On January 27th 2016, members of the Open Innovation Club convened in San Francisco to discuss what they saw and took away from the 2016 Consumer Electronic Show. Eliane Fiolet, co-founder and editor of Ubergizmo led the conversation with a thorough presentation, compiled thanks to her energetic research, demo testing and press conference attendance during the Show itself.

The Consumer Electronic Show used to truly be a consumer show. Over the past three years, with the rise of IoT and wearables, it has changed. CES is now one of the biggest innovation and technology shows in the world

CES has become one of the largest innovation and technology shows in the world and testament of Open Innovation activities between large corporations and startups. Engie for example, the French utility, or La Poste, the French postal service, both had a large booth and were accompanied by a number of startups they partner with. CES really is an opportunity for companies to meet with potential partners, identify innovative companies and be noticed. As confirmed by Paul Campbell, VP Innovation at Schneider Electric, this is why Schneider will quadruple its presence at CES next year.

Despite all the technological advancements and impressive products and applications presented at CES, the real nut to crack for companies is how will this be interesting for consumers and bring value to them in their daily lives, what are the new emerging business models and underlying services that can be provided. The difference between CES and other trade or technology shows is that everything is geared towards the user and behavior-centric.

Connected Cars, an extension of the home

Mercedes Benz luxury in Motion CES 2016Car technology is a rising star at CES. Once again, the focus is around user experience and consumer interaction with the car, instead of car engineering, traditionally presented at auto shows.

One of the most anticipated announcements was the Faraday Future FFZERO1. To everyone’s surprise, Apple was not behind this car but the Chinese cable provider LeTV. Some other exciting announcements:

  • Chevrolet, revealed its Chevy Bolt, an affordable electric vehicle, with 200 mile range, and a challenger to Tesla at $30k
  • Audi Quattro d-tron SUV, with 300 mile range at $60k
  • VW minibus BUDD-e, the modern version of the VW 70s van, with its 17 inch display screen and advanced Human Machine Interface
  • BMW with big screens, gesture control with natural speech and full autonomy

Connected car demo CES 2016

Autonomous driving is indeed becoming more mature. Ford for example will be doubling its fleet of self-driving cars and upgrading its LIDAR sensor. Smart vision with artificial intelligence is an indispensable technology to enable autonomous driving. Mobileye is clearly the leader in this space.

Other key technologies enabling interaction with the car stood out: hand gesture, natural speech control, and personal recognition (using pupil recognition for example). All these new technologies require important computing power. Nvidia has announced a supercomputer for autonomous cars at the Show, but at about $300,000, the technology seems still too expensive for now.

Technology is enabling the emergence of new business models such as the ability to share cars leading to mobility as a service instead of individual car ownership.

Most importantly is the seamless integration between connected cars and smart homes. The smart car can now be seen as an extension of the home and phone. Ford announced a partnership with Amazon, BMW demoed how they are integrating the home and the car.

Read Part 2 of this article, focusing on smart home.