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The Biggest Tech Trends to Look For at CES 2017

The annual technology wonderland kicks off this week in Las Vegas.
Image: The annual Consumer Electronics Show
A sign hangs at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, Nevada.CNBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

There's such a thing as tech heaven and it takes place once a year in January, as innovators from around the world descend on Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show.

The trade show spans 2.47 million square feet of space and has served as a springboard for plenty of up-and-coming technology. Now in its 50th year, CES has previously been the place where the VCR was debuted (1970) and where the CD player and camcorder were introduced (1981). So what's on tap this year?

Related: Cheers to the Tech We Have to Look Forward to in 2017

Last year focused on autonomous driving, drones, and virtual reality. This year, "I am expecting a lot of what we saw in 2016, just a little bit more baked. A little bit more real," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told NBC News.

Faraday Future, the mysterious car company angling to rival Tesla, debuted a concept car in Las Vegas last year before the official start of CES. This year, it is expected to reveal its first production vehicle.

Many of the major automakers will also be at the show, where the focus is once again expected to be on the road to fully autonomous vehicles.

Looking at the rundown of exhibitors, "You could swear this was a car show and not the Consumer Electronics Show," Moorhead said.

Our robotic friends are also expected to show off their growing smarts and talents this year, covering everything from industrial robots, drones that can follow you around, and robots that can make life easier in the home.

Appliances are always a big part of CES, and they're getting smarter this year.

"Last year, a vendor may have had one smart refrigerator or smart dishwasher. Now, you are going to see all of the high-end lines become smarter," Moorhead said. "They'll send you a notification when you left your refrigerator open or when your dryer is done and the lint filter is full."

While the big names may dominate the discussion, there are always a few breakout stars.

"Fitbit wasn't always huge. Same thing for Oculus," Moorhead said. To find the next big thing, it's important to "look for the small innovations in the nooks and crannies."