Some of My Favorite Things at CES 2017
CES2017 had a serious vibe of real innovation this year, at least compared to the last few years of ‘incremental gains’ like 4K screens and IoT (Internet of Things) applications. What we saw this year did have emphasis on autonomous vehicles and on voice-activations (both tangentially related to outdoor activities), but here was what we thought really jumped out with respect to specialty outdoor.
Product Name: Open Ambit
MSRP: Free and open to the public
Why it matters: Exciting news from Finland; they are opening source code/API access for applications of their multi-meta-sensor. This means more more creativity applied and more ideas to vet for commercial viability and solutions for us wrist-watchers.
Product Name: Toyota Tacoma Dash Mount for iPad
Why it matters: Known in the outdoor business for their tech protection (phone cases), Scosche actually has a large footprint in automotive, with in-car iPad mounts and portable audio products. It’s an obvious idea but the Scosche in-car solutions are simple and intuitive (but only for popular vehicles built 2013 and later). We liked their rugged portable speakers too, high in quality sound and reasonable in price.
Product Name: Various
Why it matters: One of the key underrated elements of trade shows was their ability to put together collaborators that create more value for the consumer. We’re not sure if the folks at Wahoo actually met and forged the partnership with BeachBody and Strava at a trade show, but they are great match-ups regardless. We particularly liked the the integrations with Strava (ELEMNT bike computer) and with Beachbody TICKRx– for the aspirational outdoor athlete, the suite of products from Wahoo can help connect the dots from indoor to outdoor.
CASIO PRO TREK F20 SMARTWATCH
Product Name: Pro Trek Smart
Why it matters: CASIO’S first line of smartwatches opens with a strong, if not huge, touch-screen face and serious functionality. It also wins the ‘most promoted gadget at and around CES’. Importantly, the map functionality works even when cell signal is lost. The F20 supports map data downloads through Mapbox, an open source and popular GIS software, and receives signals from American, Japanese and soon Russian GPS sattelites. This means only in the tightest slot canyons will you lose signal. Release date is expected on April 21, 2017.
Product Name: Link
Why it matters: This super-portable 2TB storage and upload/download unit is device-agnostic and has an on-board processor that makes uploading video and large image files much more time-efficient. It uses near-field tech that facilitates automatic upload starts once in proximity (for example, in your pocket) without wi-fi. Great backup solution and speed-to-market of audio/video solutions.
Other cool stuff I wanted to share:
Possibly the most impactful experience at CES2017 was a panel discussion on the sharing economy and how disruption will continue in travel and tourism. Leaders from Toyota, AirBnB, Lyft, University of Michigan’s experimental ‘M City’, American League of Cities, and Reddit discussed the dynamic marketplace of the sharing economy with a lean to the future. If there was any question about autonomous vehicles and the IoT coming to your town, better get ready.
Regardless of your status as an outdoor tech geek or luddite, electronics and technology built into and supporting outdoor adventures is here to stay… and will be a growing story as wearables and sharables improve. Stay tuned for more relevant insights into products from the other January trade shows.
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