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AI, smart devices, driverless cars shine at CES 2017
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AI, smart devices, driverless cars shine at CES 2017 

The fun thing about it is that you never really know what tech gadget garnering the oohs and aahs at CES will actually be market hits.

Here’s a rundown of some of the stuff catching people’s attention at CES 2017:

Virtual assistants

Manufacturers from the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft and other are boosting their line up with virtual assistants and much more are claiming to have artificial intelligence added to “everything from cars to a toothbrush,” reports the Financial Times.

Many companies hope to replicate Amazon’s success with the voice-control digital assistant Echo which helps its owner turn on house lights, cue up playlists and even call a cab. According to the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon has sold five million Echo units in the United States in the product’s launch in 2014.

According to Amazon, the 2nd generation Echo Dot, the company’s Alexa technology-powered, hands-free, voice-controlled device which plays music, provide information, reads the news and controls smart home devices, was the company’s top seller during the holidays.

“Artificial intelligence could well be the story of the show,” John Curran, managing director of consultancy Accenture’s TMT division, told Financial Times.

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He believes AI can “help jump-start some of the other categories that have met resistance in consumer adoption because the devices have been seen as hard to connect and hard to understand”.

This bodes well for Amazon because its Alexa technology is finding its way in a growing number of devices, according to Znet.

  • DISH will enable Amazon Alexa voice control on its Hopper DVR. According to a statement, DISH is the first TV provider to offer direct compatibility with Alexa.
  • Whirlpool connecting Alexa to its smart appliances as a skill on Echo and Echo Dot. Given Alexa’s integration with other smart home providers, Amazon is becoming intertwined with in-home connectivity.
  • Lenovo is also integrating Amazon’s Alexa in a series of smart devices. What’s interesting here is that Lenovo sees Amazon as more of a partner than a competitor, even as it preps its own artificial intelligence technology.

Olly, another digital assistant that resembles a doughnut, this time from a U.K-based startup Emotech claims to be more personal than Echo. Like other digital assistants, it plans music and can control smart devices over the internet, but it also offers advice and is able to develop a different personal for each use in a household.

Smart home tech helps startups shine

There’s a growing number of homeowners deploying smart devices in their abodes. Although smart technology is not yet centralized in many homes, we’ll likely get there shortly. So far the trend appears to be a boon for tech startups.

We spend about a third of1/3 of our life sleeping or trying to sleep, and tech startups are no longer taking it lying down.

Companies and products like Smart Nora, the Zeeq Smart Pillow, and Sleepace are offering people various options to help people sleep through the auditory nightmare of a snoring bedmate.

Nora uses a small device that raises the pillow slightly to get you to move when snoring is detected through its sound sensor. Zeeq offers a device which can automatically play music when it detects snoring

And everyone knows the Sleep Number Bed, the company’s new Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed. The entire mattress system includes the anti-snoring approach (the bed adjusts the position when snoring is detected) but also includes a warming feature, biometric sensors, and other health data abilities to help customers get their 40 winks in an easier manner.

Driverless cars

Getting hacked is one of the biggest fears associated with connected cars and driverless cars. Smartphone company BlackBerry believes it has the answer. BlackBerry and its QNX division, together with Certicom are offering end-to-end security – from the manufacturing chain, and inside and outside the car.

BlackBerry, is expected to reveal more car technology, and has promised to drive $75 million in this effort in the next few years, according to CNBC.

The Likes of Toyota, Hyundai, and Nissan are also making announcements related to how they will be using artificial intelligence and autonomous driving tech.

Perhaps the biggest buzz is being generated by the Chinese-backed Faraday Future. The company’s electric-powered FF91 automobile is claimed to generate the equivalent of 1050bhp from its battery pack and is said to be capable of reaching 60mph in under 2.4 seconds. While the vehicle has a range of 378 miles, it is loaded with sensors that enable it to do autonomous tricks such as finding a parking space by itself. It even has face recognition, so the vehicle can be programmed to open its scissor doors only to certain individuals.

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