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Drones invade CES 2016 says D&H Canada leader

The Ehang 184 drone was the biggest drone on display at CES 2016. The Ehang drone is a low altitude aerial vehicle that can take a person on a medium to short distance flight

Greg Tobin, the general manager of D&H Canada has been attending the CES show in Las Vegas for many years and has seen numerous innovations from the event.

But in 2016, he told CDN that he has never seen such a huge emphasis on drones. In previous years there were but a few drone exhibits at CES, Tobin said. In 2016 the entire south hall of the CES show floor was all drones.

“It’s been very focused on drones this year. It reminds me of how the selfie increased in popularity from the mobile phone. I think the next step in photography is from drones taking shots to give the elevated effect or extreme pictures from 200 feet up. I see a lot of that coming down the pipe,” he said.

One of the more interesting drones was the submarine drone where people can pay between $300 to $400 to see the bottom of the lake.

Some of the drones that made an impact at the CES 2016 show are:

  • If size matters than the EHang drone stole the show at CES. The EHang is big enough to fit a person as its more than five-feet tall weighing in at 500 pounds plus. The cost is estimated to be about $300,000.

ehang-flying dronesmall

  • It’s more of a camera than a drone and to Tobin’s point the Lily Camera Drone is being positioned as a GoPro that follows you were ever you go. This waterproof device of sorts is lightweight at 1.3KGs and can make recordings in 1080p. The cost is roughly $800.

lily-camera-dronesmall

  • The most popular drone on the market is from DJI and they too had a big presence at CES after 10 years in business with the Phantom 3 4K drone that uses Wi-Fi to transmit video. It too is priced at around $800.
  • There were a lot of drones from Chinese manufacturers such as Yuneec. Its Typhoon drone is targeted at professional aerial photographer so it is niche and it comes with a niche price of $1,800, but can take 12 megapixel photos and 4K video.
  • From France comes the Parrot Disco drone, a wing-shaped object that requires no piloting skills.
  • Finally Autel Robotics of Bothell, Wash., showcased its X-Star line of drones at CES that are consumer priced starting at under $600. The X-Star drone has a 4K camera and can sync up with a smartphone or tablet.

Tobin sees wearables becoming a strong market than in 2015 along with wireless portable audio and 4K displays.

For channel partners the CES show indicated to Tobin that storage and networking will still be growth areas this year. “With video consumption and files this market will boom backed by increased adoption of SSD,” Tobin said.

Cyber security is one topic that generated a lot of discussion at CES, even though it did necessarily lead to a lot of security products being displayed at the show, Tobin added.

“It’s unfortunate, but cyber security is big with ongoing threats.” There was a lot of talk about it amongst the patrons of the show, Tobin said.

Greg Tobin

Greg Tobin

As for 2016 D&H Canada objectives, Tobin is on the looking for more staff. He said that the company has a big growth objective for 2016. D&H Canada enjoyed 28 per cent growth and the distributor was up in all categories except for desktops where they remained flat.

“We are going to continue to invest in the sales team and it’s clear to me that we need more people with 35 per cent growth in shipping orders. We need more employees,” he said.