CES 2017 / Hong Kong Radio 3, ABC Local, ABC Far North Qld

CES (The Consumer and Electronic Show) is the ultimate geek and nerd convention held each year, in early January in Las Vegas, attracts over 180,000 visitors who are all there to find the latest tech machinations, thinking, prototypes and products that may just become the next big thing.

This year’s show was no different, with an incredible array of must-have’s, didn’t know I needed it but now I can’t live without it and I’ll never need that on show, but more telling for me than the individual products are the overarching themes and tech directions and in a series of interviews with Hong Kong Radio 3’s Phil Whelan, Glynn Greensmith of ABC Local radio and Kier Shorey of ABC Far North Queensland I chatted about what CES 2017 tells us about the tech world ahead.

Like last year show there wasn’t one outstanding new product or category for me, but that’s symptomatic of our times with technology now moving out of its teenage years into its adulthood and instead of wild outbursts and bravado, we’re seeing a more tempered approach that’s working through what we already have and know and trying to find a better use and purpose for it.

Theme 1 is voice controlled technology, and Amazon’s Alexa seems to be the frontrunner this year with even Amazon’ expectation of 30-40 products carrying their voice assisted tech being surpassed, with its inclusion in over 100+ prototypes and products ranging from cars, to fridges, wash machines, watches and more, which given that Alexa is technically American-centric and not really available internationally makes it an interesting choice, but nevertheless it points strongly to the day when we routinely start talking to our machines and they answering back.

Theme 2 was drones available in every shape, size, colour, purpose and future promise ranging from a return of last years favourite the single manned Ehang 184 quadcopter drone to what I’m sure will become this years drone equivalent of last years must have selfie stick, the plastic lightweight and easy to use hover camera that follows you around with its 4K camera beaming back images of you from the sky to all your adoring followers and fans.

Autonomous cars and robots were also on show, again great stuff but no new standouts, although Nvidia showed strong promise with its AI capable in-car technology and level 5 autonomous driving technology.

And my favourite part of CES are the weird and wonderful gadgets on show, here’s just a few:

Kérastase Hair Coach connected hair brush,
Power Vision’s PowerRay the underwater fishing drone that lets you catch fish using your underwater drone and watch and control all the drones’ actions from the safety of your boat on your VR headset,
FoldiMate due out in the latter half of this year and able to fold all your laundry for you, and my favourite
Oombrella the smart umbrella that tells you when its raining outside (or you could just go low-tech and look outside for yourself)

Great shows – so take a listen now for more CES 2017 insights and tech overviews:

Phil Whelan Hong Kong Radio 3 – 10th Jan 2017 (11 minutes 44 seconds) .

Glynn Greensmith ABC Local Radio – It’s Just Not Cricket – 14th Jan 2017 (14 mins 22 secs)

Kier Shorey – ABC Far North Queensland – 16th January 2017 (11 minutes 08 seconds)

Talking Smart Fridges @ #CES 2016 / It’s Just Not Cricket – ABC

samsung-refridgerator-ces-2016-2000-7454 Who can resist a talking smart fridge, not Glynn Greensmith of ABC’s It’s Just Not Cricket, who in one of our increasingly regular chats wanted to explore Samsung’s smart fridge on display at this years CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas.

For decades we’ve been promised an “all-knowing” smart fridge that lets you what it has inside of it and what it needs and this year we’ve seen the release of Samsung’s 3rd attempt at creating this with its AU$6,860 four door, 54.6cm gorilla glass touchscreen panel Chef Collection Fridge.

This offering will one day be hooked up with Amazon’s Alexa cloud connected Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant (although most probably not for another 12 months or so – even though it seems like a couple of simple lines of coding could do it now) to give you voice and additional smarts.

The voice activation coupled with the large screen would let you say “Alexa, check the milk” or “Alexa, play my favourite song, or “Alexa find me a You Tube on how to make chocolate biscuits” and off it goes.

Off site you use your phone app to look inside your virtual fridge to see what you have and don’t have. This is done by the fridge using a set of internal cameras to snap a shot of your contents each time you close the fridge door.

Additional soon to be features will add Pandora for music streaming, Sticki for shared family calendars and the ability to hook your fridge to a smart TV and all things internet.

In some limited geographies you’ll also be able to use MasterCard grocery to directly purchase from your fridge and Instacart to order groceries direct from WholeFoods.

