On the Tech Horizon: CES 2016

Mall of America sent me to CES 2016 to see what’s next for consumer technology. Here’s what I found out.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on behalf of Mall of America®. It’s where companies big and small come to show off their latest tech products, and it’s like taking a step into the future. All types of products — from cars to phones to drones to washing machines — are debuted there. I wanted to know what’s on the horizon for consumer technology and what new products MOA® retailers will soon have in store. Here’s what I found:

  1. Being a kid today is really cool. What 10-year-old me wouldn’t have given to play with some of the high-tech toys on display at CES. I played with toy cars when I was a kid; now children can build their own robots. I imagined prehistoric worlds with my plastic dinosaurs; now kids can create those worlds on screen with augmented reality and “smart” toys.
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    Build-your-own robots at CES 2016.

    Of course, there’s no rule that gadgets intended for younger audiences can’t be enjoyed by adults as well. I saw thousands of “grown-ups” laughing like youngsters as they explored other planets and galaxies in virtual reality headsets (many available at Best Buy). I saw the same look on their faces as they controlled drones (a wide variety of which are available at Brookstone at MOA) as I had with my first remote-control car.

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    Drones for days at CES 2016.

  2. That being said, tech products for adults are mind-blowing. This is due largely to the fact that the quality of everything is improving. A major focus of the conference was 4K video, or “ultra HD.” Exhibits from companies like LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony showed off the incredibly crisp images on these super high-resolution displays. We can also look forward to creating our own 4K images and videos with new cameras from Nikon and Kodak.
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    LG shows off its 4K video at CES 2016.

    CES was also heaven for audiophiles. Heart-stopping automotive sound systems, flawless headphones, and smart systems for entire homes brought the music-listening experience to a new level. Bose in particular received praise for their “Automotive Experience” at CES. If you weren’t there to see it, you can always swing by their MOA location to test their range of impressive products.

    Makers of wearables are also making their devices more fashion-forward. If you’re looking for the next stylish wearable, Swarovski and Fossil have you covered. Swarovski showed off their “Misfit Shine Collection” — wearable fitness trackers built with Misfit technology and designed with that beautiful Swarovski crystal look. Expect those in Swarovski’s MOA location early 2016.

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    Swarovski’s “Misfit Shine Collection,” coming to MOA early 2016.

    Meanwhile, Fossil showcased “incognito” wearables, which look like traditional Fossil watches but contain that fitness-tracking technology, as well. You can already pick one of these up at Fossil’s MOA location.

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    Fossil’s “incognito” wearables, available now at Fossil’s MOA location.

    Finally, if you’re in the need for speed, especially on your mobile devices, you should be anxious for the end of the decade. At around that time, expect to see 5G wireless coming to your mobile device. I saw 5G at work at the conference, and all I’ve got to say is: it’s very fast.

  3. Everything is getting “smarter.” From home appliances to shoes, and everything in between. You don’t need to have attended CES to notice that many products are becoming more automated and interconnected. But the full extent of the trend was unavoidable at the show. I doubt that my future children will need to learn to drive their fully automated cars, and I wonder what exactly they will have to do manually — the “old-fashioned” way. CES boasted laundry machines that fold your clothes for you, refrigerators that take pictures of their contents (making shopping easier) and shoes of all styles that track your daily fitness. Perhaps my favorite product from CES in the “smart” category was the Under Armour Healthbox: an all-encompassing fitness system, including a smart scale and heart rate monitor. Expect it at the MOA location by January 29.
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    Under Armour’s fitness system, Healthbox — available at MOA Jan. 29.

In the end, what this conference instilled in me is that if you can dream it, there is someone out there who can figure out how to make it happen. So dream big — your tech dreams might be tomorrow’s reality.

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