Consumer Electronics Show 2018: Hot Topics This Year

December 27, 2017

The trends and talking points for the coming 12 months often kickoff at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, taking place this year January 7 to 12, 2018.
From 3D printing to augmented reality, BLE technologies will play a role in some of this year's most promising trends. Here's what you can expect at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018.
Find out what's next for BLE technology in 2018

Our interviews with Bluetooth industry movers already showed that voice assistants will play an increasingly important role in beacon technology. For the Consumer Electronics Show, we can expect all kinds of unexpected new voice-powered products and use cases.
Whether choosing established players like the Amazon Echo and Google SmartHome platforms, or new faces like Apple's HomePod and Samsung's still unnamed Bixby-powered speaker, consumers worldwide are predicted to spend $2.1 billion on virtual personal assistant (VPA) smart speakers by 2020. That’s up from $360 million in 2015.
Future-ready smart home solutions can come to life with the likes of Amazon's Alexa. That personalized experience can be expanded even further with the help of BLE tags. Objects that weren't "born smart" can be included in the smart home environment by using BLE tags to trigger functions based on motion and proximity. Imagine if Alexa could remind you to bring your phone when you open the front door, or to encourage healthy eating when you open a kitchen cabinet. These are the kind of next-gen solutions and tools we’ll begin seeing.
However, all these changes won’t come without challenges. Making IoT technologies work together nicely, including those in the smart home space, will be a key topic for discussion in the coming years (and also at this year’s CES installment).
Consumer Electronics Show 2018 talks: a panel including Tobin Richardson, CEO of ZigBee Alliance, will cover the topic of Smart Home Solutions of 2018. The panel will discuss the challenges in IoT interoperability and why common standards are needed to expand the possibilities of smart home solutions.

As 3D printing (3DP) becomes both more refined and affordable, it's increasingly accessible for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Beyond just making a physical product, by adding connectivity, businesses can start selling experiences that create deeper connections with customers.
Combining BLE tags and beacons with 3D printed products is an easy way to introduce interactive connectivity. With the addition of BLE technology, a 3D printed product becomes trackable and responsive to any number of stimuli. From trackable keychains and dog collars to robots and drones with special missions, BLE tags can be integrated into 3D printed products that are both practical and fun.
When it comes to fun, increasingly popular treasure hunts, room escapes, and geo-locating games can be expanded to include digital play which interacts with the physical by way of wireless technology like Bluetooth. Toys and game pieces with embedded BLE tags can interact with an additional layer of augmented reality, similar to the Pokemon Go game.
Consumer Electronics Show talks: Before you get started with your connected products, be sure to do your research. That's the advice from Chris Murray, Director of Industrial Design at Bresslergroup. In his presentation at CES entitled It’s Not Technology, It’s the Experience, Murray will discuss how research-driven decision making is crucial to success when creating connected products that provide valuable experiences.

Planners of events like conferences, trade shows, and festivals are always looking for new ways to make a lasting impression. This increasingly comes in the form of mobile apps offering guests immersive experiences that are valuable during the event, and memorable once they go home.
Using Bluetooth beacons that interact with event apps has proven successful for wayfinding at expos and boosting guest interaction. But location-based guest interactions can go much deeper once augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR) are added to the mix. From virtual banners to interactive displays, using AR in combination with Bluetooth beacons can create one of a kind, location-specific experiences. With so many companies—both old and new—looking to AR, we’re on our way to seeing more of these solutions in expos, conferences, and even our daily lives.
Consumer Electronics Show talks: The dream of widespread success with AR is becoming a reality for developers thanks to the release of Apple’s AR and Google’s ARCore. That's the topic of The Augmented Reality Experience and a number of other panels at CES this year.

Contextual advertising is all about being in the right place at the right time. Sharing a targeted message with the right person, and getting an immediate, trackable response is every retailer's dream. While the response isn't always guaranteed, sending personalized push notifications to a customer's phone when they enter a store is one method marketers have tried in recent years to boost loyalty and sales.
Bluetooth beacons act as the digital greeter at the shop's entrance, saying "hi" to visitors who have enabled loyalty apps on their phone. For example, Turkish developers used beacons to interact with a loyalty app when customers entered McDonald's locations in Istanbul. In a six-week trial, 30% of users responded to offers more than once.
Bluetooth beacons can also be used to trigger messages on digital displays in shops, or wherever the target audience may be. With a projected value of of $33 billion by 2023, digital signage will be a playing field for innovation in coming years.
Consumer Electronics Show talks: Once the hardware is installed and the platforms designed, successfully refining messages relies on a mix of analytics and content. That will be the topic of discussion at the Transforming Contextual Advertising and Media panel in Vegas.

Time will tell what next year's tech success stories will be

The trends you see at CES 2018 are sure to gain traction in the coming year. While there are some guaranteed winners, we’re also counting on a few surprises. Regardless of the details, we’ll be seeing the physical world blend more and more with the digital.
So what will be the hottest consumer tech trend in 2018? Who knows, maybe you can become a trendsetter yourself with innovative uses for BLE technology. Let us know your thoughts and learnings in the comments!

Need more insight on BLE technology in 2018? Make sure to check out our complete industry report.

James Randolph

American writer and content consultant based in Stockholm. James' life mission is to make complex issues easy-to-understand, or die trying.

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