Alex Wood, founder and editor of The Memo, says Amazon's Alexa.
Amazon’s Alexa is about to take over the world, in a good way. The home of the future is filled with internet-connected devices but, until now, no one has figured out how we’ll manage all these bleeping and blooping smart machines.
In Las Vegas last week, I think Amazon showed us the answer. Its voice-controlled virtual assistant, Alexa, has already exploded onto the scene by being built into Amazon’s own wireless Echo speaker. But it’s in other machines that Alexa is really starting to shine. Ford is building Alexa into its new cars, LG is adding the assistant’s charm and wit to its fridges, Whirlpool’s new washing machines… you get the idea. I love talking to Alexa on my Amazon Echo, telling it to play music, set timers, control my internet-connected lights, or just answer whatever cryptic question pops into my head with its encyclopaedic knowledge.
Soon that feeling of power won’t be limited to one room, or just one device. Alexa is the most exciting tech of 2017 because Amazon wants it to control your entire life, and it might just succeed.
Will Gibbs, a member of the team at Octopus Ventures, says self-driving cars.
With 2017’s CES at a close, we’ve seen numerous weird and wonderful innovations. For us, the big consumer tech development of this year will be the laying of the foundations for autonomous travel.
It may be years before self-driving cars are commonplace, but a number of major companies and industries are likely to start working together this year, both in terms of innovation and regulation. For example, there is still a great deal of work to be done on data and connectivity for autonomous car development to succeed.
An on-stage discussion at CES between Ericsson head of strategy and tech, Ulf Ewaldsson, and BMW’s vice president of information and communication electronics, Fathi El-Dwaik, highlighted the need for nationwide 5G before cars will have the connectivity and reliability required for critical processes. Similarly, the insurance market will potentially need to innovate quickly, due to the small amount of data available to assess risk. Big insurers may find it hard to adapt.