If there’s one event of the year that showcases the very best in class of the world’s tech, it’s the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. I was lucky enough to be there last week and get a sneak peek of the devices coming in the future – and let me tell you, the future is exciting!

At Vodafone, we’re always looking at how we can work with vendors to integrate our technology and provide the best experience with even more choice and freedom to our customers. Consumer IoT is going to become much more of a reality this year, and CES was an incredible opportunity to see what kind of devices are coming and prepare for the future. So, are you Ready?

Some of the biggest themes of this year’s event included self-driving cars, smartwatches, wall-sized TVs, smart objects and the world’s thinnest laptop. Here are the consumer tech trends that I’m anticipating will make the most impact in 2018…

Prepare for your home to get a whole lot smarter

Our world is getting even more connected, and some of the latest smart objects coming to market will blow your mind. Imagine a smart pillow that helps you sleep by simulating breathing, a smart toilet that you can flush with voice commands, and a kitchen that’s – wait for it – completely wireless.

We are moving to a future where the home is more streamlined, and voice assistant-enabled devices like the Google Home and Amazon Echo will be there at your every beck and call. We’re already seeing this trend internationally, and as these products become more popular and accessible in Australia, smart homes are likely to become the norm.

Your own personal chauffeur (your car)

Self-driving vehicles are quickly becoming close to reality with rapidly advancing technology in this area. Nissan unveiled ground breaking brain-to-vehicle technology that detects brain signals that will help predict a driver’s actions and detect discomfort.

Nissan car technology

Image credit: EFTM

Ride sharing companies like Lyft (in the US) showed off self-driving cars that had autonomous modes. While you can still expect a driver at the wheel for some years to come, they may not need to have their hands on the wheel, with automatic steering and braking technology.

 

World’s thinnest laptop

While it may seem that some devices (like smartphones) are getting bigger again, laptops are getting smaller (or at least, thinner). That’s what Acer’s new Swift 7 is achieving – at just 8.98mm thick, it’s the world’s thinnest laptop! While the original model won the same award last year, Acer has made the 2018 model an extra millimetre thinner, with a 15-inch screen. The device also offers 4G connectivity and a fingerprint scanner, so it has a lot going for it.

Robots are man’s new best friend

There were many robots showcased at CES that may soon be in our homes. The iPal Companion Robot by AvatarMind is designed to help educate and entertain children, or even the elderly. The robot can help monitor medication routines, and can run Android apps on the screen on its chest. It sings and dances, and communicates with people, so it provides an interactive way to entertain kids.

AvatarMind iPal robot

iPal robots. Image credit: EFTM

Meanwhile, Sony’s new Aibo is the latest technology in robotic dogs. Aibo can sit, lay down and high five like real-life dogs, and even develops its own personality over time with AI capabilities. It’s only available in Japan at this stage, and Sony hasn’t yet announced when it will be available in other countries, so watch this space.

The latest in smartphone tech

Last but not least, there were some exciting new developments in smartphone technology. A preproduction model of a Vivo device demonstrated the first ever in-screen fingerprint reader on a phone. The Huawei Mate 10 was also the star of the show, with the device recently launching in the US. Talk of wireless chargers got people buzzing, with new models introduced by Belkin and iOttie.

While there were few major smartphone announcements made at CES, we may get more intel at Mobile World Congress, coming in February. Stay tuned for more…

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Ben McIntosh

Chief Commercial Officer

Ben McIntosh,
Chief Commercial Officer

As Consumer Business Unit Director at Vodafone, Ben is one of Australia’s foremost telco thought leaders with a strong background in retail. Ben is deeply passionate about freedom and choice, and about challenging the status quo for our customers.

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