Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies, or CEATEC, is Asia’s biggest annual IT and electronics exhibition and is hosted in Chiba in the northern part of Tokyo. We went there to check out the latest gadgetry trends.
This being Japan, the exhibition was full of detailed technology specs and people queueing for hours eager to try out the new products. There was a clear overall focus on smart homes and connected consumer products. It feels like the market has tried to promote smart homes many times over the last decade without succeeding, but now, with mature cloud services and portable devices in every person’s hand, it feels right on time.
Internet of things
All of the big Japanese electronics manufacturers were represented at the fair, showcasing their approach to the Internet of things with labels like ” the Smart home” and “Smart innovation”. In their presentations, they show how all types of home appliances, ranging from ovens and refrigerators to cars and security cameras, can communicate with each other via the cloud and be controlled by portable devices.
NTT DoCoMo, one of the leading mobile operators in Japan, had joined forces with NEC, Panasonic and Sony to showcase how their smartphones can be used to control microwaves, air-conditioning, TVs and other home electronic appliances. Panasonic went even further showing bathroom scales, rice cookers and a blood pressure-measuring device, all connected to the cloud.
Following the power shortages in Japan after the March 2011 earthquake with the subsequent nuclear crisis, there was also a major focus on power-saving information technologies. Toshiba and Mitsubishi, among others, displayed power-saving home electronics and solutions that are linked with solar power equipment for consumers and companies to effectively control their power consumption. On the bigger scale, Fujitsu demonstrated an energy management solution aiming at making social infrastructure smart, as well as unified cloud management of electric power data for a more efficient energy consumption.
Nippon Electric Glass showed demos of their ultra-thin glass that can offer a similar color vibrancy brought by glossy screens with the minimal reflections of matte screens. The glass is currently used as sensor covers inside cameras, but their intention is to expand into the smartphone and tablet market.
Car navigation with augmented reality
Pioneer showcased their new in-car infotainment system CyberNavi. The system’s main perk is the roof-mounted heads-up display displaying navigation information in the driver’s line of sight. Although the intention is great (placing relevant information where it belongs) and that it gives the feeling of being in the middle of Need for Speed, it is hard to see how this system will not interfere with driving safety.
84 inch 4K TV from Sony
Sony demonstrated their new 84 inch LCD panel, XBR-84X900, capable of showing 4K images. This means that the TV has a resolution of 3840x2160, which is close to four times of Full HD. Pre-order now for the humble price-tag of $25,000!
Tosy is a company developing personal robots and hi-tech toys. Two of the more interesting robots that they demonstrated were mRobo, a dancing robot with a built-in speaker that you can use when partying with your friends, and sketRobo, a robot using face recognition and motion detection to create life-like portraits or teach children how to draw.