Want to know the 3 biggest trends in electronics? Check out these trends tech savvy parents should know.

CES, The Consumer Electronics Show, (Jan 9-12, 2018) is the world's largest electronics trade show of companies showing off their newest products. Featuring nearly 4,000 companies with 180,000 attendees from 150 countries.

 

Why Knowing About CES Trends Matter

Our kids will be some of the first early adopters of much of the trending technology and it’s important for parents to understand what our children are about to encounter so we can guide them of the benefits and pitfalls. 

Kids are not just watching content on TVs anymore, in fact, most of the content they view is coming from one of our connected devices that we most likely have handed them. Today’s reality is that as parents we are connected to our devices and our kids are connected to their devices. 

In order to keep everyone connected safer, we need to know what’s new and when it’s possible install or turn on parental controls for new devices.

 

1. Smart Homes Have Smart Speakers

Alexa was one of the most popular products at CES again this year with dozens of products announcing that they had the Amazon’s digital assistant integrated with their product. “CES 2017 saw an explosion of Alexa skills across a number of device categories. We’re going to double down on that at CES 2018,” said Steve Koeing, Senior Director or Research for Consumer Technology Association. 

Smart Speakers had $3.8 billion in revenue last year at a growth of 93% – more than any other consumer tech product. Forward thinking companies are joining the Alexa bandwagon with over 7000 products recently having integrated with Alexa according to Geek Wire and The Verge. 

Even Zift has an integration with Alexa! Check out our Parenting Quotes and Screen Time Advisor.

 

2. Meet Your New Robot Family

While you may have challenges getting family members to act on your requests, there seems to be a robot for almost any need – security, teaching, chores, and even companionship.

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Aibo Robot Dog ($1,700 plus monthly service charge) – Winner of CES 2018 Best Robot

If your family wants a dog but can’t have one due to pet allergies or if pets are not allowed in your building, you might want to check out Aibo. Aibo is a dog companion robot providing “emotional bond with members of the household” and teaches nurturing skills, per Sony. 

Aibo’s behavior is adaptable, with the dog seeking out owners, learning what makes them happy, and gradually growing accustomed to wider environments. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the sounds and images coming through Aibo’s array of sensors. Check out the video below to see Aibo in action.

ElliQ

ElliQ, the social robot to keep “older adults active and engaged.” Currently being tested and developed with the goal of helping older adults benefit from technology that’s intuitive and easy to use to perform simple tasks such as to help take calls, read emails and even give reminders like time to take medication or take a walk. 

Intuition Robotics, the manufacturer, will be starting a beta in California and Florida working with the elderly soon.

 

Luka

Luka ($150), is a kid-friendly owl-themed robot that encourages reading with AI technology that includes hundreds of emotions and feelings to make interacting with the child fun. Luka can read to your child at their own pace and even tracks their progress. 

Ling Technology Co. Ltd collaborated with a Disney animation team to design to create the Luka character. Luka is scheduled to go on sale in the US later this year for children between the ages of 2 and 8. 

 

Jibo

Jibo ($899) is being tagged as the first “social robot for the home” and uses facial and voice recognition to distinguish between different family members. The manufacturers claim Jibo’s AI “learns about you and the people who matter most and fits into your life seamlessly” by recognizing your friends, snapping pics, and learning facts you find interesting. 

Jibo also does the basic Alexa tasks like answer questions, set alarms, reminders, and weather updates but can also dance. Sorry Echo, Jibo can actually out- dance you but we’re not convinced the price tag warrants the costly dance moves.

 

Buddy

Buddy ($1500) has a cheerful and sweet little face and is one of the most pleasant looking robots at the CES show. Like many of the other robots, buddy is described as a companion robot, accompanying the family in its daily tasks, as well as security, entertaining kids and interacting with your home’s smart connected devices. 

Buddy interacts with the users by a mix of voice control, body language, display and remote control (via smartphone/ tablet). Buddy’s AI includes a wide range of emotions with sensors that make him more interactive; for example, if it’s too cold, his teeth may chatter. Optional accessories can be plugged in, such as arms and docking stations for additional interaction.

 

3. Tech that Teaches

As a parent there is no tech that I love more than one that teaches my child a new skill, especially any STEM or STEAM skills like coding.

Root

Root ($199) is a robot that teaches coding, creativity and problem-solving skills to kids as young as four. Root moves, draws, plays music and even comes with a foldout whiteboard and markers. Root’s app features integrated games to unlock three levels of coding designed to grow with the user as their skills and knowledge improve, beginning with simple sequences and patterns and working up to advanced programming languages like Python, JavaScript and Swift.

 

Tello

Tello ($99) is a programmable drone that teaches kids some of the basics of coding. Tello’s manufacturer believes play is an essential part of learning so Tello uses Scratch, an MIT-developed coding system that allows kids and teens to learn the basics of programming while having fun. 

Tello is equipped with a high-quality image processor, that allows the user to shoot incredible photos and videos. Even if you don’t know how to fly, you can record pro-level videos with EZ Shots and share them on social media from your smartphone.


Botley

Botley($80) is a coding robot and 77-piece activity set for the youngest aspiring programmers. Children as young as 5 can learn the basics of coding using Botley. Like other coding products for children, advanced features grow with your child’s skill level. The 77-piece activity set includes: Coding cards, detachable arms, interactive obstacles, and kids coding games for endless hours of fun and learning.

 

 

About Kristin MacLaughlin

Mom of three, fosters rescued dogs, and is helping to drive the conversation about digital parenting as VP of Consumer Marketing for Zift.

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