CES 2015.
Connected consumer health apps and wearable devices
An estimated 69% of American adults today track areas of their health – weight, diet, exercise habits, symptoms, etc. – and 21% are using digital tools like wearable devices to do it. The likes of FitBit, Jawbone, Garmin and others have already established a steady footing in this space, with larger companies like Samsung also in on the action with its collection of Gear smart watches. Over time, devices will continue to expand in functionality and capability, providing consumers with even more detailed health metrics. Also evolving are methods for interacting with these devices. The introduction of voice and natural language, for example, presents a compelling and simple method of inputting and retrieving health data – better allowing consumers to pursue and achieve their personal health and wellness goals. But as my colleague Dr. Nick van Terheyden recently articulated, “studies show that tracking alone does not always lead to persistent behavior change.” There is an opportunity for new devices to not only monitor but to proactively engage with consumers, giving them that extra nudge to get up move for another 20 minutes to reach their daily recommended exercise, or a verbal alert to up their vitamin K intake to meet their doctor’s prescribed treatment regimen. What we’ve seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Internet of Things and the connected home
The promise of more connected or “smart” devices made our list of anticipated technologies at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and, sure enough, 2014 did not disappoint. More devices – thermostats, watches, and many others – were equipped with greater connectivity and cloud-based capabilities, solidifying the shift toward a fully connected lifestyle. Business Insider suggests that we could see the currently estimated figure of 1.9 billion connected devices vault to 9 billion by 2018. This year’s CES should give us a glimpse at some of the new devices that will join this movement – a “smart” fridge, anyone?
The connected car
Drivers have made it clear – the connected lifestyle that they are used to outside of the car needs to extend to the driver’s seat. Automakers are now equipping their infotainment systems with connected content and services that give drivers access to the information and resources that are most impactful to the driving experience. CES will give us a first look at some of the newest infotainment systems – like the SYNC 3 system from Ford, featuring voice technology from Nuance – which will remain hot topics throughout 2015. More players are entering the automotive space with the intent of controlling the infotainment experience, which encourages automakers to turn to companies like Nuance that provide content, voice and natural language, and connectivity solutions that allow the car companies to maintain their own branded experiences and competitive differentiation. What else might we see on the automotive front? Perhaps we’ll get an extended look at driverless cars, as well as cars that closely integrate other mobile devices, like smart watches.
A redefined television experience
Your television isn’t the rabbit-eared box of years past. In addition to a near limitless content library, TVs now offer 4k resolutions, curved screens, and more sophisticated – yet simpler – interaction methods. In particular, there was a noticeable uptick in people leveraging voice to interact with their TVs in 2014, and we anticipate this trend to blossom further in 2015. According to data from our Nuance Cloud, in 2014, the increase in users leveraging voice to access content on their TVs was greater than 200%, resulting in 300% more voice transactions (i.e. “Find me dramas with Matthew McConaughey”) compared to 2013. Complementing this surge was the implementation of related technologies like voice biometrics. Panasonic, for example, is leveraging Nuance’s voice biometrics to deliver a more personalized television experience to various members of a household using the same TV. This year’s CES could give us a first look at the new technologies and capabilities that will continue to evolve how we engage with our TVs.
Voice continues to simplify the user interface
You will undoubtedly hear this at our Nuance suites, but expect it to resonate all the way to the show floor: The Internet of Things, as alluded to above, is imminent, but what isn’t quite as guaranteed is a standard for interacting with this new lineup of devices. A smart fridge? Awesome! A connected toaster? Cool! But, wait, doesn’t that also mean new menus to master and screens to scroll through? It shouldn’t. Voice has the potential to emerge as the common user interface among all of these connected devices, which would lessen the need for us to adjust to a whole new set of menus, buttons, and screens. Rather than tapping through multiple levels of a menu on your connected thermostat, you should just be able to say, ‘Change the temperature to 75 degrees,’ and have the action completed. It really is that simple. We saw 14 billion voice transactions hit the Nuance Cloud in 2014, and this year’s CES will give us a look at the next wave of devices that will result in that number growing even higher in 2015.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more news, insights, and analysis from CES. If you’re attending the event, drop by the Wynn to see demos of the latest Nuance innovations in person.