Drones, VR, Alexa and EVs – NPI Services, Inc. Takeaways from CES 2017

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has been on my bucket list for a long time and this year I finally crossed it off my list. My first CES experience left me energized and excited to be working in the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry. NPI Services’s day-to-day focus on prototype development and New Product Introduction (NPI) makes it easy to lose sight of the end products we are helping bring to market. Getting products to market as fast as possible often makes me think of each product as a widget. NPI project managers get wrapped up in trying to shave off days of the schedule during the PCB layout phase or by expediting the longest lead components from the Bill of Materials (BOM) rather than thinking about the actual end product.

Attending CES allowed me to look at all of the exciting new technologies through the lens of the end-product consumer. I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead providing Electronic Manufacturing Services for these fun new technologies ranging from drones to electric vehicles to virtual reality.

The show can be overwhelming for the first-time visitor with more than 175,000 attendees and over 2 million square feet of convention floor; it takes a bit of strategy to make the most of CES. With the help of a guided tour from StoryTech I was given a solid overview of this year’s trends and all of the vertical markets exhibiting at the show. A wide variety of verticals exhibited, ranging from 3D Printing, Augmented Reality, Fitness Technology, Virtual Reality, iProducts, Smart Home, Sleep Tech, Wearables and even Baby Tech!

Day One started with a tour of Tech East at the Las Vegas Convention Center, followed by 30 minutes of traffic (all part of the CES experience), before exploring Tech West at the Sands, and finishing at Eureka Park where over 600 startups were exhibiting at the show. The large presence of startups looks to be a continuing trend in years to come.

The following are some of the takeaways from this year’s show:

  1. Alexa is here to stay – Alexa is the cloud-based voice service from Amazon, and if you are not familiar with it, I guarantee you will be in the near future. Many of the exhibitors displaying at CES this year have incorporated Alexa into their products.
  2. Electric Vehicles (EVs) – Faraday Future was a big hit of the show, rolling out their SUV called the FF 91; they managed to secure more than 64,000 reservations for their first EV. NVIDIA, the AI computing company, made a big splash at the show. Their GPU has helped create the self-driving car phenomenon.
  3. Virtual Reality (VR) – Virtual Reality was a fan favorite with such companies as Qualcomm providing a VR Power Rangers-themed user experience, and Samsung providing a VR roller coaster experience. People were lining up for the Samsung experience well before the show even opened its doors to the public.
  4. Drones continue to fly – Drones have been a main theme of CES in recent years and this year was no different. Mercedes-Benz had an impressive showing in this vertical with their Vision Van, which has delivery drones based in portals on top of the vehicle, and which auto-loads packages onto the drones for delivery in the vicinity of the van.
  5. Haptic Technology – Haptic technology will play a role in digital content in the future. Immersion Corporation promoted haptic technology at CES using their TouchSense Ads. The technology adds the sense of touch to digital content and enables mobile, automotive and consumer devices to vibrate to create a true-to-life feel for a roar of an engine or the pop of a balloon.

Contact NPI Services, Inc. for prototype development services today. We can help you hit the ground running and get you ready to exhibit at CES 2018!

View our photo album from CES 2017: “Checking out CES 2017!”