Which Trends Wowed at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show? Target Leaders Share Their Faves

January 6, 2017 - Article reads in
CES logo alongside photos from the conference
Logo courtesy of cesweb.org

It’s a big job bringing our Target guests the very latest in a broad range of products—from baby gear to essentials for nutrition and exercise. One of the fun parts? Staying on top of (and geeking out on!) the hottest trends in each category. This week, the quest for innovation took several of our top leaders to Las Vegas for the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), to join tech brains from around the world as they shared big ideas, launched new products and introduced next-generation innovations to the marketplace.

Throughout the week, Target leaders walked the floor, sharing and discovering more about the future of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality, robotics and more. Gene Han, vice president of consumer IoT and head of our San Francisco innovation office, took part in a panel called IoT and Smart Home: Changing Business Models, where he spoke about how connected products need to be more affordable and able to solve real problems in order to appeal to more consumers.

As the conference wraps up, we asked our leaders to share some of their favorite discoveries, and dish on some of the hottest tech trends coming in 2017:

Ford displays a new hybrid car

“It's fascinating to see the progress and sheer volume of new technology. As we’ve seen in recent years, connected devices continue to be a mainstay at CES. This year, the acceleration of voice-activated platforms is changing the game—everything from cars to core electronics to sporting goods and more.  The noticeable change this year is the increase in guest usage and adaption as these devices become more mainstream. Consumers want convenient solutions that will simplify their lives.” —Scott Nygaard, senior vice president, merchandising, hardlines

People stand in front of two robotics booths

"I think that Artificial Intelligence (AI) integration will become the new mobile integration. Basically, if a product doesn’t have some sort of AI component, it won't be taken seriously." —Ryan Broshar, managing director, Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator

A man interacts with a robot holding a smart tablet

“I'm blown away by how quickly voice-controlled platforms and intelligent assistants have grown over the past year. The success has led to a race to quickly connect as many products and services to voice as possible. Many have described voice technologies as the 'glue' that will hold together the next wave of computing and technology and you can see that coming to life at CES this year with numerous announcements about new capabilities and partnerships. I'm excited to see the progression of the technology itself over this next year and how it can simplify our guests' lives.” —Ryan Beach, vice president, merchandising

Plants growing on a grow wall

“As I walked the show, I was struck by how innovation is centered around the human problem that technology solves, and no longer about just the data or the device itself. I saw robots that will do simple tasks for us and technology that moves beyond fitness stats to monitor our moods and identify what makes us happiest, provide a health checkup with results when doctors aren’t available or adjust our body temperature with smart clothing.” —Kristi Argyilan, senior vice president, media and guest engagement

A man experiences virtual reality using a headset and pod at an interactive display

“In 2017, we’ll see a much bigger presence of voice technology, and it will accelerate connected device adoption. The voice interface will ‘humanize’ the tech, because everyone knows how to talk to something.” —Gene Han, vice president, consumer IoT, and head of Target’s San Francisco innovation office

"For me, the power of CES is about seeing larger trends that are on the horizon. This year, there were two trends that will shape the way I think about the year. First, computing technology is growing quickly, which helps explain why there is so much automation being developed for things like driverless cars, health diagnostic tools and dryers that fold your clothes. Second, CES was a good reminder on the power of data and how it can enable us to serve our guests even better.” —William White, vice president, marketing

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