With the annual consumer technology show, CES 2017, taking place in Las Vegas this month, innovative tech seems to have been on show to address almost every major industry, from automotive, sports and fitness, to healthcare and entertainment.
Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf introduced the 5G future in a keynote speech, talking about a new kind of network with unprecedented scale, speed and complexity. He also introduced the Snapdragon 835, claiming to be the first 10 nanometer mobile processor that can deliver extended battery life, built-in security, eye-based authentication, secure audio, on-device machine learning and immersive experiences.
Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank said the company is innovating by putting technology front and center, investing $1 billion in health and fitness tech. He unveiled three new models of the company’s shoes, which give performance feedback based on workouts. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time, joined Plank onstage to demo the shoes and talk about UA Healthbox, powered by UA Record, the company’s connected fitness system. The CEO also unveiled a new line of sleep apparel, dubbed Rest Win Repeat, in collaboration with Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady, designed to rebuild the body while it rests through infrared technology.
Ford president and CEO Mark Fields shared the company’s vision for how the future of mobility will be transformed by connectivity. “Imagine what could happen when the way you get around looks completely different. Cities will change. The way we work and play and socialize will transform. And it will all be enabled by connectivity,” said Fields. He announced that Ford Sync is expanding to deliver cloud-based services and that soon all Ford vehicles will be controlled remotely with the FordPass app. He also recapped Ford’s recent partnership with Toyota to form the SmartDeviceLink Consortium to establish industry-driven standards for in-vehicle apps.
The conference also focused on technology trends and policy issues.
Panelists on the ‘Powering the Sharing Economy to Transform Lives’ session discussed the potential of the sharing economy to democratize transportation and make travel an enjoyment, not a burden. Annabel Chang, director of public policy, Lyft, explained that among her company’s customer base, “Most people do not live within a quarter mile of a transit stop. A significant percentage of our riders take Lyft to a transportation hub, then take public transportation on their final leg.”
In the ‘Self-Driving Cars: New Rules of the Road’ session, executives from Blackberry, Intel and Mobileye discussed how a collaborative approach between automakers, hardware and software developers is driving the rapid pace of self-driving innovations. The panelists agreed that in order to reach the expected goal of having self-driving cars on the road by 2020, the industry needs to fully solve the convergence of IoT and artificial intelligence.
The ‘Opportunities for the Global Innovation Economy’ session examined with CEOs from Flex, Ford and Intel how consumer technology companies are leveraging their power to build global brands and advance innovation in a rapidly changing world. The panelists – Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company; Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel Corp and Mike McNamara, CEO, Flex – discussed how globalization and digitalization have been the two great trends in innovation over the last 50 years and what we can expect moving forward.
Otto Bell, vice president and group creative director of Courageous, Turner’s first-ever brand studio, announced the beginning of the ‘post-text era’ where images and video do all the talking. Courageous is developing new ways to utilize technology to reach viewers, from 360 cameras to VR.
Andrew Bosworth, VP of ads & business platforms, Facebook, and Sony’s Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing & distribution discussed how mobile and social media platforms are shaping Sony’s marketing campaigns to reach targeted audiences.
Executive producer of BBC Earth Productions, Charlotte Jones, provided a deep dive into the opportunities of storytelling through VR and AR. Collaborating with Oculus VR, BBC Earth Productions is creating interactive movies and games to be experienced by consumers using Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR.
Technology spans all industries including sports. Big names from professional sports leagues and partners took a deep-dive into the future of sports tech, including: how to extend the fan experience, what the future of arena technology looks like and how virtual and augmented reality can become part of the experience, generational differences in content consumption and viewing patterns, and how data analytics effect personnel management and player performance.
On innovation, panelists at the ‘Trolls and Tech: How to Fix Patents’ session discussed the harm and damage patent trolls can do to businesses, as well as how US Congress can find a reasonable solution for patent reform. US Patent and Trade Office director Michelle Lee highlighted the agency’s recent efforts, reform and projects to combat the problem. US Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) added how patent trolls can devastate small companies.
In the ‘New President, New Congress? What’s Next’ panel, there was bipartisan agreement about many policies needed to promote innovation and support technological leadership, including high skilled immigration reform, endorsing strong encryption, flexibility for emerging sharing economy business models and making more spectrum available for commercial and public use. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) emphasized that high skilled immigration reform would be one of his priorities, saying, “We need to make sure the companies who want to expand get the resources they need, including talent.”
[Photo credit: Ford at CES 2017, with its automotive tech]