Interbrand wasn't particularly impressed with this year's CES. In its report, the brand management firm laments the lack of truly useful gadgets, writing that this year's show was lacking in terms of devices that "[solved] a real need."
Technology that solves a need
Fast food giant Domino's is far from a consumer electronics firm, but its showing at this year's CES may have been one of the most impressive. Domino's announcement centered on its partnership with Ford -- soon, customers will be able to order pizza directly from their car's dashboard.
Using Domino's digital ordering app and Ford's in-car connectivity platform Sync, drivers will be able to order and pay for their pizza with a quick tap on the center console. It may not be the most revolutionary technology, but commuters could order their pizza from the freeway and pick it up on the way home, saving themselves time and hassle, and netting Domino's some additional customers in the process.
Technology that advances a vision
German car giants Audi and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz unit were at this year's CES, offering up their visions for the future of automotive technology. Unfortunately, most automobile owners won't get to enjoy their advancements for many years, but their technology certainly appears promising.
Audi's presentation centered on its new Q7 and a prototype version of its A7, one augmented with self-driving capabilities. The A7 prototype isn't fully autonomous -- it has difficulty in dense traffic -- but can handle most driving conditions alone. For its part, the Q7 is loaded with hi-tech features, including deep integration with mobile devices.
Mercedes-Benz's showing was similar, but focused more on the long-term. It showcased its F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car -- a rolling suite on wheels. The F 015 won't be on dealer lots anytime soon, but is designed for the day when self-driving cars are commonplace, and commuters no longer need to focus on the road.
Needs, vision, and technology combined
Interbrand was most impressed with Belkin's offerings, noting that they combined several positive attributes -- technology, needs, and vision -- into a set of cohesive products.
Belkin's CES showing mostly centered on its WeMo brand -- a collection of modules designed to allow consumers to equip their homes with smart functionality. Prior to this year's CES, WeMo included several useful gadgets -- smart light bulbs, light switches, and power outlets -- but Belkin beefed it up considerably with a number of new products, mostly sensors. The new WeMo sensors unveiled at CES can, among other things, track the status of a door or window, monitor a room for movement, and keep track of household water usage.
This year's CES may not have been a revolutionary event, but several of these technologies could prove popular with consumers in the coming years. Audi's and Daimler's may take time to manifest, but the transition to autonomous vehicles appears inevitable. Domino's offering was less visionary, but still combines technology to serve the needs of hungry drivers. Belkin's WeMo appears to be an up-and-coming brand, but unfortunately, investors can't get access to the privately held firm.
Nevertheless, the advancements showcased at CES provide a look at the future of the consumer electronics space.
Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ford. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.