2014
01.14

Do you know the expression, “Killing two birds with one stone?” You could say that is what I did this year while covering CES. Okay, I killed many birds with many stones. Let me elaborate. When I asked a few dozen CES exhibitors to come to our broadcast booth to speak to me live on The Peggy Smedley Radio Show, http://www.peggysmedleyshow.com/, I accomplished two things. First, I was able to pose a variety of questions on behave of my listeners to help them understand all the products that were being unveiled at CES. At the same time I was able to avoid all the pushing and shoving from rushing from appointment to appointment to hear about the latest gadgets that would change our lives.

Seriously, people are not nice at shows. They are looking at their programs, or talking on their cellphones or chatting with the person next to them. They certainly are not paying attention to where they are walking while moving through the crowded aisles of CES; I think manners go out the doors. So the fact remains no one likes being pushed or shoved, but it happens all the same. And as a woman it’s hard enough to run around from the Central Hall to the North Hall or even stand in a taxi line waiting for a cab for 45 minutes in heels. So, when I decided to host the radio show for eight hours, long as it might be, I thought it had to be better than fighting the 150,000 people pushing their way through the crowded CES.

In the end, I think I hit the jackpot in Las Vegas, and it was a win-win for everyone. The vendors got the forum they wanted to brag about their new products to hundreds of thousands of listeners; radio listeners who wanted to hear what was happening at CES could sit comfortably in the confines of their homes or office and hear the events of the show live as it was happening; and I was still able to learn about all the technology I needed to all while sitting in my comfortable broadcast booth without feeling like I’m part of a pack of wild horses.

So what did I learn from CES 2014? It was the year of wearable tech. I mean trackers, watches, fitness, healthcare, and even tiny little sensors pretty much stole the show. I’m sure if you read anything so far, you have learned a lot about things like Pebble Steel, http://www.getpebble.com/, or Razer Nabu, www.razerzone.com/nabu.

But what probably impressed me the most were the trackers that use sensors to record real data. These are the gadgets that have really caught my eye this year. During my interviews I liked talking with Sony, www.sonymobile.com/us/, who showed me a host of new really cool wearables. We talked about its SmartWatch update, but I found myself wanting to learn more about the Sony SmartBand. It had the neatest little sensor that Sony calls the Core that is removable and can be placed in all sorts of wristbands, necklaces, you name it. It had an easy app that accompanied it to provide all the feedback that an individual seeks. Even LG, http://www.lg.com/, introduced is Life Band Touch activity tracker.

Movea, http://www.movea.com/, also packed a punch this year. The motion-tracking folks teamed up with TI, http://www.ti.com/, and design firm Xm-Squared, http://www.xm-squared.com/, to unveil the G-Series, a reference design for a fitness band. As you will recall Movea put its motion-sensing expertise to good use with Babolat, http://www.babolat.com/, late last year to unveil the first connected tennis racquet. I’m actually testing that racquet now and will have something to report shortly. It too was on display at CES.

There was no shortage of glass-type of eyeware making its appearance at CES as well. But what were the other products that I liked? I enjoyed how ADT, http://www.adt.com/, announced upgrades to its ADT Pulse. Most of you will recall that is its premier home-security package. I think the biggest addition was the ADT Voice app, which enables homeowners to manage their home security and automation via voice commands.

Another creative gadget is the ibitz kids’s app and pedometer by GeoPalz, http://www.ibitz.com/,  which rewards kids for physical activity. The WearIT, http://www.wearit.net/, is a pretty nifty smartwatch that allows users to monitor health and fitness routines.  I thought it was creative because you don’t need to carry a smartphone. I was also impressed with the FiLIP, http://www.myfilip.com/. But you can learn more about that when we unveil our Connected World Awards’ winners next month.

And moving beyond wearables I did enjoy learning about what is happening at Magellan, http://www.magellangps.com/, Kwikset, http://www.kwikset.com/, Chargepoint http://www.chargepoint.com/, Netgear, http://www.netgear.com/, and Broadcom http://www.broadcom.com/, just to name a few. Listen to the http://www.peggysmedleyshow.com/ for what these companies and others had to say during CES.

So all in all, what did I learn at CES? It’s the year of the wearables, connected car, and it’s all going to be driven by platforms into the cloud. Wow. That’s what we’ve been hearing for months. The difference now is that we actually had a chance to see and feel these products. Some are creative. Some show the innovative nature of the creators. Not all these products are going to make it. I saw some real winners and I saw a few products I just didn’t get. But overall CES didn’t disappoint.