Although this tech is not quite there, it is a hint of what’s to come. Samsung is well on the way to fulfilling its promise to make all of its products “Internet of Things” ready by 2020, manufacturers and suppliers are beginning to explore the possibilities and consumers are slowly warming to the idea.

Lots more to cover at CES so be listening next week as I do a wrap up on all things CES 2016, but for now have a listen to this segment (11 minutes 26 seconds).

Why is Israel the worlds second largest silicon valley? | ABC radio

Start-Ups-in-IsraelFor a country of 8 million people, with all the issues and concerns going on around it, it’s difficult to fathom why a country like Israel looms so large in the technology space and carries the title of the world’s second largest silicon valley.

Tim Holt of ABC radio South East NSW was keen to explore this further and we chatted about some of the underlying structures that may have contributed to this including the Governments willingness to spend 4% of its GDP on Research and Development (Australia spends approx 2.4%) and back innovation as a key economic stimulus.

We explored the world of digitisation, the notion that everybody and soon everything would be discoverable with the ability to connect to each other and our belongings.

Very soon waking up in the morning will trigger a cascade of routine activities to occur in your home from heating to opening blinds, to showers turning on to breakfast being started and then on into the car and through your day, each activity being analysed to ensure that all that you want to do and have to do can be done and suggesting and making adjustments for you as in advance of you even knowing you need it.

Evidence of this was clearly demonstrated at the Consumer Electronic Show earlier this year and we chatted about Samsung’s desire to own this new frontier and their demonstration of it.

Our chat then turned back to Israel to look at new technologies like Waze that has not only changed the way they drive, but anecdotally changed their motoring habits and along the way picked up a cool $1 billion from Google which as of this morning has announced that Waze will now be preloaded on all new android devices.

IMG_4346We also took a quick tour through Bar Ilan University to meet with some fellow futurist and to try on Occulus Rift virtual glasses allowing me to soar above the desserts and dive into the oceans all from the comfort of my university arm chair.

We finished our chat by asking the perennial question: “why can’t we do this in Australia?”

My answer is always the same – we do and we are, but there isn’t the funding, interest or apolitical backing to see us truly take advantage of the brilliant minds and innovations we have in Australia.

Let’s turn this around and collectively demand that innovation receives more funding, more kudos and greater importance, if Israel can land $16.4 billion of tech sales last years imagine what Australia can do!

Have a listen now (20 minutes) and then share your thoughts…


Futurists’ Idea of Heaven – 6PR Big Weekend – FutureTech Segment – 9 January 2011

Dreams and heaven come in all shapes and sizes, but for a tech and futurist guy in January of each year they only come from one place, the Consumer Electronic Show.

This annual Las Vegas based event is the canary in the cage for what might be ahead as manufacturers and wannabe’s show off the kit they have innovated and want to sell in the years ahead.

In this weeks radio segment Ted of 6PR Perth and I discuss the many things CES which this year seems to come in 5 basic flavors – 3D, PC tablets, smartphones, connected appliances and video games, it is also the first year we have seen car and gaming manufacturers as major exhibitors.

What’s interesting for me is that we are seeing a true divergence of technology with so many devices and applications sharing common tech and spilling over between themselves. There is a plethora of toys on show that encourage us to take our tech into the home, into the office, into the car, into the streets and share it and play it seamlessly one device to another, one location to another.

This is the commercial mainstream beginning of an attitude where the device is not as important anymore, but what is is that we have continuous seamless access to our digital life wherever, whenever and however we find ourselves.

Listen to this segment now

The Weekender – 6PR Radio – Consumer Electronic Show

Laughing our way through another of our weekly segments Todd Johnson of Perth’s 6PR and Morris chat about what’s coming out of the CES show including talking cars, screens that are see-through and bend, tablets, e-readers, skyping and much more. Recorded live 10 January 2010.

Radio ABC International – Today Show – Future Tech Segment

3D TV’s, E Readers, TV merging with internet, HD Skyping on your TV, MyFord Touch – in car on board computing, Pandora Radio – in car satellite radio, Ultrathin cheaper notebook computers, Holographic Laser Projection- with all this it can only be the annual roundup of the CES show in Las Vegas. This together with the word of the day, a live cross to Phil Whelan in Hong Kong, Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday and more all in this weeks FutureTech segment with Phil and Adelaine, the first one back for 2010. Recorded live 8 January 2010. Listen each Friday at 12.35 p.m. (Aust EST)