5 things to know before heading to CES

 Courtesy of CES

Courtesy of CES

Ah, CES. Where else across these great amber waves of grain can you catch a gin-soaked performance of Carrot Top at the Luxor, after taking stock of technology’s industry leaders? This year’s conference will feature 184k+ attendees, 4k exhibitors, and 1.2k speakers from a range of emerging tech fields. Here’s a list of some CES breakthroughs we’re most excited for this year.

1. Virtual Reality Becomes the Standard

 Courtesy of PSVR

Courtesy of PSVR

Late last year, the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) presented its VR Industry Guidelines, which will be outlined during a masterclass at CES 2018. The guidelines will assist the industry in creating and support a thriving VR ecosystem, while also ensuring a high-quality user experience. According to VRIF, the initial guidelines will focus on:

  • The delivery ecosystem of 360° video with three degrees of freedom (3DOF)

  • Documentation of cross-industry interoperability points, based on ISO MPEG’s Omnidirectional Media Format (OMAF)

  • Best industry practices for production of VR360 content, with an emphasis on human factors such as motion sickness

  • Security considerations for VR360 streaming, including user privacy and content protection

The implication of all this, of course, is that virtual reality is being treated more seriously as an immersive medium. To see an entire organization devoted to the standardization of it’s execution can only mean VR’s gaining more currency as a legitimate form of audiovisual engagement. In the VRIF guidelines, there’s even 10+ pages on standardizing audio applications for VR.

2. Internet-of-Things Comes Home

 Courtesy of Toasteroid

Courtesy of Toasteroid

CES always manages to round up a splendid mishmash of gadgetry. Some highlights of past years include vacuum shoes, automated floss dispensers, and a Bluetooth toaster. Last year, companies like LG showcased products capable of integrating with Amazon’s Alexa to create voice-activated smart devices. This year, featured projects include a 4D “smart sofa” from MILIBOO, a 3D-printed weatherproof drone, and ConnectSense’s app-integrated wall outlets. As we inch ever-closer to a hyper-connected world, the Internet-of-Things seems less like a dream, and more like something we might all be living in the next few years.

3. Augmented Reality Rises in Rank

 Courtesy of Reality Technologies

Courtesy of Reality Technologies

Last year, the release of Apple’s ARKit offered more AR development opportunities for iOS devices, while Pokémon Go! presented the public with an exciting opportunity to experience AR firsthand. Since then, 2018 CES exhibitors like Samsung, NASA, and Kodak have been monumental in creating a pro-AR attitudes across the marketplace. In fact, the Consumer Technology Association states that “sales of AR and VR headsets and eyewear will reach a record 4.9 million units in the U.S. in 2018, a +25% increase from 2017.” Without a doubt, CES 2018 will be a showcase for all forward-thinking AR prototypes, and we can’t wait to see what will be featured on the exhibit floor.

4. Audio Systems Gain Representation

 Courtesy of Stages

Courtesy of Stages

Attitudes around immersivity are changing. Audio is no longer being treated as secondary feature, but rather as the feature that separates an exceptional user experience from a substandard one. CES will feature an array of new audio products: a smart speaker, augmented reality headphones, and an ultra-thin automotive speaker. In this world of wireless technology, Dolby Atmos, and VR, groundbreaking technology offers great promise for the production of truly immersive audio content.

5. Cars Drive Themselves

 Courtesy of Byton

Courtesy of Byton

An article about CES would not be complete without mentioning driverless cars, and everyone’s hoping to one-up Tesla this year. Automotive startup Byton will be debuting it’s “SIV”, or Smart Intuitive Vehicle: an all-electric SUV with facial-recognition, full-blown cloud integration, and widescreen diagnostics panel. The car will debut in China in 2019, and in Europe in 2020. Additionally, vehicle manufacturing group Aptiv and Lyft will offer rides in a driverless vehicles during the conference. Attendees will be able to travel to 20+ points of interest around the city.

We’re excited to announce that Hear360 will be attending CES this year. Let us know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram if you’re attending. And if you’d like to shirk the all-night poker tournament to learn more about some truly awesome spatial audio solutions, drop us a line to set up a meeting at accounts@hear360.io.

Matthew Pritchard