It is never boring at CES, from a technologies and products point of view. This year, I thought I would pay attention to strange things rather than specific trends. A clarification first. By strange, I don’t mean bad, but something I would never think of. There were plenty of strange things in very successful products. Think for example about the first time Bell tried to sell their phone service, “Mrs. Jones, with this product you can talk to Mr. Smith across town” to which she replied, “Why would I want to talk to Mr. Smith?”

The first stop was Eureka Park at the Venetian, where 1,200 startups from all over the world exhibited their best ideas. A rocking bed, which moves left and right while you lay down, seemed to be appreciated by the gentleman who tried it. A voice-activated coffee machine that would brew a coffee when you said “Yo, make me a coffee!” A robot that carries your beer and snacks to the couch (I need that!). Monitors shaped like windows that change what you see “outside.” A cocktail maker that always makes you the perfect drink. A robot that claps because everyone likes clapping.

Moving to the Las Vegas Convention Center where big companies exhibit, I saw two people in the Qualcomm booth sitting in front of each other and typing on a phone without looking up, presumably playing a game. At the Panasonic booth, next to its competitors LG, Samsung and other TV manufacturers, not a single TV was displayed, but a variety of cool product concepts. Finally, a full-size Bell helicopter with six drone-like propellers that looked like a spaceship.

The question is: which of these products are going to be successful? I am sure everyone will have his or her opinion!

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Roberto Aiello
Managing Director, Itron Idea Labs - Itron Idea Labs
Dr. Roberto Aiello is the managing director of the Itron Idea Labs and responsible for new business innovation at Itron, including Internet of Things.

His previous experience includes managing wireless research at Interval Research, Paul Allen's technology incubator and technology transfer at Disney Research. He is an advisor to Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) and is a Lean Startup expert who serves as a mentor at the Cleantech Open and Startup Weekend.

Dr. Aiello also founded two venture-funded, wireless semiconductor companies and one web/mobile startup. Dr. Aiello worked as a physicist at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Superconducting Super Collider.