The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need. Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products. In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied by the company in order to further satisfy the needs and expectations of the customers. In a social context, innovation helps create new methods for alliance creation, joint venturing, flexible work hours, and creation of buyers' purchasing power. Innovations are divided into two broad categories:
- Evolutionary innovations (continuous or dynamic evolutionary innovation) that are brought about by many incremental advances in technology or processes
- Revolutionary innovations (also called discontinuous innovations) which are often disruptive and new.
Innovation is synonymous with risk-taking and organizations that create revolutionary products or technologies take on the greatest risk because they create new markets. Imitators take less risk because they will start with an innovator's product and take a more effective approach. Examples are IBM with its PC against Apple Computer, Compaq with its cheaper PC's against IBM, and Dell with its still-cheaper clones against Compaq.
Best of Show
Samsung Chromebook Plus
Designed with cooperation from Google, the Chromebook Plus is the first Chrome OS device built with Android apps in mind. The 2,400 x 1,600 panel has a digitizer for built-in stylus support, and flips a full 360 degrees for dedicated tablet use. It’s one of the sturdiest Chromebooks we’ve laid hands on, in a field full of systems that cheap out with plastic components and low-resolution panels.
Many automakers are gunning for high-level autonomous vehicles by 2020, which is just a short three years away. To do that, it’s going to take more than just networking a bunch of cameras and sensors to monitor conditions — a car will have to learn what to do when those conditions change. Nvidia’s PilotNet gives cars the brainpower to do just that.
Dell XPS 13 2-IN-1
Dell’s XPS 13, introduced at CES two years ago, was a revelation. It proved not only that Windows laptops can be awesome, but also that they can achieve greatness without copying Apple’s MacBook Pro. The XPS 13’s thin-bezel design and carbon fiber-infused chassis was like nothing we’d seen before. We liked it so much, we gave it our Best Of CES award in 2015.
Monoprice Delta Mini
This year at CES, Monoprice unveiled a 3D printer that costs $150. Let that sink in for a minute. Just a few short years ago, you would’ve been hard pressed to find a decent 3D printer for less than $1000 – but now, you can get one for the same price as an iPod Nano. That, my friends, is a pretty big deal. We’ve finally reached a point where this amazing technology is available to everyone.
Ever since 3D printing broke into the consumer space, proponents of the technology have foretold of a utopian future in which 3D printers are a household staple akin to dishwashers and microwaves — where we can print products on-demand instead of buying them at a store.
Chess may have made its way to computers and smartphones in the roughly 1,500 years since its invention, but the physical board itself hasn’t changed much.
Infivention’s Square Off is changing that with artificial intelligence, magnets, and Wi-Fi. Square Off is a large, hand-crafted rosewood chess set that uses magnets underneath the surface to move pieces — almost as though you’re playing Wizard’s Chess from Harry Potter.
HTC Vive Tracker
The HTC Vive, our favorite product of 2016, is about to get a whole lot more interesting. The HTC Vive tracker is a small black disc that can be attached any supported device and make it visible to the Vive’s room-scale sensors — you can now bring props into VR. VR is still a medium in its infancy, but the Vive Tracker will boost it many steps forward by removing the layer of abstraction created by the controller. Instead of thinking about which buttons to press, you simply act. Everyone knows how to swing a baseball bat. Anyone can pick up a ball with their hands. Moreover, the simple act of holding the real object in your hands, which has a real weight and feel, adds a sensory element to VR that’s simply impossible to emulate with a standard controller.
BeyerDynamics's Xelento Remote
CES 2017 was poised to be the year of the true wireless earbud, and there were plenty of examples on the floor — with varying levels of quality. Battery life issues still plague many of these new wireless wonders, while others simply aren’t ready for primetime when it comes to usability and wireless connectivity. As such, we decided to go the other way this year and choose an example of good old fashioned amazing sound.
GE Firstbuild Paragon Mat
How hot do your stove’s burners get? Aside from an arbitrary number on a dial, you have no idea. Medium-high on your front left burner might not be the same as medium-high on your back left burner, and that’s what GE FirstBuild is trying to fix with its Paragon Mat.
Goldenear Triton Reference
GoldenEar’s statement speakers, the Triton One, stand tall as one of the few speakers (or products in general) to garner a perfect score from our review section, offering a mix of incredible precision up top, a warm and smooth midrange, and what we simply referred to as “Best. Bass. Ever.” This year at CES, GoldenEar has done it again with its uncompromising new flagship towers, the Triton Reference.
