CES 2016

Best of CES 2016 in pictures: The year IoT took over

The best of CES 2016 in pictures, featuring a whole lot of IoT, smart home, and wearable technology.

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IoT, home networking dominate CES 2016

CES 2016 kicked off this week with a clear shift in focus from the smartphones and tablets of the past few years to the increasingly connected home and the spread of the Internet of Things. Smart home-related technology can be found anywhere at CES this year, while maximizing the home network has reemerged as a top priority to accommodate both the IoT and the rise of streaming content.

Keep up to date with all the news out of CES here.

Ericsson’s enterprise IoT support software
Credit: Ericsson
Ericsson’s enterprise IoT support software

Ericsson announced a number of solutions aimed at helping enterprises and service providers capitalize on the rapid rise of the IoT. Its Smart Metering as a Service aims to make energy metering easier and more accurate for utility providers, ultimately resulting in safer service and more accurate billing for customers. Its User Data Consolidation solution, meanwhile, aggregates data created by connected devices and sensors, including both cellular and non-cellular devices and even from network databases provided by other vendors, and analyzes it for efficiency and new opportunities.

keezel vpn final 2
Credit: Keezel
Keezel personal VPN device

Aiming to provide on-the-go cybersecurity and privacy for mobile users who are increasingly dependent on questionable Wi-Fi networks, the Keezel is a small device that can connect wirelessly or plug into a laptop to create a Virtual Private Network. This means even those browsing on unsecured Wi-Fi can secure their own browsing from hackers snooping on the network’s traffic. The device is small enough to carry in a laptop bag, and Keezel claims the battery is larger than that of most powerbanks on the market.

TP-LINK’s SR20 Smart Home router
Credit: TP-LINK
TP-LINK’s SR20 Smart Home router

TP-LINK designed a new router as a network hub for the increasingly connected home, complete with support for Zigbee and Z-Wave standards and a dedicated touchscreen for control. The SR20 can provide push notifications to a mobile device through the Kasa mobile app, which can also control the router, to alert users of safety or functionality issues with their connected home appliances.

Huawei’s impressive Mate 8 smartphone
Credit: Huawei
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Huawei’s impressive Mate 8 smartphone

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei showed the Mate 8, the first smartphone running the company’s new Kirin 950 chipset, which features four ARM Cortex A72 2.3 GHz processors and another four Cortex A53 1.8 GHz processors. The Mate 8 runs the Huawei 4.0 operating system – which is based on the latest version of Android, 6.0 Marshmallow – and features a 6-inch, 1080x1920-pixel display that is comparable with that of Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus and Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge.

NETGEAR’s Nighthawk X4S AC2600 Smart Wi-Fi Router
Credit: NETGEAR
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NETGEAR’s Nighthawk X4S AC2600 Smart Wi-Fi Router

At CES, NETGEAR announced a router that it boasts is capable of supporting 4K streaming video along with the explosion of devices connected in the home. The latest edition of NETGEAR’s Nighthawk router boasts a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, support for 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi, 2.5Gbps speeds, and NETGEAR claims it provides twice the throughput on 160MHz-capable mobile devices than other routers.

Linksys AC5400 tri-band Wi-Fi router with MU-MIMO
Credit: Linksys
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Linksys AC5400 tri-band Wi-Fi router with MU-MIMO

Designed for the impending deluge of bandwidth from 4K video, online gaming, and the rise of streaming content, the tri-band AC5400 comes with MU-MIMO and supports 802.11ac Wave 2, with data transfer speeds up to 5.3Gbps. The AC5400 is priced at $399.99 and is expected to be available in April.

Linksys AC2600 USB MU-MIMO adapter
Credit: Linksys
Linksys AC2600 USB MU-MIMO adapter

Linksys claims its AC2600 is the first MU-MIMO-enabled adapter on the market. The thumb drive-sized device is compatible with any Wi-Fi router, making it perfect for those who own laptops that are enabled for AC Wave 2 or MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, but have yet to buy a router that provides it. The AC2600 is priced at $59.99 and Linksys says it will be available this spring.

D-LINK Wi-Fi smoke alarm alerts you when you’re not home
Credit: D-LINK
D-LINK Wi-Fi smoke alarm alerts you when you’re not home

There was a time when the smoke detector was a novel technology. The mydlink Smart Alarm Detector leverages the IoT to take it a step further. The device plugs into an electrical outlet and can identify the sound of a smoke or carbon monoxide detector in the home. If the alarm goes off while the user isn’t home, the device sends a notification to the user’s smartphone, enabling them to alert authorities remotely and potentially save their home from burning down. Support for IFTTT recipes can automate emergency response as well.

