CES 2015: ‘Internet of Things’ to take centre stage with over 900 innovations on display


The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 is one of the most awaited tech events for those waiting to see what the latest developments and trends in technology are likely to be. The event isn’t just about smartphones and tablets, but about the kind of technology that will be big soon, maybe not in 2015 but perhaps in the coming decade.

The highlight of CES 2015 is The Internet of Things (IoT) and how it will change our lives radically. For the uninitiated, IoT would mean the next level of evolution for the Internet, where even daily household objects such as television sets, cars, homes, kitchen appliances, are all connected to the web. Not only is IoT expected to change how we interact with products, it will also be a booming industry as research firm IDC has predicted that by 2020 IoT will be a $3 trillion industry.

For starters, according to CES’s own press statement, this year’s show will have the largest collection of products, services and technologies that make up the “Internet of Things” (IoT), with more than 900 exhibitors planning to show off their innovations in this regard.

The IoT is also getting a special mention in Samsung and Intel’s key note at the conference.

It all sounds very much like science-fiction, but the reality is that these changes are already taking place. As we saw in 2014, Apple, Google, Samsung, and just about everyone is taking this idea very seriously. With Apple we saw the HomeKit and HealthKit, Google showed us Android for cars and acquired Nest (a company that creates smart-thermostats), while Samsung has been working hard on its Tizen-OS, which we saw in the Gear S smartwatch.

So what are the key IoT announcements expected at CES 2015?

Let’s start with Samsung which will unveil its Tizen-OS powered smart television sets at the conference. The company plans to show displays based on environments like Office, Restaurant, Hotel. These smart TVs can be synced with the company’s smartphones and the TV will be the centre for Internet-connected homes.

Samsung’s President and CEO, Boo-Keun Yoon said he hopes to see IoT revolutionise your daily products like “televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines and many others.”

“As more and more of these devices and appliances connect to one another, and with other objects, we will begin to see an even greater transformation,” he said in an interview. Whether or not Samsung shows us more more of these appliances remains to be seen.

Then there’s Intel whose CEO Brian Krzanich will also be focusing on IoT during his key note address. This is no surprise given that in December 2014 (which is just a month back) Intel unveiled its own platform for IoT which will make it easier for companies to create internet-connected smart products using its chips, security and software.

As we had noted at the time, Doug Davis, head of Intel’s Internet of Things business said at its launch that the platform “is like a set of building blocks based on the chipmaker’s components and software for companies to create smart, connected devices.” Given that Intel lost out the smartphone/tablet war to rival Qualcomm, it now wants to make sure that it doesn’t miss the IoT revolution.

Interestingly Intel’s Internet of Things Group had $530 million in revenue in the September quarter and it grew at a rate of 14 percent over the previous year, which was faster than the company’s PC business. Intel also recently announced that it has teamed up with leading fashion brands in USA to ensure that future smartwatches appeal to the fashion conscious users well.

We are also likely to see more products centred around health. Almost all the smartwatches introduced last year can now function as health trackers by tracking your heart-rate, steps you walk, pulse, etc. New wearables that expand the list of health indicators is definite possibility.

Connected cars, which also come within the realm of IoT are also expected to be big at the conference. According to the conference schedule, automotive electronics are a part of the shows and accessories for cars like BMW, Audi, etc will be seen as well.

Of course the other question with the IoT will be of privacy and security. The recent attack on the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One online networks meant that none of the users could log in and play games. Now imagine if that were happen to something like a fridge or a smart TV that controls all the lights, thermostat, or air-conditioning in your house. The other thing will be privacy and how the data transmitted by these smart, connected devices will be used by companies.

To be fair, IoT is the logical next step in the evolution of everyday technology and CES 2015 will only offer a glimpse of what is to come. Hopefully companies won’t ignore the security side of these futuristic technologies as well and will address them in CES 2015.