Alexa, What’s new at CES this year?

Alexa, What’s new at CES this year? - A person riding a motorcycle with a side view mirror of a car - CES

It starts with a bang every year. For us, in the tech business, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the place to be. This show sets the expectation of which trends many of the tech companies are focusing on and gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect throughout the year.

I’m here for another year showing the coolest gadgets and technologies coming out of the show on major Spanish-speaking networks in the U.S. and I have to confess, it doesn’t get easier. Why? I’ve been receiving pitches for new product launches for months now but these last two weeks, it intensifies to the point that my inbox is flooded every day. I’m not complaining, I’m just telling you how it is.

This year, it looks like it’s the year of voice. Hundreds of voice-activated gadgets from thermostats to TVs will be hitting the floor. The three major platforms are Amazon, Google and Apple’s Siri and it feels like everyone is trying to interact with them in one way or another. The growth of voice-activated devices has been unprecedented. 

“Customers purchased millions of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices this weekend, and Alexa devices were the top sellers across all of Amazon,”  Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices & Services, said in a statement to Tech Crunch.

Bezos’ plan is working and the voice shopping trojan horse is being planted in millions of households. When people say, “Alexa, buy me some batteries”, Amazon will happily send you a pack of their conveniently house-branded Amazon Basics batteries and they will successfully cut out the middle man once again.

What does this mean for us the consumers?

An interesting world where once again the ecosystem you choose will dictate many things for you. Are you an Alexa household or a Google one? I won’t mention Apple because I think Siri has been pretty useless lately.

I think that after the hype is gone, we’ll find out what people are really using them for and the reality is that, like every year, the people will decide what works for them. We’ve been to enough of these shows where trends that were supposed to rule the world died with a whimper and some obscure gadget shown in a dark lonely corner of the show went ahead and took over the world.

We use voice assistants quite a bit around our house. From helpful timers, to turning lights on and off to using the TV when we can’t find the remote, controlling the AC and playing music for our toddler and even for ourselves from time to time.

Will there be a voice-enabled assistant in every home? It really depends if the manufacturers can keep it together by addressing the security concerns head on and keeping the vulnerabilities and related scandals to a minimum.

On my end, I look forward to walking the CES floor for another year, I brought a nice new pair of sneakers to do that, and I can’t wait to try to activate all kinds of gadgets and gizmos by talking to them, that is if the devices can hear anything with all the surrounding noise in the exhibit halls.


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