2013
01.11

At CES this year, everywhere you turned, every aisle you walked, you heard and saw words like mobility, connectivity, and convenience, but it’s more than that. Whether it’s a smartphone, connected car, navigation system, or fitness device, manufacturers are all chattering about being connected and the technology that can simplify our lives. For me, some trends resonated after walking aisle, after aisle, after aisle.

The days of just haranguing about gadgets and devices might have reached a peak. I’m not saying we won’t see more devices come to market, because we will. But what stood out for me is that there’s a much more exciting story here. We are now witnessing this amazing crescendo in which all of these apps that make these countless things or objects connect are transforming the market. But more importantly, we now experiencing just the beginning of what some of these apps can provide in services. I suspect thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, will come to market that will only improve our everyday lives even more.

Another key theme that was truly lacking from the show floor was talk of the PC. Yep, it’s kind of sad if you think about it. In this post-PC era, everybody is espousing tablets and it’s as if the personal computer just has no home in this fast-paced world. Candidly, I have completely lost count of the tablet marketplace. I am the editorial director of Connected World magazine and I can honestly say I no longer know how many tablets there are, and nor do I think it matters at this point.

Because, in the end, all you truly care about is whether your tablet has the apps you want, whether it’s portable enough, and whether you like its ease of use. But I do think the death of the PC is still greatly exaggerated. However, it’s clear manufacturers do need to pay a lot more attention to consumer demand with an eye on tablets versus traditional PCs. Although I must admit the touchscreen PCs and the future of hand gestures (be nice) for gaming, PCs, TVs, etc., are very appealing.
The next big evolution in all of this connectivity is having your TV or your car understanding your preferences and making key recommendations. Samsung Electronics President Boon Ku Yoo kicked off a pretty impressive press conference with that idea, saying the future of the TV is to understand consumers’ needs and lifestyles.

Imagination Technologies has the same vision and adds that apps are already being developed with more to come that will meet personal preferences based on consumer likes. In the not so distant future, your TV will adjust the volume and even the picture to accommodate your viewing preferences. Now it just doesn’t get any better than that for today’s, or should I say tomorrow’s, couch potato.

Traditional consumer gadget companies are also stepping up to understand the future and where this is all headed. For instance, I like that Garmin introduced the K2—an infotainment platform that turns the vehicle’s dashboard into what it calls a digital cockpit. It combines digital displays, voice control, and smartphone integration, among other things, as well. Overall, I like that Garmin is pitching the OEMs to integrate this into the mix for safety and entertainment. As I see it, Garmin sees the importance of the data world and wants to play a big part in helping consumers be connected and safe while they drive.

These are just a few of the interesting themes that came out of CES. For a show that boasts more 3,000 exhibits it’s no wonder that everyone wants to jump into the connectivity game.

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