One of the advantages of shows like CES is that you can see everything (or near enough) in a category in one place. Drones had their own 'marketplace' at the show, and also appeared dotted around other areas. What struck me more than anything else was not the innovation in the category, but its ubiquity.
Drones only really began to spring up at trade shows five years ago. These were either heavyweight units the size of a small aircraft or tiny, plastic toys with no range and impossibly delicate controls. Step forward to 2016 and there are now dozens of credible manufacturers offering a wide range of styles of quad/ sexto/ octo-copters for professional and consumer use. Better still camera and computing technology means that these drones are far easier to use, able to position themselves automatically to capture that time you got great air. Intel's demonstration of RealSense as a collision avoidance device was impressive. Picture of how it sees the world below.
All of this is great for consumers (albeit rich ones) and professional film producers, who can now access the capabilities of a helicopter for vastly less money and effort. The issue now is how these venture and angel-backed businesses become genuinely commercially viable as they scale. Given the limited differentiation between manufacturers, from a lay-person's perspective it seems that significant and rapid consolidation is likely in this industry very soon.