D-LINK
D-LINK Unified Home Wi-Fi Network kit

Aiming to alleviate the stress of multiple devices streaming content throughout the home, D-LINK announced the Unified Home Wi-Fi Network kit, a combination router and extender with serious bandwidth. The tri-band router boasts up to 1733Mbps speeds on each of the two 5GHz bands and 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and features MU-MIMO. The dual-band extender offers up to 867Mbps on a 5GHz band and 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. And the kit’s Smart Steering software helps devices connect to the strongest signal. The kit will be available in Q2 2016 for $369.99.

NXP’s new Bluetooth Low Energy chip
Credit: NXP
NXP’s new Bluetooth Low Energy chip

With an eye on the growing market for wearable devices, NXP announced at CES a new Bluetooth Low Energy System on a Chip, the QN 9080. NXP claims the QN 9080 is “the world’s most power-efficient” Bluetooth SoC, boasting an ARM Cortex architecture, a fusion signal processor, and a 2.4 GHz radio Bluetooth to achieve what NXP claims is 40% greater efficiency and the ability to provide twice the battery life as the next-closest competing chip.

dash
Credit: BRAGI
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DASH wireless ear buds

Through a partnership in which it incorporated NXP’s NFMI transceiver technology and its Kinetis K24 microcontroller, BRAGI showed its DASH wireless ear buds. While the device is capable of streaming audio from a smartphone via Bluetooth, it won’t always need to. Designed for rigorous exercise, DASH also features in-ear biometric sensors – complete with live audio feedback on exercise metrics like heart rate and steps – along with built-in wireless calling and its own integrated 4GB music player.

Qkey brings chip-and-pin security to online shopping
Credit: uQontrol
Qkey brings chip-and-pin security to online shopping

With Qkey, uQontrol aims to extend the same security of new chip-and-pin credit cards to online shopping. Through a one-time setup process, users can store their credit card information and favorite online shopping sites. Then, to use it, the device needs to be plugged into a PC or tablet’s USB post and a PIN number needs to be entered into a smartphone to confirm the purchase. UQontrol says the device, which is available for pre-order, will ship in the second quarter of this year, and that it is planning to release an SDK soon.

avg photo cleaner final
Credit: AVG
Smart Photo Cleaner to save smartphone storage

Aiming to solve the all-too-common problem of filling up a smartphone’s storage capacity with photos, AVG announced its Smart Photo Cleaner tool. Available only for Android, Smart Photo Cleaner is an update to the AVG Cleaner for Android app that automatically recognizes low-quality and duplicate images stored on the device to help users quickly save storage space.

Hexoskin Smart: “Smart shirt” compatible with exercise apps
Credit: Hexoskin
Hexoskin Smart: “Smart shirt” compatible with exercise apps

Hexoskin announced updates to its Smart clothing line, which comes with sensors that collect data on things like heart rate, breathing, movement, and sleep. Using Bluetooth Smart technology, the smart shirts can now connect directly to activity monitoring apps Strava, Runkeeper, and Endomondo for iOS and Android.

Cassia Hub: Bluetooth extender
Credit: Cassia
Cassia Hub: Bluetooth extender

Cassia announced what it calls the “world’s first Bluetooth router.” The Cassia Hub uses a proprietary technology developed by a former Cisco and Aruba executive that extends Bluetooth range to 1,000 feet in open space and can control up to 22 devices simultaneously. With the growing list of Bluetooth devices coming into the smart home – from speakers to light bulbs to door locks – the Cassia Hub may become an important technology.

Luma’s “surround Wi-Fi”
Credit: Luma
Luma’s “surround Wi-Fi”

Aiming to solve problems that any Wi-Fi user is all too familiar with, Luma devices act as Wi-Fi access points designed and priced for use in the home. The system also incorporates an app that shows who is accessing the network (like freeloading neighbors), grant and revoke access to the network, and establish parental controls. The company, which only launched in November and showed its products for the first time publicly at CES, is taking pre-orders, with up to three Luma devices available for $249.

influx router dock final
Credit: INFLUX
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INFLUX Wi-Fi router dock that boosts signal range

Canadian networking company INFLUX announced its new Router Dock product, which sits beneath a router and increases its signal strength by as much as 50%. In fact, the company claims tests in controlled environments showed up to four-times the signal strength out of the box. The Router Dock is designed to deflect the signals that cause background interference and drag down wireless performance. The device doesn’t require any setup or software, and it doesn’t even need to be connected to a power source.

