If you’ve ever attended the International CES, you know that the first question you get asked upon your return to co-workers, family and friends is always the same: “What’s the coolest gadget you saw?!?” For several years now, it’s been harder for attendees to point to one standout consumer electronics launch at the show for a variety of reasons:
- Shifting Show Focus: Three years ago, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the host of the event, dropped “consumer electronics” from the show’s original name (Consumer Electronics Show), leaving a very recognizable acronym (CES) that stands for nothing.
- New Launch Strategies: Following Apple’s Steve Jobs’ lead, most consumer electronics brands now launch products at private events that tend to be more advantageously timed for the critical holiday sales season.
- Additive Coverage Opportunities: For smaller start-ups and some established brands, an increased public interest in gadgets, technology and entrepreneurship has created new opportunities to launch products that didn’t exist previously: Kickstarter (the dominant crowdfunding website), Shark Tank (the primetime TV show that reaches millions) and sites like The Grommet (a site dedicated to helping unknown products succeed).
Despite the fact that new products are no longer the true mainstay of CES each year in Las Vegas, the question is still asked and publications around the world still attempt to report an answer. If you’re already tired of reading about Belty (what CNET rightly called the “the ridiculous but strangely popular showstealer of CES”), I’d encourage you to take a look at my report rounding-up of broader trends for brands and marketers that emerged from the 2015 CES.
But in the spirit of answering the perennial gadget-focused question, here are the 2015 CES products that stood out to me:
- 3D Food Printer (XYZprinting): Due to be released in Q2 of 2015, this 3D printer finally brings some practicality and novel utility to its category. The on-site demo of the product was printing 3D cookies in the shape of dinosaurs and flowers. Read more on CNET.
- Airdog (Helico Aerospace Industries): This Kickstarter project builds on the popularity of GoPro cameras and drones by combining the two. The Airdog automatically follows its master around, filming him with an attached GoPro from above, creating beautiful, action-packed footage. The drone flies at a maximum of 45 MPH and can stay in the air for 10-20 minutes. Read more on The Verge.
- WattUp (Energous): This wireless charging device uses a powerful radio frequency transmitter and a Bluetooth connection to power up to 12 devices at once. A special chip receives the signal from the base station and converts it to charge for device batteries. WattUp asserts that the product can charge 4 devices within 5 feet of the station at the same rate as when they’re plugged into the wall. Read more on The Mirror.
- Ring Video Doorbell (Ring): This internet-connected doorbell is battery operated and Wi-Fi enabled, making it easily installable and relatively turnkey. The doorbell pairs with users’ smartphones to provide a live feed of their doorway with a wide angled HD video camera, motion detection and cloud-based recording of visitors. It also enables users to communicate with people at their door from anywhere. Read more on 9to5Mac.
- Singtrix (VOXX International Electronics): Known first to most through its appearance on Shark Tank, Singtrix appeared at the 2015 CES for a formal launch. It’s a karaoke system that has a comprehensive catalogue, but can also strip the voice track out of user-provided music. The real magic to the product is what it does to even the worst signer — a powerful combination between auto-tuning and harmonizing makes everyone sound professional. Read more on TechHive.
As a special bonus, I’ll also mention that I got to play with Amazon’s Echo, which was launched at the end of 2014. Though it didn’t formally launch at the 2015 CES, it struck me as one of the most transformative devices coming from the Amazon Prime ecosystem that is well positioned to begin rivaling Apple’s walled garden of services for consumers. It’s worth taking another look at the product if you haven’t spent time with it yet. See more on The Verge.
So there they are: the products you should know about from CES 2015. What products are you excited about incorporating into your life or brand initiatives at 2015? For more about the 2015 CES, check out my “No Gadgets” report here.