The Consumer Electronics Show—better known as CES—consistently gathers the most influential technology companies from around the world. Sure, American brands like Google and Apple and Microsoft have almost no presence at the show, opting instead to host their own special developer conferences. But none of that really matters to the people that attend CES. The convention still manages to gather thousands of people who are all searching for the next big technological breakthrough.
Multi-billion dollar companies (and the people that run them) mingle beside analysts, journalists, investors, researchers and other people who spend their entire year trying to figure out what the future will look like. Not every product is a success—but that’s kind of the point. The conference plays out like a scavenger hunt, with each individual scouring the city for tiny insights. At the end, everyone leaves having a better sense of where technology is going and how fast it will get there.
That’s not to say that CES hasn’t had it’s fair share of failures. Products like netbooks, 3D TVs, and new Android tablets have been marched out in front of eager crowds by the dozens—and never went anywhere. But for every failures, there is a tremendous success that changes our world: videocassette recorders (VCR), Microsoft Xbox, and CD Player have all started their successful runs at CES.
This year, I’m betting big on virtual reality. I’ve seen the VR industry mature at conventions around the world over the last three years: new features, headsets, and games keep popping up by the dozens. Now, it’s finally coming to a boiling point. Before CES 2016 has even started Oculus it will begin taking pre-orders to the first high-end VR headset, Oculus Rift, starting January 6. And that’s just one of the 3,600 companies that attend the convention. We also predicated that HTC will make its own big announcement. And there will be new drones. And TVs. And Speakers. And robots. And everything else that will shape the near-future. I can’t wait.