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What’s expected at CES this year?

People walk by a sign outside of the International CES, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Q: What new technology gadgets do you expect we’ll see in 2016 from CES?

A: With the annual tech show known as The International CES set to open next week, the speculation on what we’ll see is filling the Internet.

As with most shows, we’ll see a plethora of ‘solutions searching for a problem’ that make most consumers scratch their heads, but there are always insights into what’s likely to be the hot gadgets next year.

Virtual Reality
A number of companies have loosely committed to launching elaborate virtual reality headsets in 2016, such as Oculus Rift and Sony (Playstation VR), but the general expectation is that we’ll see a lot more from the E3 show in June.

For now, you can get a sense of what’s coming by using your smartphone with options like Google Cardboard or Samsung’s Gear VR .

UAVs a.k.a. Drones
Last year’s CES devoted an entire section of one of the convention floors to these aerial devices and the expectation is that it will be even bigger this year.

Despite public backlash and regulatory pressures, the FAA estimated that as many as a million drones would be purchased this holiday season, which is what prompted their new registration requirement for just about anything that can fly.

The biggest improvement will likely be in the cameras that are on-board as they expand to 360 degree and virtual reality cameras as well as night vision capabilities.

Automotive Technology
CES has become a pre-cursor to the North American Auto Show where technological advances and prototypes take center stage.

The race to develop self-driving vehicles is certainly huge, with potential partnerships between Google and several car makers in the works, but general gadgetry is what you can expect in 2016.

The trend has been towards turning your car into the largest tech gadget you’ll own, so expect to see a continuation of merging your smartphone with your car (Siri, Google Now, etc.) and other Internet connected devices in your home.

The IoT ‘revolution’ continues
The Internet of Things was one of the big buzz words from last year’s show, and you can expect it to be even bigger this year.

Lots of easy to install Internet connected devices like thermostats, doorbells, door locks and security cameras as well as connected kitchen appliances and lighting are being sold every day.

The biggest challenge has been getting all of these devices to talk to each other, so expect to see companies gathering and promoting their interconnectivity over any new revolutionary items.

The Robots are still coming
Domesticated robots, such as the Roomba are nothing new, but as the cost of the technology has come down, expect to see more educational/recreational robots that are kid (and pet) friendly.

Wearables
Wearable technology such as Google Glass, smartwatches and specialized connected clothing have failed to gain any market traction because they still lack any real utility.

Most of the devices just feel like unnecessary expensive extensions of what we really cherish: our smartphones, but expect the industry to keep trying!

I’ll be posting what I see at CES at our Facebook page for anyone that’s interested.

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Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services https://datadoctors.com

Ask any tech question at: https://facebook.com/DataDoctors or on Twitter @TheDataDoc.

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