Monday, 12 January 2015

2015 CES overview

We attended the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas. What goes on in Vegas usually stays in Vegas but around CES some information does get out. A few products lived up to their hype while others might take a little longer to catch on. Our key takeaways are below.
  • Virtual reality (VR) the Oculus Rift lived up to the hype.

My first VR experience started off with a Samsung Marvel collaboration it was good but not great. It didn't really convince me that VR was the next big thing (their slogan out at Samsung). However the experience at Oculus Rift was at another level. The demand to see the demo was high I was lucky to wait only an hour and a half for what turned out to be a 6 minute experience. They demonstrated their newest VR version Crescent Bay. It converted me into a VR believer. The demo was made up of ten different scenarios. Ranging from meeting friendly aliens to a T-Rex dinosaur which managed to scare me not once but twice and a battlefield. You know it is not real but the effects were real enough to have a physical reaction or response to something that was happening to you.

Their technology is still in the early stages. Oculus have not released a date for the consumer version but are selling developer kits to help ensure there is good content for users. So far they have included  eyes and ear in the virtual world and are currently working on incorporating your hands and feet. Apparently your hands and legs are the first things we all look for when we put on the headset. I know I did. The last demo was the most amazing you are placed into a slow motion firefight its like something out of the matrix. You would find yourself ducking and weaving through explosions in a battleground including an exploding car which sails above you. You know its not real but you just had to duck. It was well worth the experience and got my adrenalin going for the final day of CES.

Gaming is likely to be the first big VR use but there will be many other uses. It will be amazing to see what will be created for the platform as unlike other digital experience you have a physical response to events. The effects are already real with just the eyes and ear if they can get motion (legs and hands) as well as the inner ear it will be scary how real everything will seem. To get a better idea of the experience you can see IGN's Youtube review below.

  • 4K (3D TV without those glasses) will give us a good reason to finally upgrade our TV's

4K TV is fantastic. A number of versions could be seen around the show. The depth and quality of the screens were generally amazing. An ultra 4K HD TV has 4 times the number of pixels compared to normal HD quality TVs. Without the requirement of 3D glasses and more reasonable prices it seems like we finally have an excuse to upgrade our TVs.

  • Drones are cool but regulation will make adoption will be difficult

There were some great drone demos (see below) but there are plenty of implementation issues. You know there are problems when an innovative conference like CES cannot let drones fly around the complex. Real word problems like insurance and what happens when a drone falls on someone kept the drones in cages. Also while it is in flux currently a pilots license is needed to commercially use drones. No one can be sure how it will end up but the Federal Aviation Authority's argument is that they need to know air traffic rules and the best way to prove that is to have a pilots license.

  • 3D printing capability is increasing but its still too expensive for your average household

3D printing has now evolved to the stage where you can have your own personal vending machine. A collaboration between Hershey and 3D systems showed off their chocolate making system. No prices yet but the chocolate cube took around 15 minutes to make. It made watching a boiling kettle seem fast! XYZPrinting also showed off a food printer making pizza. Its set for a release date of late 2015 but it will be around $2,000. You could try out the pizza but unfortunately not the chocolate. Thankfully for the waistline they are still too expensive for the average consumer. Can't wait to see what they cook up next year.


Disclosure: Decisive has no positions in any companies mentioned.

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