The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held last week in Las Vegas, where a who’s who of manufacturers and marketers convened to network, share insights and catch a sneak peek at tomorrow’s technology innovations. This year’s event was the largest in the show’s more than 45-year history, with 150,000 attendees from more than 170 countries.
While the buzz around CES usually focuses on the latest gadgets we’ll all covet in the years to come, the real story can be found in the trends driving innovation in business. Here are a few highlights from this year’s show:
Social TV and the Second Screen
Consumers are increasingly using a second (or even third) device while watching TV. Television manufacturers and content producers want to take advantage of that complementary usage and find ways to increase interaction around what you’re watching. The most obvious enhancement is social media, which sparks engagement and conversation about what’s on the tube. If you’re not already tweeting or posting a status update about your favorite show, movie or team, there’s a good chance you will be in the years to come — particularly as technologies and content tie-ins continue to emerge.
Health and Fitness Technologies
A slew of new devices are helping consumers take charge of their health and well-being activities by tracking physical activity and measuring everything from weight and body mass index (BMI), to steps taken and calories burned, to sleep patterns. Look for these devices to help us all get away from the desk or off the couch more — and keep us honest on our new year’s resolutions — in 2013.
Smarter, More Interactive Cars
There’s a good chance your next car will be far more interactive than what you’re driving today. New models allow drivers to connect many devices and integrate content, and make it easier to do more — and more safely — behind the wheel. Several auto manufacturers are incorporating voice commands to enable drivers to check email, find a restaurant and more.
Will you take advantage of these enhancements to listen to your email or scan the day’s news on your drive into work? Only time will tell. Beyond technology integration inside the car, a lot of innovation focuses on the driving experience itself — from self-driving and self-parking cars, to vehicles that better adapt to your driving patterns to help you maximize fuel efficiency (either gas or electric) or that help you plot the fastest route to work. From integrating voice commands to being more receptive to integrating the devices you have, the connected automobile is on everyone’s radar.
New Ways to Control Your Computer
There are many new innovations in how we interact with computing devices. From voice commands and touch screens, including devices that don’t require a mouse or keyboard, to being able to control your computer with your eyes. Some new devices monitor eye patterns and enable you to perform tasks with a simple gaze.
Practically every device featured at CES 2013 is now connected to the Internet —from TVs and cars, to refrigerators and bathroom scales (and yes, even that fork everyone's been talking about). This interconnectedness enables us to customize our devices to better fit the way we want to experience them, to track usage and receive alerts before problems happen, or simply to incorporate content and entertainment.
CES was an amazing experience – brimming with innovation and an obvious reminder of how connected we all are –and how technology has evolved to touch all aspects of our daily lives.
Did you attend CES this year? What technologies are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Jeremy Porter is Director of Unified Communications at Definition 6, a unified marketing agency with offices in Atlanta, New York and London. Follow him on Twitter at @jeremyporter.