I attended two full days of this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. What a show that was! 150,000 people moving about the convention center and the Venetian hotel (venues for all the exhibits).
I used to attend Comdex many years back, but that was replaced by CES and it’s focus has broadened to all kinds of consumer products – TV, Tablets, cameras, audio, smart phones, etc. As expected, we are living in a connected world and smart devices are all over. Whereas the past years centered around the PC and Microsoft, this year’s CES did not even have Microsoft as a participant (remember how Bill Gates used to make major announcements at Comdex?). This year’s keynotes were delivered by Qualcomm, Panasonic, Samsung, and Verizon. Mobile devices were the big thing, as Android phones were on display by all major vendors. There were too many iPhone/iPad accessories on display, so much so that you get tired of it.
Walking the halls of the convention center requires lots of physical strength, as one could walk 10-15 miles in a day. The LG booth was very impressive with 3D Television on a giant curved screen, where objects come to hit your face. The big news was the giant 80 to 100 inch TVs going for $20,000 – all 4k HD technology with unprecedented clarity of pictures. LG even showed 50 inch curved TV (called flexible display). The OLED TV is extremely thin. The real big news is connectivity. From the tablet to the TV to the laptop screen, events can move wirelessly. Apple clearly has changed the landscape with its touch interface in iPhone and iPad and everyone now offers similar tablets coming in all sorts of sizes. Interestingly, Apple does not have a booth nor its executives ever speak at this event.
Marc Benioff was there at a keynote session and he spoke about how the convergence of consumers and business is happening. Several panels talked about cloud contents and regulatory challenges. The FCC chairman Julius Genachowski was there also talking of broadband, spectrum reform, and competition policy matters. I listened to an interesting presentation of the future UI – called NUI (Natural User Interface) based on multi-touch, vocal, gesture and neural modes. It is good to see HTML5’s Touch event spec V2 is being readied for standardization.
For an enterprise software guy like me, this show may look less relevant, but enterprises are impacted in a big way by the consumer devices and technology. Hence we have the phrase “consumerization of IT” and BYOD. The Cloud is blurring the difference between personal software and work software as they have to intermingle and mesh.
It was a worthwhile experience to see all the advancements happening in such a fast pace. I particularly enjoyed the new stuff in robotics and programmable 3-D manufacturing.