When NASCAR, Sesame Street, Disney, and even Hollywood, have me more fired up about the future of technology than your typical device maker, something has gone terribly wrong. Or perhaps, something has gone terribly right.
As I write this from perhaps the largest tech playground on planet earth, aka CES, I cannot help but chuckle. Here I am being pitched by every major player in the consumer electronics space on how their new device, software, or chip is going to take this connected world to another level, yet I remain most intrigued by companies that have absolutely nothing to do with M2M and connected devices. But that is the cool part—they have absolutely everything to do with M2M and connected devices. You see, they are the adopters of the technology; the ones that have to believe in what is being pitched here at CES; the ones that need to take this whole thing to the next level. In other words, they are the ones that are going to take this connected world to another level. And for all intents and purposes, they are doing just that.
I went into this week with this sentiment in the back of my mind. However, my feeling was reinforced—whether intentionally or not—by the keynote address delivered by Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs on Monday evening at the Venetian. Amid all the hoopla surrounding some very cool announcements from the San Diego-based chipmaker, Jacobs marched out guest after guest that solidified my point that the future of technology lies more with the adopters than ever before.
His guest list included everyone from NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski, to Director Guillermo del Toro, to even Big Bird himself. They all shared a common message to the audience, which was they were “Born Mobile.” Forgive me if that doesn’t quite resonate. You see, that was Qualcomm’s message for the evening related to how this generation of consumers will never know a world that isn’t connected. I must say, it is a catchy slogan, and one that does indeed make a whole lot of sense.
It is incredible to see that some of the biggest names in front of today’s consumer are embracing M2M and connected devices in order to connect with their fans. NASCAR, for instance, is creating this immersive environment for its millions of fans, allowing them to get a full interactive experience of each race, and with all their favorite drivers, right from their smart TV. Likewise, Sesame Street is reaching its audience in a connected manner, only its efforts are via a smartphone that helps children identify words in their world. For example, they can hold up the phone to a milk carton to read the word ‘milk’ and be rewarded that they found the right word. Even del Toro showed us how great graphics and faster processors make better movies. It is a message we were telling roughly last year at this time with our coverage of filmmakers like Barry Sonnenfeld—but who’s keeping track, right?
But not all the great examples came out of the keynote. In fact, they didn’t even come out of CES this week. I love the example of Disney announcing plans for what it calls MyMagic +. Essentially it is a data collection initiative centered on the use of RFID-equipped wristbands at its amusement parks. From what I have been told, companies like Disney have long struggled with balancing the demand to incorporate tech into its theme parks with maintaining the classic nostalgia feeling the average person gets from being at one of its parks. So while this might seem like a small step, it is indeed a very large leap for Disney. No matter the case, I love the way Disney is thinking.
So I am off to attend another major announcement from a software maker. Or maybe it’s a device maker. At this point it is all starting to get a bit fuzzy. But four days in Vegas can do that do the average person—CES or no CES. While I remain immersed in this wonderful tech playground I will be keeping one ear open to the world outside this convention hall to hear what other cool adoptions are happening to make this whole M2M and connected devices thing really indeed take off.