CES 2015 – the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
A stage for interaction between different technologies.
CES (known as COMDEX, or the Computer Dealers’ Exhibition, until 2004) and Las Vegas go together like Frankfurt and its Motor Show IAA. For years these distinctive combinations – well, brands – have been attracting droves of international visitors and dominate the global media landscape for an entire week. There is one difference, however: CES has transformed dramatically in recent years and in 2015 once again reflected technological change.
While the Consumer Electronics Show was always known for showcasing the latest developments from the entertainment, PC and mobile communications sector, it is now becoming more and more like an intermediary, bridging between the different industries. This also makes it the ideal platform for a brand like Mercedes-Benz.
Better than a Christmas present.
On the night before the show officially began, the time had come for Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, to unveil the concept during his keynote address at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Like a little kid at Christmas, I had been looking forward to this for over four weeks, having gained a first inkling and brief impression at the TecDay event in Sunnyvale at the start of December. Following a short and self-deprecating speech, the complete package rolled onto the stage: the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion.
An advanced vehicle.
When asked for predictions for the next five years at developer conferences, I sometimes have to take a pretty big swing. When it came on stage in a packed-out ballroom, though, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept vehicle showed that it is ten, maybe fifteen, years ahead of current developments.
In just a few minutes, it made a huge mark: Look, it seemed to say, this is how our designers and developers see the future of the automobile and we cannot wait to implement these ideas.
In undefined space.
It is my job to report on the latest technologies and to talk to the developers working at manufacturers. I give feedback, make my remarks and, every so often, suggestions. Primarily I am interested in what is under the “bonnet”, so to speak. With the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion, however, this is the wrong approach. When you sit in the cocoon-like passenger compartment and rotate the front seats by 180 degrees, you will not only see what I mean – you will sense that this is an entirely new concept.
The atmosphere suddenly changes. You are no longer sitting in a vehicle that gets you from A to B. You are entering totally new territory somewhere between starting point and destination, which can be used and defined by you.
Windows on new functions.
The 360-degree display positively invites you to touch it. You want to know what functions are available and, although the large screens encourage interaction, you never feel overwhelmed.
The designers avoid information overload by ensuring fluid integration and personalised links. Ultimately, the aim is to show only what the user needs to see in the right context for the particular time and place.
The perfect invitation to work.
The bright interior, blue LED lights and wooden floor create an atmosphere of stylish well-being that reminds me more of a lounge than a car. You would not only like to travel in this space – You would like to engage in stimulating conversations with your fellow passengers or even to experience a kind of mobile office. Not only is there enough room but it is practically irresistible. There are myriad possibilities for using this space productively in future.
At home in the midst of technology.
Clearly, I am also interested in the technical specification of the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion. After a few minutes, though, this aspect really did not seem that important. This is ambient computing for the road: technology that surrounds us, but which presents no barriers and is made easy to use.
All in a space that makes you feel safe and at home. That is exactly what Mercedes-Benz has achieved with the F 015 Luxury in Motion and what made it the most talked about launch at CES 2015.