CES 2016 Wrap-Up, Part 2: The Road Less Traveled


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Those who have been following our coverage of CES 2015 and CES 2016 are familiar with our commentary on the bigger, more well-known companies. After all, what member of the CES press corps does not at least mention Samsung, Intel, Sony, and Nikon?

We also digress into coverage of little gems we’ve found, like the In-Win cases I mentioned yesterday, or even things that generate a special interest for us personally. But sometimes we find an entirely new universe of products to learn about and explore. We found such a dimension in the semi-private suites located on the upper floors of the Venetian, the Westgate, Mandalay Bay and other hotels.

dashcam.jpgLast year I was looking for a distributor of various drones and dash cams, and I found 4Sight. With the major advancement in drone capability as well as the quantum increase in drone use and popularity, I decided to visit 4Sight CEO Joe Greenfeld once again this year. I remember Joe discussing the possibility of drones being misused and drone accidents due to the large numbers of them in the hands of unskilled or careless operators.

So off I went to the semi-private suites to see what was new at 4Sight. Yes, there were new and exciting drones, including six-prop, heavy-lift units and some new dash cams. I had seen many drones at the show, but the large six-prop beast with matching controller, including its own monitor, was impressive indeed.

4sight-HP-Car-Cam.jpgAs for dash cams, when I saw how they can protect you from break-ins and from being blamed for an accident that’s not your fault, I had to wonder why we do not see more cars equipped with them. In fact, in the last year 4Sight has started to represent HP, one of the leading suppliers of advanced dash cams such as the 1080p HP f505g car camcorder.

While I was interested in their products, I wanted to get the opinion of an industry insider like Greenfeld about forces that might knock the soaring popularity of drones quickly back to earth.

  • I am sure you have all seen stories with statements such as, “Those hoping to find a drone under their Christmas tree, take note: Starting Monday, federal registration is required.”
  • “The new rule lands amid growing concern over the soaring popularity of camera-equipped hobby drones—and a sharp rise in sightings by alarmed commercial pilots.”
  • “As of early December, 1,158 unmanned aircraft sightings were reported by pilots or crew in the United States, including some close encounters, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. That’s up from 238 such sightings in 2014.”
  • “Responsible users will register; reckless ones won’t, predicts Richard Green, president of Babylon R/C Flyers. The guy that’s flying near an airport or near a plane—he’s not going to register.”

And from Greenfeld himself: “Nobody is addressing the probable use of these drones for terrorist activities.”

I spoke with Greenfeld about the increasing number of drone mishaps, close calls and new regulations aimed at preventing them. We discussed the potential loss of his business volume due to new and potential future regulations, and then I asked him to summarize his opinion about the issue.

“Well, isn't it wonderful that the FAA has put in place these rules and fines for flying drones? The problem is compliance. Most folks don't know about these regulations and even if they do, do you think they will comply? Hardly. The FAA does not have any staff available to hunt these incidents down. The only time that the FAA and the Federal government will get serious about these drones is when tragedy strikes,” said Greenfeld. 

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