Sony Bravia A1E 4K UHD OLED TV
Picking a winner for our Best Tech of CES in the home video category is always difficult – there are usually three or more extremely qualified candidates – but this year, the race was tighter than ever. With Samsung’s new QLED technology and LG’s stunning W7 Series Wallpaper OLED in the mix, a determination took hours of consideration. In the end, though, Sony’s jaw-dropping Bravia A1E OLED TV walks away with our award.
Every year, Digital Trends en Español selects a Latin company doing outstanding work at CES for our Latin Innovation award. This year, it goes to Sur 3D, an Uruguayan 3D printing company that transforms consumers into creators.
Budget phones don’t have to be ugly and boring anymore. The $250 Honor 6X is a new breed of budget phone with a strong dual-camera setup that performs many of the same tricks as Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus for a third of the price. Its slick metal build gives it the look and feel of a premium flagship phone that you’ll be proud to carry with you everywhere. The Honor 6X impressed us with its speedy performance and solid battery life. It’s nearly three times faster than last year’s Honor 5X, which cost $200.
Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 3000
Goal Zero introduced a massive upgrade to its line of Yeti portable power stations at CES 2017. Where the previous models used lead-acid batteries, the new Yeti Lithium line uses Panasonic-made lithium-ion batteries – the same battery technology inside Tesla electric cars. The new battery packs feature a long list of improvements over the company’s previous models, including a more powerful AC inverter, a smart digital screen for monitoring energy consumption, faster charging times, and the ability to daisy chain the batteries to achieve longer run times. The new products also weigh considerably less, making them a much better solution for use while camping, tailgating, or even just around home.
Panasonic Lumix GH5
Panasonic teased us with the Lumix GH5 mirrorless camera last year during Photokina, but it was at CES 2017 where it officially unveiled the highly anticipated camera and revealed all the details – and they’re impressive. The GH5 brings 4K movie capture at 60 frames per second (180fps if you shoot in Full HD), and there’s no time limit (most 4K-capable cameras muster 30fps at 30 minutes). And priced at $1,999 (body only, available in March), it brings professional-level filmmaking to consumers, enthusiasts, YouTubers, and even pros working on a budget.
Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed
Sleep sensors have a lot of potential, but so much depends on position. If you wear it on your wrist, is it really going to take your breathing into account? That’s where a whole smart bed has the advantage, but then the question becomes, what do you do with all that data? Knowing you got a terrible night’s sleep isn’t much good unless you can do something with it. Sleep Number’s 360 Smart Bed can actually act on the data it collects. Sleep Number introduced a smart bed at last year’s CES, but the 360 Smart Bed is more like a responsive bed. It has the same tech but instead of merely offering suggestions for better sleep, it works to help you stay in Sleepy Town.
Sport and Fitness
Garmin Fenix 5S
Digital Trends has been tracking Garmin’s line of athletic- and outdoors-centric Fenix smartwatches since the introduction of the first model in 2013. Not a single model failed to take home either an Editor’s Choice or Recommended award, so it’s little surprise the Garmin’s excellence continues in the new Fenix 5, 5S, and 5X. While the Fenix 5’s 47mm face addresses one of our main complaints with the Fenix 3’s bulkiness, it’s the 5S’s 42mm measure that has us most excited about the new model.
Wollow Breast Pump
Women’s tech is the most overlooked segment of a very big industry. This year at CES, all that changed. A number of interesting companies are innovating in women’s tech, and the star of this year’s show is the Willow breast pump. Any woman who’s breast fed their babies knows the struggle of pumping breast milk. It’s no easy task and it can be painful or difficult to do at work or in other public situations. The breast pump hasn’t changed much in decades, but Willow is changing that. Its smart breast pump is a subtle wearable that slides right into your bra and collects milk without the pain or hassle of a tubular, archaic machine. The pump is easy to clean, small enough to transport without issue, and subtle enough to use in public. A leak proof pouch collects the breast milk for storage or later use, and the app helps you keep track of the dates and times you pumped the milk, so you know what’s fresh. The pump is smart enough to react to different levels of milk production and other changes a woman’s body goes through. Willow is nothing short of a game changer for women, their babies, and their families.