When you take off in Phoenix and land in Las Vegas, the only indicators that you’ve actually gone anywhere are the flashing lights and ringing of slot machines. When you’re used to attending strictly embedded shows and wind up at CES, the differences aren’t so subtle.
You might wonder why Embedded Computing Design hit the world’s largest consumer tech show, and given the number of cell phone cases and UHD TVs I don’t blame you. But the real theme of the show these days is connectivity, whether you’re talking about the IoT, wearables, 5G mobile, or the connected car. The following is a rundown of some of my standout meetings from CES 2015.
1. ST surges in automotive and wearables
Okay, this briefing actually happened the day before CES officially opened to the public, but I’m sure you’ll give me a pass. Bob Krysiak went through ST Microelectronics’ portfolio, but placed a particular emphasis on automotive and wearables.
2. Open Interconnect Consortium adds interoperability to the Internet of Things
A few months back when I first heard about the formation of the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) I thought to myself, “Do we really need another IoT standards organization?” But during my meeting with David McCall of Intel and Samsung’s Guy Martin, I got a clearer picture of how the OIC framework is stitching together existing networking technologies to ease communications for the IoT developer.
3. NXP advances 77 GHz and the plug n’ play smart home
NXP Semiconductor occupied a portable in the show’s central plaza, and inside I found out why. The company was exhibiting a range of technology, from mobile and wearable devices to IoT connectivity and security solutions. The two demonstrations that piqued my interest at the NXP booth, however, were the automotive radar and smart home commissioning with NFC.
4. QNX concept cars project an ADAS/IVI future
Hands down one of the coolest booths I visited while at CES, QNX Software had two vehicles on display that were retrofitted with their latest technology: a Jeep Wrangler and a Maserati Quattroporte GTS.
5. Lantronix Wi-Fi chip powers mini drone relay
In the unmanned systems section of the show I ran into some embedded technology, but maybe not in the way you’d expect. I found that a small UAV called ZANO integrates a smaller (24 mm x 16.5 mm) Wi-Fi chip from networking company Lantronix that can simultaneously act as both access point and client. This allows ZANO drones, which are controlled via smartphone, to connect to the network and other devices at the same time, essentially allowing a drone (or fleet of drones) to be passed from one smartphone controller to another in somewhat of a relay (for lack of a better word), if the operator(s) so desire(s).
6. Texas Instruments takes the next step in wearables
Another look at auto and the IoT came from TI, who leveraged sensor fusion technology for a couple of active safety demonstrations and took wearables beyond fitness and geo-location.
7. ARM attacks automotive, moves to support the IoT developer
During an automotive roundtable with several other reporters and industry analysts, Will Tu of ARM outlined how the IP licensing company has strategically developed three lines of microcontrollers to feed the needs of tomorrow’s more computerized cars.
8. Spansion sees synergies from Cypress merger
Always one of my better meetings on the conference circuit, Tom Sparkman of Spansion got right into his company’s recent merger with fellow semiconductor vendor Cypress.
9. Who needs Oculus? PNI puts sensor fusion to work in “poor man’s” virtual reality
Here was another pretty awesome showcase – a piece of cardboard and a Nexus 5 phone that coalesced into a virtual reality platform. Okay, it’s not exactly that simple.
10. GreenPeak and ZigBee open doors to the smart home
“The smart home is not a product, it’s an application,” was the message from Cees Links of GreenPeak Technologies, who I met near the ZigBee pavilion at the Sands Expo.
11. Imagination Technologies and the mighty, mighty MIPS
I usually think of Imagination Technologies as primarily a big player in graphics, but a team of Imagination reps showed how through mergers, acquisitions, and a lot of innovation, they’ve become much, much more.
12. Rick Fox ups his game with sensor tech
Do any of you remember Rick Fox? I do. I’m a Phoenix Suns fan and I (painstakingly) remember his years with Kobe, Shaq, and the rest of the Lakers as they routinely bounced us from the playoffs. Here he is using sensor technology to improve his jump shot at the show, though I’m not really sure he needed it.
13. What other cool stuff came out of CES?
If you’ve ever visited CES, you know how big it is. With all my meetings, I couldn’t possibly see it all. If you saw or heard of any other cool trending tech from the show, comment!