I reported earlier about the breaking records at the CES 2015. I was among the 170,000 delegates and 6000 media, judging the best mobile applications plus providing analysis as an invited industry board chairman by the US Embassy.

This is a wrap-up of my experiences from the largest technology showcase ever!

In talking with two noted executives and serial entrepreneurs who were showcased on the CES Wall of Apps for global innovation for ZAKA, I got a good sense of what technologies would strongly influence the enterprise. I asked them what hot technologies and trends would profoundly impact business.

David Cheng and Elim Kay are co-founders of ZAKA a social-based relationship management and referral mobile application and platform where you discover places through the people you trust—they reported these observation:

Elim Kay reported:

  1. Wearable Devices: “In my opinion, wearable devices present the next level tier of capturing categories of data on humans (e.g. state of the human bodies, external movements) which can be fused with currently captured data from mainstream sources (e.g. mobile devices).  This aggregated data, coupled together with relevant learning engines, can provide richer depth and context which translates into increased precision in generating quantitative intelligence.  The opportunities that result may produce huge upside to huge industries, not only healthcare but also retail, restaurants, hospitality, etc.”
  2. Augmented Reality: “While augmented reality is still in a very early form, the future of augmented reality seems promising given the existing infrastructure of continuous advancement of humans’ digital behavior (and increasing precision of human-profiling by machines) that, in my opinion, is leading digital societies to eventually brace augmented realities in its eventual form(s).  And I believe such forms will produce significant impact virtually across all industries.”
  3. Drones: “The future of embraced utility of drones is wide as drones allow humans to extend their physical reaches at lower economical means.  This concept of physical extension cuts across all industries.  As drones begin to gain in maturity and eventually couple with advancing machines, a question is whether a balance can be achieved in which humans maintain being in control of extending physical reach while not becoming marginalized?”

David Cheng, also shared Elim’s thoughts and along with a couple of additional points:

  1. More consumer friendly wearable devices: “This will have effects on the healthcare industry. The advancement in the last 12 months in the area is quite impressive. The healthcare industry have gotten pressure to move more toward maintaining a population healthcare versus treating them only when they’re sick. The very specific movement toward making the devices more consumer friendly by making it more affordable and fashionable should help drive the adoption of these devices. And with strong adoption, it can actually play a major role is shifting the healthcare industry toward wellness management and more consumer driven.”
  2. 3D scanning and printing. “I believe this literally opens up a new dimension. Not only does this allow us to be more creative in what we design and create but it will probably open up new markets and opportunities. Real Estate developers can now easily build 3D models of their designs and inventors can actually “print” their inventions versus seeing it only on the screen (with simulations). It will be exciting to see when these devices becomes more affordable along with new advancements.”
  3. Self-driving cars. “I believe this CES really is driving home the idea that a fully autonomous vehicle is here today! Which means production of the vehicles is not too far behind. Now imagine if they network all of these cars and be able to figure out (automatically) how to get everyone from point A to point B with full collaboration from every car! The stuff we’ve seen in sci-fi movies is actually here.”

My hot trends and technology picks


Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai commented on cyber-attacks which underscored the reason why at the recent IFIP World CIO Forum where I participated as vice-chair, cyber security was a top enterprise priority. In addition, I was cyber-attacked while at CES. Mobile is particularly vulnerable and the pervasiveness of Internet of Things (IoT) increases the vulnerability dramatically. This is accentuated by comments at the CES where Samsung President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Boo-Keun Yoon indicated “The Internet of Things is about people, not things,” and by 2020, all Samsung devices will be connected to the IoT.

Smart sensors everywhere

I was struck by the proliferation of intelligent smart sensors and processors in products and services backed by machine learning, deep learning, AI, and usable analytics. These are the early signs of the digital quake where over 80 percent of businesses and jobs will need to change by 2020 or massive disruptive failures will occur. There are such rapid advances in deep learning where machines mimic human neural networks that enterprises need to plan for this now. Canada is a leader with the work of Geoffrey Hinton at the University of Toronto, who is advising Google, and Yoshua Bengio at the University of Montreal. Another pioneer is Yann Lecun supporting Facebook. Microsoft has made tremendous strides with embedded AI tools in their Azure cloud, Adam innovation, predictive analytics such as in Bing and universal translator in Skype.

The most obvious evidence is in autonomous devices.  Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board, Daimler AG stated “Mercedes aims to develop truly superhuman autonomous driving ability” evidenced in the company’s new concept car F 015 which can drive itself, has seats that can face each other, possesses a brain for sensing pedestrians, features gesture and eye tracking control with free floating driving instruments. Zetsche noted issues such a liability in the case of an unavoidable accidents but commented that self-driving cars will help us to achieve “the dream of freedom and mobility.”

Other hot technologies

–  Toshiba’s talking ChihiraAico robot demonstrates the rapid strides being made and the tidal wave of robotic replacements for people. Another example is MeccaNoid a new robotics building system from Meccano that comes with built-in voice recognition, conversations, and users can create their own custom robot movements.

–  Devices which cost millions or hundreds of thousands will all be available at modest prices and this will profoundly shift resources in enterprises. An example at CES was SCiO, the world’s first molecular sensor that is smaller than a computer mouse. A live demonstration had SCiO non-invasively giving the calorie count from a newly opened package of a food product, identifying medications, taking the drink challenge of identifying Pepsi from Coke. As noted on the CES Last Gadget Standing web page, “each time you scan an item you help build the world’s first database of physical matter. That new database has tremendous implications on food, research, health care and our environment. The data that SCiO collects will be a great leap forward for human knowledge of the physical universe.”

– The ability to transform in real-time was evidenced in a product Singtrix® from the creators of the original Guitar Hero®. This foreshadows more to come that will influence customer engagement and marketing for enterprises. The product allows you to sound like your favorite star, even sound like a guitar with hundreds of vocal effects, live backup harmonies and pitch-correction. In the same vein for marketing usage was 360fly, a wearable camera designed to capture experiences in 360 degrees.

– 8K TV, you have to see it to believe the detail.

Appreneur Scholars supporting students

judged the CES Appreneur Scholar awards for the top mobile apps founded by The Kay Family Foundation and Living in Digital Times.  The winners in the global search were iCPooch App and SmartTest Pro.  Brooke Martin indicated “I am honored to be recognized for my contributions in developing iCPooch. To be acknowledged amongs such amazing and talented finalists is as rewarding as it is truly inspiring.” Zach Burmeister went on to say: “The Appreneur Scholar Award is a great honor to me because it is a great sign of potential for SmartTest Pro!”

Elim Kay added, “Kay Family Foundation is honored to partner with Living in Digital Times for a second year and recognize two brilliant young entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs like Brooke and Zach are engines to driving innovation relevant to the Information Age. I hope the Appreneur Scholar awards helps Brooke and Zach to further their journeys with their respective ventures.”