On the floor at CES 2017: Smart devices reign

Razer’s multi-color backlit keyboard and mouse caught Joel’s attention with its use of colored LEDs as an accent.

February 16, 2017 – For the past 50 years, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has dazzled attendees with the latest innovations in consumer technologies. From January 5-8, more than 175,000 visitors from all over the world gathered in Las Vegas to see a variety of these trends first-hand—from the integration of artificial intelligence to cutting-edge advances in wearables. Among those in attendance was Covestro’s Joel Matsco, polycarbonates industrial marketing – North America. While on the floor at CES, Joel was able to experience these state-of-the-art products first-hand, and shared with us a few of the top trends that left a lasting impression.

One overarching trend that caught Joel’s attention was the integration of “smart” capabilities across a variety of products—including home automation and smart home devices. Among these were doorbells, thermostats, cameras, entrance monitors, air purifiers, room-to-room communication and control panels—just to name a few. These electronics are largely designed using neutral colors, such as white, black, grey and metallic hues—enabling them to blend into the background.

Joel also took note of interesting design trends among kitchen appliances. Many new refrigerators now come with “smart” capabilities, including the ability to connect to Wi-Fi to share information such as the weather, calendar entries, email and more. These refrigerators can even tell users when they need to buy more milk! In terms of aesthetics, stainless steel exteriors continue to remain the trend. Joel pointed out that some of these appliances feature new smaller, modular storage configurations for refrigerator compartments to minimize the loss of cold temperatures when the doors are opened and increase the amount of food storage per cubic foot.

Among wearables, Joel noticed the trend of smart jewelry and garments. These devices come stocked with a variety of features, including movement and location tracking, heart rate and blood pressure monitoring, voice command, application access and built-in cameras. According to Joel, these wearables mimic designer looks—featuring metallic finishes and natural materials rather than other materials traditionally used in fitness trackers. Smart watches released in late 2017 and early 2018 are expected to be compatible with 4G/5G.

The use of LEDs and designing with light was another popular design choice at CES. One brand that stood out to Joel was Razer, a maker of connected devices and software for gamers. These products include gaming notebooks, desktops, headphones, controllers and keyboards. Razer’s multi-color backlit keyboard caught Joel’s attention with its use of colored LEDs as an accent. He noted that many other gaming brands use a similar look in their products.

It’s evident that there were many eye-catching technologies and products on display at CES 2017. Is there a particular trend that intrigues you most? If so, let us know by emailing plastics@covestro.com.

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