New Digital Trends for 2017

“Gadget paradise CES (Consumer Electronics Show) comes to Las Vegas every January for just four short days. Fortunately, the stuff unveiled there continues to dazzle and delight us for the rest of the year… What will 2017’s show hold? Here’s my list of the biggest trends to watch for –what you’ll see in the year ahead — as well as a few tips about which companies you should keep an eye on.” J. Kaplan, Digital Trends

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Consumer Electronics Show 2017

Excerpt: Trends You Need to Watch 2017, By Jeremy Kaplan, Digital Trends

“It started out in your phone. You would ask Siri to tell you the weather report or a silly joke. But artificial intelligence and digital assistants are no laughing matter: They are likely the way most Americans will experience the Internet of Things (IoT) explosion, and are finally a cheap and easy way for mere mortals to automate their homes as only the wealthy once could…This will be the first year in which AI-generated art will achieve commercial success.

When the Consumer Electronics Show officially starts next week in Las Vegas, all eyes will be on new midrange smartphones set to debut at the show. SiliconANGLE

During the last few years, we’ve seen small new companies with big visions transform and disrupt the world. Nest kicked the whole IoT thing into high gear, Uber changed the taxi world, and so on. Both blossomed into enormous companies, of course, but the point remains: small companies have done big stuff. This year big names like Comcast and Netflix and Hulu and Amazon may drive the most interesting changes. Take Amazon and its push into artificial intelligence. Sure, other companies are doing it, but it’s the Echo and the Dot that you’ll end up buying.

Amazon Echo

You’ll read about several hundred companies unveiling 360-degree cameras at CES. Yes, this is neat: Imagine how much more interesting your next selfie is going to be when you can see the band playing behind you, or the mountain peak you stand on…  Insta360 will show off its new camera, which takes 8K 360-degree images.

Insta 360-Youtube

Meanwhile, electric cars are everywhere. From today’s Tesla’s to Faraday Future’s far off promise, from the Chevy Volt to the Toyota Prius, electric cars are having a moment. Faraday Future is certainly among the most interesting of a growing group of domestic and overseas companies created with one explicit goal in mind: to take down Tesla Motors.

Bought a TV? You’ll finally appreciate the investment. Content providers are finally catching up to the wave of improvements from panel makers. Watch for news from Netflix, Comcast, Dish, and others. Meanwhile, CES wouldn’t be CES without televisions. Expect dozens of new devices built around 4K content, including a new line of cameras from audio giant Monster, new TVs from Westinghouse, LG, Samsung, and more.

Best Selling Samsung 4k TV

Concerns about Internet of things, which has been used to create giant botnets, will shape future devices. Enter companies like BullGuard, a security company, which is set to unveil Dojo – a security solution meant to protect smart home devices from cyber threats and botnets.”

BullGuard Dojo smart home security device

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Artificial intelligence and digital assistants are popular.
  2. The premise is as smart as it is simple.
  3. This year, they swear we’ll finally get high-resolution audio right.
  4. Astell&Kern will have their line of products on display.
  5. Consumers should also watch for ultra fancy digital preamps.
  6. Many companies are building devices to improve your hearing.
  7. There will be many new start-ups at CES.
  8. Several devices smarten your stove to ensure you haven’t left it on by accident.
  9. All of the major cellular carriers will have a presence at the show.
  10. Top Tech of CES awards will  highlight the show’s most innovative products.

Word Map by Against the Odds


Reading Comprehension


Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following paragraphs taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.,

“Comcast’s Xfinity___ group is another big ___shaping the IoT space. The ___is as smart as it is simple: Why buy___different devices from different ___operating on different ___with different ___when you can just get them all from one place, and manage it on your TV? People appear to be ___ too; according to Ericsson, more than two out of five advanced ___users would like to get all their___from the biggest five IT companies.”

WORD LIST: internet, companies, Home, several, premise, products, company, responding, protocols, apps,

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.


  1. People appear to be responding to the products.
  2. Amazon has pushed into artificial intelligence with the Echo.
  3. Currently there is five big IT companies.


  1. This is the year to get high-resolution audio right.
  2. You can also expect new speaker systems.
  3. Several hundred  company will unveil 360-degree cameras.


  1. One company claims to offer VR without a headset.
  2. Electric cars will be on display.
  3. Zubie, and many other product will make you a better pilot.


Directions: Place students in  small groups.

  1. Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.
  2. Have each group create of a list of digital products they would invent. Groups share their lists with the class.


Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.


Category: Technology