170,000 attendees from across the globe and 3,600 vendors gathered amongst 2.4 million net square feet of exhibit space debuting the latest products and services across the entire consumer tech ecosystem just concluded CES 2016.
It’s come a long way since spinning out of the Chicago Music show in 1967. Products that have debuted at CES include the videocassette recorder, the compact disc player, HDTV, Microsoft Xbox and smart appliances.
Each year there seems to be a new category in consumer electronics added to the mix. In 2015 the big buzzword was the Internet of Things and it’s weight carried over to 2016 with more than 1000 exhibitors unveiling IoT technologies. For a community like ours focused on the industrial side of the IoT, what does a consumer electronics show have to do with our world?
A lot actually.
Here are the notable announcements from CES 2016:
For industrial IoT heads this is probably the most notable announcement to come out of the show. The Wi-Fi Alliance® introduced a low power, long range standard dubbed Wi-Fi HaLow™ .
In the IoT space with billions of sensors to be placed everywhere, the industry is in need of a low power Wi-Fi solution. Wi-Fi HaLow will be a designation for products incorporating IEEE 802.11ah technology. Wi-Fi HaLow operates in frequency bands below one gigahertz, offering longer range, lower power connectivity to Wi-Fi certified products.
Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance said, “Wi-Fi HaLow is well suited to meet the unique needs of the Smart Home, Smart City, and industrial markets because of its ability to operate using very low power, penetrate through walls, and operate at significantly longer ranges than Wi-Fi today. Wi-Fi HaLow expands the unmatched versatility of Wi-Fi to enable applications from small, battery-operated wearable devices to large-scale industrial facility deployments – and everything in between.”
Many devices that support Wi-Fi HaLow are expected to operate in 2.4 and 5 GHz as well as 900 MHz, allowing devices to connect with Wi-Fi’s ecosystem of more than 6.8 billion installed devices. Like all Wi-Fi devices, HaLow devices will support IP-based connectivity to natively connect to the cloud, which will become increasingly important in reaching the full potential of the Internet of Things. Dense device deployments will also benefit from Wi-Fi HaLow’s ability to connect thousands of devices to a single access point.
The bad news? The Wi-Fi Alliance isn't planning on rolling out HaLow certifications until sometime in 2018, and even if it gets here, it might not be the de-facto standard. There are others vying for the crown.
AT&T held a developer summit at the Palms Resort which was all about emerging technologies, products and services. A year ago, AT&T launched the M2X Data Service, a cloud-based data storage service for enterprise IoT developers. At CES they announced the commercial launch of Flow Designer, a cloud-based tool developed at the AT&T Foundry that lets IoT developers quickly build new applications. They also said that they are on track to have 50% of their software built on open source. They are working with OpenDaylight, OPNFV, ON.Lab, the Linux Foundation, OpenStack and others. Rachel King of ZDNet has an interview with AT&T President and & CEO Ralph de la Vega here.
Ericsson and Verizon announced joint activities to further the development and deployment of cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) networking for a diverse range of IoT applications. Ericsson introduced three IoT solutions for smart homes and cities:
Smart Metering as a Service puts consumers in control and enables utility companies to offer "smart" services to consumers in the future.
User & IoT Data Analytics enables controlled access and exposure of data from cellular and non-cellular devices and creates value through cross-industry offerings.
Networks Software 17A Diversifies Cellular for Massive IoT, supporting millions of IoT devices in one cell site, 90 percent reduced module cost, 10+ years battery life and 7-time cell coverage improvement.
Last year, IBM announced a USD 3 Billion investment in Internet of Things, and in October, they announced plans to acquire The Weather Company, accelerating IBM's efforts in the IoT market that is expected to reach USD 1.7 trillion by 2020.
They furthered their commitment with five related IoT announcements at CES: Softbank, Whirpool, Under Armour, Pathway Genomics and Ford. What IBM does with Watson in the consumer space will carry over to the industrial space and vice versa. With the tremendous volumes of data from IoT, Watson’s advanced power of cognitive computing will be one way to exploit this new resource. Fortune’s Stacey Higginbotham has more here.
Lady GaGa aside, Intel made one announcement at CES which I think got through a lot clearer than Qualcomm’s 14 announcements! Rather than focus on technical aspects, Intel announced innovative technologies and collaborations aimed at delivering amazing experiences throughout daily life - which we often forget to do as we get enamored by the 1’s and 0’s. From unmanned aerial vehicles and wearables to new PCs and tablets, Intel made sure their chip was in it. On the industrial front was the DAQRI Smart Helmet, an augmented reality helmet for the industrial worker, powered by an Intel® Core™ M processor.
Qualcomm made a mind-boggling 14 announcements in the CES time frame. Probably the most interesting was the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X5 LTE modem (9x07). Qualcomm said the chip has multimode capability and supports LTE Category 4 download speeds up to 150 Mbps. It’s designed to be used in a range of mobile broadband applications and in IoT use cases that demand higher data rates.
The President and CEO of Samsung Electronics, BK Yoon, delivered the opening keynote speech CES, calling for greater openness and collaboration across industries to unlock the infinite possibilities of the Internet of Things. Mr. Yoon announced a timetable for making Samsung technology IoT-enabled. By 2017, all Samsung televisions will be IoT devices, and in five years all Samsung hardware will be IoT-ready. He also emphasized the importance of developers in building IoT and announced that Samsung will invest more than USD 100 million in its developer community in 2015.
The ZigBee Alliance, a non-profit association of companies creating open, global standards that define the Internet of Things for use in consumer, commercial and industrial applications, announced that it is working with the Thread Group on an end-to-end solution for IP-based IoT networks. The solution will become part of the ZigBee Alliance’s comprehensive set of product development specifications, technologies, and branding and certification programs.
I’m sure there were many more industrial Internet of Things announcements. Let me know what I missed in the comments section below.