The Internet of Things takes center stage at CES

The Internet of Things has been dominating the conversation at CES this week in Las Vegas. Beyond the predictable slew of product announcements and demonstrations -- which included everything from autonomous connected cars like the Mercedes F015 to tons of new wearable devices -- the increasing ubiquity of sensors and connectivity in consumer electronics has obviously hit another stage in its evolutionary development.

Samsung president and CEO Boo-Keun Yoon took the stage Monday for a keynote address that laid out his company’s vision for “the age of the Internet of Things,” which he said is already here. He’ll get no argument from us: we’ve been documenting the evolution of smart, connected devices for years. But Yoon’s larger point was that successful IoT technologies should focus not on devices, but on human needs and experiences.

“We can’t just talk about the Internet of Things, because it sounds impersonal -- like a bedtime story for robots,” Yoon said. “IoT technology is not about things. Instead, it is about people. … Each of us will be at the center of our very own technology universe: an IoT universe that constantly adapts and changes shape as we move through our world.”

Yoon said that IoT devices “are not tools anymore,” because instead of direct interactions like pushing buttons, users will simply go about their lives and the devices will automatically respond and adapt. In service of this dream, Yoon said that 90 percent of Samsung devices will be IoT-enabled by 2017, with the rest following by 2020 -- all of which will be "open" and add to the broad ecosystem of devices that can connect via the SmartThings platform, which Samsung purchased in August.

Other CES conference sessions and panels discussed connected cars, wearables, sensors, IoT privacy, and more. The Smart Home was a topic of particular interest at the show, with multiple sessions devoted to it, as well as a Smart Home Marketplace on the showroom floor. It was joined by the Sensors Marketplace, which featured technologies that are providing the digital eyes, ears, noses, and myriad less-human-comparable senses to IoT devices.

Here are a few products and companies that stood out to us:

Connected Cycle

A self-powering, mobile- and GPS-connected bike pedal that helps users track their riding activity and locate lost or stolen bikes.

Hemingwrite

For writers whose Great American Novel keeps getting derailed by Facebook and cat videos, this “distraction-free” standalone keyboard features an e-ink display and cloud backup.

Curie

Intel's dime-sized wearables development module is based around its new Quark SE chip, designed with power management in mind for always-on applications.

ReST

A smart bed that uses pressure sensing fabric to monitor and adjust its firmness and comfort.

Check back with Postscapes over the coming weeks for more detailed coverage of these and other products from CES.

Video highlights of major conference sessions can be found at cesweb.org.