CES 2016

The latest game-changing innovations revolutionizing our world took center stage on opening day of CES® 2016. More than 3,600 exhibitors unveiling new products on the largest show floor in CES history – spanning more than 2.4 million NSF – and keynotes from the leaders of Netflix, GM and IBM kicked off the world’s largest innovation event. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, CES 2016, the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, runs through Saturday, January 9, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM , officially opened CES 2016 on the keynote stage following a musical performance by Lexie Hayden, winner of the CES Music Contest. Shapiro welcomed a standing-room only audience to the world’s global stage for innovation and highlighted the many ways technology is changing the world and solving some of the planet’s most complex problems through revolutionary products and services such as drone delivery, automated driving, the sharing economy, 3D printing and more. He shared his vision of a connected world that is changing rapidly as “billions of intelligent products and services are now woven into the daily fabric of our lives,” connecting each of us to these products and services, but more importantly, to each other. Shapiro continued, “I see a world with connected devices that are constantly learning and discovering new ways of doing everything; improving the way we live.”

Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, followed with his opening keynote during which he and Ted Sarantos, chief content officer, Netflix, announced several new Netflix Original Series airing in 2016 including The Crown, a biographical story of Queen Elizabeth II and Baz Lurhmann’s The Get Down, a story about urban youth in The Bronx. Sarantos welcomed stars from several Netflix Original Series including, Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Does), Will Arnett (BoJack Horseman & Flaked), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) and Wagner Moura (Narcos), who discussed the creative freedom given by Netflix to create original content.

Hastings finished his keynote by announcing that while he was speaking, Netflix became available in 130 new countries, including India, South Korea, Turkey and Poland.

During the Wednesday afternoon keynote, Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors, introduced the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, a fully electric vehicle that can travel 200 miles on a single charge and is slated to go into production this year. “The Bolt EV is truly the first electric vehicle that cracks the code of long range and affordable price,” Barra said. “It’s for anyone who wants to save time, money and the environment in a car that’s truly fun to drive.” In touting the Bolt’s innovative tech features, like its wide-angle rear camera, quick-charge battery and navigation with EV-specific routing, Barra stressed that today’s car is more than just a car – “it’s an upgradable platform for new technologies.”

Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO of IBM, concluded Wednesday’s keynote lineup discussing IBM’s role in the next phase of the Internet of Things (IoT): cognitive computing. She said the challenge of IoT today is making sense of all the data we’re creating and capturing. “The future of the Internet of Things is cognitive,” Rometty said. “It will change what you make, it will change how you operate, and IoT will change who you are.” Rometty announced partnerships with Under Armour, Medtronic and Softbank Robotics, who are all using Watson, IBM’s computing power technology that makes sense of data generated by connected devices.

Shapiro opened IBM’s keynote by announcing a research partnership between the CTA Foundation and IBM to study how cognitive computing will transform our lives as we age and transform the lives of those living with disabilities.

Opening day of CES 2016 also featured dynamic SuperSessions and conference panels discussing the latest trends and public policies covering the entire spectrum of consumer technology.

During the Insights with the FCC and FTC SuperSession, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler discussed the value of spectrum in supporting IoT connectivity and the significance of the upcoming wireless spectrum auction. Soon “there will be the world’s largest spectrum auction that has ever taken place,” Wheeler said. “The auction is essential to the kinds of things that are going on downstairs on the show floor,” he added. Wheeler said the upcoming spectrum auction is an opportunity for broadcasters to rethink how they want to do their business.

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez focused on the need to protect consumer privacy in an IoT era. “Data is increasingly becoming today’s currency and we need to be aware of what impact that has on consumers.” Ramirez added that companies should be transparent about their data practices and offer consumers opt-out choices. “Consumers are willing to share information if they can be assured about what that information is being used for,” Ramirez said. She also discussed the FTC’s recent workshop on the sharing economy and the Commission’s plans to release a report on the sharing economy this spring.

Wednesday’s SuperSession, An Inside Look: Industry Innovators and Government Join Forces, featured U.S. CTO Megan Smith, White House OSTP, and Tom Kalil, deputy director for policy, White House OSTP. The panel highlighted five key factors that are making the difference and driving innovation in cities across America: the Maker Movement, TechHire, diversity, smart cities and the Presidential Innovation Fellowship (PIF) program. The presentation included representatives from Autodesk, Telegraph Education and Pinterest to explain how various OSTP initiatives are helping to create greater access to technology and other valuable resources.

Marina Martin, CTO of the Department of Veterans Affairs, also joined on stage to explain how the PIF program inspired her to leave the private sector for a greater cause. “My experience working for the federal government is that, as civil servants, they want to build a bridge,” said Martin. “I can’t make those decisions, but I have the digital service skills to build a bridge. PIF is a way to serve your country and also bring important skills back to your company.” For more information on the programs discussed during the presentation, visit wh.gov/CES2016.

CNET Editors-at-Large Brian Cooley and Tim Stevens explored the future of how we interact with machines and computers and the relationship between devices and people with a panel of linguists, artificial intelligence specialists and big-name industry experts at the Next Big Thing: Is Typing Dead Supersession. Marcus Behrendt, head of user experience, BMW Group, Wendy Ju, executive director, interaction design research, Stanford University, Dr. Pattie Maes, Professor, MIT Media Laboratory, MIT and Vlad Sejnoha, CTO, Nuance debated what’s next when it comes to human and device interaction across various use-case scenarios. The panel discussed advances in voice and gesture control, but agreed that the ultimate future for communication may lie in biometric tech where the objects around us can sense bio-feedback and respond according to mood, mental state, physical activity, etc. A future where just “being” is all you need to communicate.

The C Space Storytellers conference track explored the unique relationship between content, technology and the art of innovation. The day-long program featured executives from global brands including AOL, Facebook, GE, LinkedIn, Pandora, Salesforce and Target, as well as artist, entrepreneur and TV host Nick Canon. Topics discussed included the importance of furthering innovation through strategic partnerships; the global shift to mobile; creating and maintaining healthy brands; building consumer engagement and the future of content delivery. When discussing the new age of data, Cannon remarked, “People like to say that content is king, but now, data, or information, is king.”