The Critics’ View: Cars, Smartwatches and IoT at CES 2015

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TechWeekEurope cherry picks from the best blogs coming out of CES 2015

The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas kicked off this week. The show is traditionally a hotbed for consumer device releases, and in recent years has showcased the cutting edge of connected technology – literally turning any object ‘smart’.

In 2014, the show attracted a crowds of over 160,000 to witness 52,000 exhibitors. There’s so much news from the event itself this year (much of which can be found on our very own website) that we’ve decided to pick out a handful of insightful opinions on the show from some top tech bloggers around the world. Enjoy!

MIT Technology Review’s Rachel Metz on the possible security issues that surround IoT devices:

“But whether companies are adding connectivity to doggie bowls or security systems, they will have to tackle several issues. For instance, many early connected-home devices have included little in the way of built-in security, making them possible targets for hackers. In some cases, security can be improved by storing data on such devices themselves, rather than on a remote server—something Netatmo says it’s doing with videos that users record via Welcome (they’re stored on an included memory card you slip into its rear).”

Bloomberg’s Ian King talking about his time at CES wearing three smartwatches at once:

“Early in my tests, with two of the smartwatches on one wrist and one on the other, the only step forward the new models seem to have made over earlier versions I’ve tried is the addition of heart-rate monitors. The LG G Watch R’s monitor is helping me track my growing frustration with the Moto 360 as I’m trying to get it to do something basic: tell the time.

CES 2015
The LG G Watch R

“The LG G Watch R’s monitor shows my heart is beating at the high end of the pink zone — it hasn’t yet slipped into the red zone of danger — when I discover one of the secrets of the Moto by accident. To see what time it is without pressing a button, you just lift up your wrist and look at the screen, as though you’re pantomiming frustration with someone who’s turned up late for an appointment.”

Washington Post’s Hayley Tsukayama on connected devices:

“If tech firms have their way, everything you use on a daily basis, from your toothbrush to your car, will one day be connected to the Internet.

“At this year’s International CES — the consumer tech industry’s annual Las Vegas confab — you can’t go more than a few steps without hearing someone talking about a way to connect something new to the Internet. But as companies rush to create apps and embed chips in everything from your blankets to your shoes, it’s unclear whether consumers are as hot on the “smart everything” trend.  After all, people probably don’t need an alert on their phone to tell them when their toast is ready — the bread popping out is a pretty good clue.

“It’s one thing to have a smart appliance that saves you time or money, which is the main selling point for successful devices such as the Nest thermostat. A critical and consumer darling, analysts have estimated the Nest sells around 100,000 units per month. But other smart products have not been so quick to catch on.”

Gigaom’s Kevin Fitchard on connected cars:

As in previous years, we’re seeing a lot of car connectivity news at the Consumer Electronics Showcase, but an interesting theme is emerging at this year’s conference. We’re starting to see the automobile take its place among the internet of things, connecting not just to smartphones, but also wearables, the smart home and even the roads and vehicles around them.

CES 2015
Hyundai showcased new car technologies

You can connect a smartphone to a lot of vehicle these days. But Hyundai has done one better. It’s linking Android Wear watches to its Blue Link infotainment and telematics system. The app will let you unlock and start your car with a tap of a screen icon or even a voice command. What’s better is this isn’t some concept tech. It will work on Hyundai Blue Link systems going back to its first generation in 2012 Sonata, and the app will be available for download on Google Play this quarter.”

Wired’s Kyle Vanhemert on sensors at CES:

The twin fixations of CES this year are, to no one’s surprise, wearable technology and the internet of things. (OK, and crazy-ass TVs. Always room for crazy-ass TVs!) Among the wearables, many are taking advantage of exotic, cutting-edge sensors. These gizmos don’t just want to count your steps; they hope to peer into your skin, your muscles, your brain, your blood.

“You don’t see the same sensor explosion with the internet of things stuff. In fact, some of the most compelling “smart home” products at this year’s show rely on a totally mundane sensor: the camera. Not that it’s a bad thing. The humble camera, paired with increasingly sophisticated computer vision, could be capable of some very interesting things. Eventually, it could become the real brains of the smart home.”

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