Sengled smart LED lightbulbs double as speakers
Credit: Sengled
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Sengled smart LED lightbulbs double as speakers

Smart home company Sengled announced its audio-enabled smart LED light bulbs at CES. The Pulse Flex is a 13-watt Bluetooth-enabled speaker built into an LED light bulb, enabling audio streaming from a tethered device to play in any room in the house that has light bulbs. And the Sengled Voice is a similar device equipped with microphones and voice control software. That means you can turn lights on and off with voice commands, but also that your connected light bulbs can ask as a baby monitor or security system throughout the home.

Keyssa data transfer aims to eliminate adapters in devices
Credit: Keyssa
Keyssa data transfer aims to eliminate adapters in devices

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Tony Fadell, who has been named “one of the fathers of the iPod,” serves as an adviser to Keyssa, a company promoting touchless data transfer to replace “unsightly holes in otherwise beautiful products.” Keyssa offers a coffee-bean sized wireless connector based on solid state, electromagnetic, and materials technology. The connector can be installed anywhere in a device and is capable of transferring data at speeds up to 6Gbps between two devices placed within close proximity of each other, through what Keyssa calls “Kiss Connectivity.”

Snuza Pico: A wearable for babies
Credit: Snuza
Snuza Pico: A wearable for babies

Snuza makes small sensors that attach to babies’ diapers and monitors their abdominal movement, skin temperature, and sleeping position. Parents can connect their smartphone to the device via Bluetooth Low Energy (up to 30 meters), and can consult an app that displays data on the baby and alerts them of any signs of risk. The device is small and designed to clip onto the diaper without touching the babies’ skin, aiming to provide assurance to parents without disturbing the baby.

360fly camera captures 360 video
Credit: 360fly
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360fly camera captures 360 video

The rise of virtual reality, along with increasing support for 360 video on sites like YouTube and Facebook, creates a new world for the video industry. 360fly, the only single-lens camera designed for capturing interactive 360-degree video, announced at CES it will be available at select Best Buy stores and at BestBuy.com. The camera provides the ability to shoot, edit, and share 360 video, and the video can be viewed as a VR experience with Google’s Cardboard device, which turns a smartphone into a VR device. You can see a video showing different use cases for the 360fly camera here.

SparTag motion sensor for sports
Credit: Cambridge Consultants
SparTag motion sensor for sports

To showcase its smart motion sensor SparTag, Cambridge Consultants attached it to a baseball bat and collected the data it shows on the swing. Combining a three-axis accelerometer, a gyroscope, and a magnetometer, the device provides accurate data on trajectory, orientation, and acceleration. The baseball bat is just an example of the many use cases that could be possible with the device. You can read more about it and watch a video on the SparTag system here.

Muzzley: Smart home control from a smartphone
Credit: Muzzley
Muzzley: Smart home control from a smartphone

Rather than installing yet another device to act as a hub for connected smart home products, Muzzley turns the smartphone into a control center. The app – available for iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone – supports the Nest thermostat, WeMo light switches, and dozens of other smart home devices. The company also claims it is developing a new “intelligent feature,” which will suggest home settings for the user, such as an optimal temperature on a smart thermostat when you walk in the door.

ETwater Unity monitors water usage
Credit: ETwater
ETwater Unity monitors water usage

With technology that might be especially pertinent in drought-stricken California, ETwater Unity is a combination smart monitor and mobile app that provides data showing how much water is being used and, more importantly, how much users should be using. The ET Unity device attaches to a sprinkler system to automatically deactivate when it has surpassed water usage levels. The mobile app combines all relevant data – from the types of plants and soil to relevant weather info – to provide an accurate estimate on the proper amount of water to use. And the company recently announced a new product development kit and APIs for open software and hardware, inviting developers to create new tools using the system.

Zeiss VR One links virtual reality to drone video streaming
Credit: ZEISS
Zeiss VR One links virtual reality to drone video streaming

Zeiss announced at CES that its VR ONE virtual reality headsets, which link to Android and iOS smartphones in a similar fashion to Google Cardboard or Samsung’s Gear VR, are now compatible with mobile apps for the Parrot Bebop drone, the Microdrone 3.0, and drones from DJI. This means VR users can view drone footage in real-time through an immersive virtual reality experience.

Fasetto’s Link, a wireless data transfer device
Credit: Fasetto
Fasetto’s Link, a wireless data transfer device

Cloud storage and file sharing company Fasetto announced a new version of its Link device, a wireless Solid State Drive (SSD) designed to transfer and store large amounts of data without connecting hardware or relying on a wireless network. Say you want to backup a large amount of photos from a digital camera. Using the company’s ARCH transport, the digital camera’s Wi-Fi card connects directly to the Link device’s Wi-Fi card for a quick transfer. The company says Link can transfer data at up to 1,900Mbps and can stream content to and from as many as seven devices simultaneously.