1. Connected cars

At least nine major carmakers and more than 100 auto tech firms will appear at CES 2016, according to the Consumer Technology Association, the trade body that runs CES.

Major car companies including Audi, Volkswagen, BMW and Aston Martin will all unveil new car concepts. VW's passenger cars chairman Herbert Diess will give the keynote speech at CES, where he'll be introducing a new electric concept car.

Rumours claim Hyundai and Mercedes may be actually driving their autonomous cars on the road, and have applied to the Nevada government for self-driving certification.


Meanwhile, Audi will preview its next-generation car, the A8, which is due in 2017, according to motoring blog Autocar. Audi itself has said its CES offering will be "an outlook on the automotive future, which will be influenced more than ever by the electronics field."

Finally, secretive Californian startup Faraday Futures (which some have speculated is a front for Apple's car development efforts) will display its fully electric, futuristic car at CES 2016.

According to Accenture's John Curran, who runs the technology practice, security of connected cars will be a major theme. There have been safety issues with self-driving cars because they go too slow for normal traffic and commit violations as a result. "These challenges will be key storylines at CES," he said.

2. Cybersecurity

CES 2016 will hold the first cybersecurity forum at the event, focusing on security challenges and threats pervading several newly adopted technologies, and how security should be designed into new devices.

Accenture's John Curran agreed, warning that the Internet of Things industry would start to stagnate if security issues were not addressed.

"If a device doesn't have security, it doesn't have a market," he said. "There will be stories about how consumers are becoming increasingly interested in using alternatives to passwords. Watch for CES news about alternative biometric technologies such as encryption, two-step authentication, and how these alternative methods will ultimately replace them passwords."

3. Drones

'Amazon Prime Air', a future service that the company says will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones.
'Amazon Prime Air', a future service that the company says will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones.

New CES drone products will be much more autonomous and versatile, able to do much more in the areas of photography, video recording, measurement and navigation, according to Accenture's John Curran. Consulting firm Radiant Insights predicts that drone sales will top nearly $5 billion by 2020.

At CES 2016, there will an Unmanned Systems marketplace, which 26 different exhibitors. Last year, there were 15 exhibitors and the year before, just 4.

In 2017, major technology companies like Amazon and Google are planning to use drones in their distribution and delivery networks.

4. Wearables 2.0

According to CCI Insights, the wearable tech industry is projected to grow 64 per cent over the next three years, reaching $25 billion in 2019 when more than 245 million devices are expected to ship.

The wearables marketplace on the CES 2016 showfloor has apparently more than trebled since last year. Products include a new Mimo baby sleep monitor and the Qardio ECG monitor for your heart.

And it's not just about fitness anymore - wristbands, smartwatches, jewellery and embedded clothing are transforming babycare, parenting, health and fashion.

Accenture predicts that security will be an important sticking point when it comes to wearables - there will have to be better accountability about where the data goes.

5. Virtual & augmented reality

An attendee tries out a Sony Corp. PlayStation VR headset at the Tokyo Game Show 2015. Photo / Bloomberg
An attendee tries out a Sony Corp. PlayStation VR headset at the Tokyo Game Show 2015. Photo / Bloomberg

16 has already been branded the year of VR. Technology giants from Samsung to Facebook and Sony will launch their headsets; Samsung's Gear VR launched for mobile last month.

Facebook's Oculus Rift will launch early next year, followed by the HTC Vive and Sony's PlayStation VR in April. According to the CTA, virtual reality headsets are expected to take off in in 2016 with projected sales up by 500 per cent to 1.2 million units.

The CTA announced that virtual reality exhibits on the showfloor will grow by 77 per cent.

6. Internet of Things

2016 will be the year of ubiquitous sensors - the internet of everything. Gartner predicts there will be more than 50 billion connected devices globally by 2020.

This isn't a new trend for this year - the IoT is currently at the inflated peak of expectations on Gartner's Hype chart and was a huge trend at CES 2015. But the range of objects being connected to the internet is expanding - everything from the locks on our doors to our office lighting, fleets of delivery trucks and our city streets.

Companies showing new products include Netatmo, known for the world's first facial recognition-enabled camera, to Noke, which won the CES 2016 Innovation Award for the world's first bluetooth smart lock.

According to Accenture's predictions, it will be less about hardware and more about consumer security, safety and health.

"For example, this year CES will cover home security services that can check your home is locked while you're away, and medical health devices and services that will tell you what your heart rate is and the fastest route to a hospital in an emergency," says John Curran.

Anti-carjacking technologies will also feature, as part of this shift to security and software, he predicted.

"I think we're living the Internet of Things in many ways," said the CTA's executive director Karen Lightman. "As we move to an interconnected world , you can't get there without sensors."