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We all hate folding laundry

The US$980 FoldiMate seems god’s answer if you can wait until late 2019. Yes, it is the size of a dryer but that is a small price to pay. At this stage it can handle shirts, towels and will have its programming expanded to cover more types of clothing. Its interesting as commercial folders cost US$16000 or more.

There were smart appliances everywhere

Courtesy of Qualcomm, Intel and others, embedded IoT system on a chip, anything can be smart now. Not sure if we are ready for a smart toothbrush or toilet. Pretty soon you won’t be able to buy a dumb anything. I think this will become the province of Whirlpoool, Samsung and LG.

You have VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality)

The majority of VR announcements were related to approved third-party Google Daydream sets. But some of these are including the innovative Tobii Eye-tracking technology and that makes a difference. For the present VR remains a strong focus of gaming and music.

ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, HP and Vuzix Blade have or will all release AR headsets this year and these seem to be far more useful. AR seems to be the focus of commercial use.

Networking – it is all about mesh

Linksys Velop, D-Link Covr, NETGEAR Orbi, Huawei Q2, ASUS Lyra Trio, Google Wi-Fi, and many more. The concept is for smaller, AC routers to mesh back to the base and offer whole of home coverage.

The concept is that each node serves as a base for other nodes in the system. This helps the nodes furthest away from the router to deliver a strong Wi-Fi signal as they are talking to other nodes and not relying on one-to-one communications with the router.

Many of these will also become a smart hub for home automation (e.g. Samsung Smart Home Connect).

Big picture

Lots of 5G (after 4G) networks claiming 50x speed increases. Expect to see 5G emerge for consumer use in 2020 or later. For now, it will be focused on smart cities and cars.

Autonomous cars are driven (pun) by technology and Intel, Qualcomm and Nvidia are at the forefront. But almost every major electronics maker as well as Apple and Google have fingers in the pie with hardware and software. Still some years away from commercialisation.

Digital healthcare had a good presence with everything from gene sequencing to make personal medicines to telemedicine and dedicated digital assistants. The term ‘living in a digital time’ was widely used.

Wearables: No great leaps forward.  Soon they will all be waterproof, play music and have their own 4G sim. One area of interest is in athlete training and management leading to sports injury reduction.