What to expect from the Consumer Electronics Show

December 29, 2015  - By
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A scene from the hectic and high-tech show floor of CES 2015.

A scene from the hectic and high-tech show floor of CES 2015. (Photo: CES)

It won’t be long until the January Consumer Electronics Show (CES) overwhelms us, so I want to ensure that we don’t overlook innovation occurring now, both in mapping and in automated vehicle technology. And if you are attending the show or following its news, I will provide you with a heads-up that will help orient you.

what3words. GPS has revolutionized mapping and burst open a host of technologies. We have lived through a transformative age, but today, new features are mostly iterative, just a bit better than last year. A UK startup, what3words, is providing an intriguing perspective on geolocation, mapping the world by words instead of long number strings of location coordinates.

what3words has divided the world into 57 trillion nine-meter square tiles, each randomly assigned a unique string of three words and, yes, that’s a big vocabulary. For instance, Strawberry-Cart-Walk might be the name for a patch of soil in Africa, and Flower-Hay-Pen might designate a square on the sidewalk in Manhattan. The words have no context, but provide the advantage of being easier to remember, communicate (particularly vocally) and may be less prone to error.

The advantage of worded geolocations is more apparent in places that are mapped poorly, and have inadequate addressing or limited technology. This describes most of the world, where water wells in remote places can’t be found and aid has trouble reaching people that lack a way to communicate their location. Even in well-mapped areas, worded geo-location can be helpful by identifying specific locations at a traditional address, such as goods and vehicle entrances as well as front doors. How many times are we told by a nav system that we have arrived at our destination when the entrance or driveway isn’t in sight? what3words has recently signed a deal with Esri and has received a Series A investment round.

Google’s Latest Patents. The race to owning the connected car has been a marathon, and the smartest companies have focused on developing intellectual property that can be patented. Google is in the lead, and most recently the company was granted a patent regarding the interaction between a vehicle and a pedestrian. Self-driving vehicles by necessity are overly cautious or may overreact to road “obstacles.” They are disadvantaged by not being able to interact like a human driver, who might nod or frown or gesture to a pedestrian to indicate intent. Google was recently granted a patent for automated vehicles to communicate intent with a pedestrian, via a physical signaling device, an electronic sign or lights, or a speaker for providing audible notifications. Signage on the vehicle might illuminate to indicate that the vehicle will stop at a crosswalk and that it is safe for the walker to proceed.

Innovations Unveiled. The CES Innovation Awards are given prior to the show. Bosch is a 2016 winner for a new in-vehicle touch screen that provides haptic control. The screen recognizes the pressure applied by fingers and activates functions accordingly. Having recently announced that it is entering the auto component market, expect different offerings from Samsung. Anticipation is growing that Faraday Future, a new automaker planning to go head-to-head with Tesla, will unveil a concept car.

Innovation will abound at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. Look for the most exciting technology announcements in automotive and virtual reality technology. CES in expanding automotive exhibit space by 25 percent to fit 100 automotive technology companies and nine automakers. Virtual reality and robotics will both have a much stronger presence this year. In addition, the evolution of smart homes, wearables, drones and mobile health technology will be interesting to watch. And if you want see the next trendsetters, check out the curated area of 500 startups. That is the real barometer of the future.

If you are interested in the connected vehicle, attend the conference Driverless, the Business of Autonomous Vehicles, which will be held March 22-23, 2016, near the San Francisco Airport.

This is the last issue of Wireless LBS Insider. For six years I have been the editor of GPS World’s newsletters Wireless Pulse and then Wireless LBS Insider, to provide perspective on location-based trends. My coverage started with the beginnings of E-911, telematics and location-based services (LBS) and expanded into connected vehicles, location-based advertising, and M2M.

As an industry insider, I have a consulting practice devoted to helping companies shape new offerings, research new markets, take the temperature of customers, develop new business and communicate the value of their offerings. Let’s keep in touch. Email me at jpartyka@jgpservices.net. And if you happen to be at CES, we can meet and talk technology.

About the Author:


Janice Partyka is principal of JGP Services, www.jgpservices.net, a consulting practice that helps companies with marketing strategy, including investigating new markets, ensuring product roadmaps match market needs, and creating marketing campaigns. Janice develops websites, social media, public relations and overall marketing communication. She also works as an expert witness for the mobile industry and conducts prior art searches for patent cases. Janice has served in leadership capacities in the wireless industry, leading marketing, business development, media and government relations, including serving as vice president of external affairs for TechnoCom Corporation. She briefed the Obama transition team on broadband issues. Janice was a twice-elected member of the board of directors of the E9-1-1 Institute, which supports the work of the U.S. Congressional E9-1-1 Caucus to ensure implementation of wireless E9-1-1, and she was telecom liaison to the Intelligent Transportation Society's World Congress. Janice is a frequent speaker at mobile and location industry events. Her webinars on mobile applications and technologies draw audiences from more than 40 countries. Janice Partyka is also the founder of www.majorstocareers.com, a web service that helps college students find the right major that will lead to a satisfying career. Contact: Janice Partyka at jpartyka@jgpservices.net, www.jgpservices.net. Free subscriptions to Wireless LBS Insider are available at https://www.gpsworld.com/subscriptions.

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