Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 45 seconds

CES 2012 - Products & Services & Apps, Oh, My

ces logoThere are lots of events that happen once and only once every year: Holidays like Thanksgiving, Birthdays like yours, and Sports like the Super Bowl. The Consumer Electronics Show almost falls within the once and only once category.

The ‘almost' refers to the variations that contribute to CES integrating same old, same old with new and different themes, companies and products. Many of us remember the days of Comdex and PC Expo. Those big technology events are gone. Computer manufacturers like Digital Equipment, Wang, Burroughs, Honeywell and data General are no longer making computers.


CES used to be all about electronics, stereos, high fidelity audio, radios, tape players, and headphones. In the latter part of the 1990s, all things technology and CES found common ground. Cell phones, smart phones, small computers, smarter televisions and the rapidly expanding use of the Internet were all on display.

The 2012 CES had 153,000 attendees, 3,700 vendors and all things wired and wireless. The trends are clear and impact how we all connect with each other, with data wherever it is, and how we can accomplish these tasks from anywhere we can find a cellular or Wi-Fi signal.

The theme of the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show was all things connected all the time anywhere and everywhere. According to Parks Associates, more than 920 million connected devices will be sold worldwide in 2012, and revenues from operator-provided cloud-based value-added services will exceed $8.5 billion by 2015. CES product displays did not diminish any of these estimates.

The ability to perform similar functions on various sized screens is increasing. Whether you have a smartphone, tablet, notebook, or large screen OLED Television, internet access to sites, search and social connections will expand in 2012. Below are a few highlights.
Here are a few highlights that you may have already read about. The key, of course, is how you choose to use or avoid any of these products. It is sometimes amazing just how fast new products and new services can go from idea to implementation to use to an afterthought. Cellular phones morphed to smartphones to tablets.

The old term was computer or personal computer. Then the personal devices became a single unit that one could carry anywhere. The books evolved - Notebook, Netbook, eBook and now Ultrabook. Ultrabooks from Intel, have screen sizes from 11 to 13 inches, weigh less than 3 pounds and are priced less than $1,000. Created by gene-splicing a notebook and tablet computer, it will be at least a year to see if these work for you.

Reading a paper book or a digital book is, again, a choice. How do you like your magazines, newspapers and bulletins? There are lots of choices. How about communications with clients and staff? Taking advantage of digital publishing has time and money advantages that you absolutely need to consider.

The old-fashioned way of communicating, speaking, is making a digital comeback. With Siri on the iPhone 4s, voice commands are being highlighted. Mapping apps, Google Voice, Dragon Naturally Speaking have been around. Voice commands are being manufactured inside every device. Expect voice use with the next upgrade of tablets and smartphones. Televisions, appliances and everything around your home or office will respond to voice commands. Clear your throat and speak clearly. Next decade technology will find ways to break through mumbles, New York fast talk and Southern drawl. Translation will also be real time.

Mobility and mobile devices are no longer optional or an add-on to our business and personal lives. The connected home and connected offices have been described for many years as a home network or office network. Today's connectivity makes every device linkable. Not just devices we call computers, but appliances, remote controls, video cameras and the biggest mobile device of them all.

That big mobile device has some similarities to the car Henry Ford started assembling 100 years ago. Cars are using computer technology way beyond engine control, ABS Brakes and mapping systems. Everything about the car is connecting all things auto to the internet. Likely you already use in dash maps.

QNX Software Systems showed my next car. The concept Porsche Carrera includes smartphone integration, tablet-based rear-seat entertainment, a reconfigurable digital instrument cluster, and high-definition hands-free communications. Mercedes-Benz displayed its mobile-connected-vehicle technology dubbed Mbrace2 which allows the car to connect to a variety of cloud-based apps and smartphones.

Ford announced its licensing of the National Public Radio content. This is not just to get today's broadcast but to access all NPR content back to 1996. Using the Sync application, you will be able to stream any portion of any NPR show.

One announcement of note - Microsoft said they will no longer exhibit at CES. This action is worth watching as the big electronics companies - LG, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung are expanding their product lines with televisions, streaming players, DVRs, Portable everything. This includes managed content that will be exclusive a period of time. For example, "Angry Birds" will have its own channel on LG.

The products are expanding their features so that the screens - television, notebook, Ultrabook, tablet, smartphone, eBook will have a very similar interface with icons that can be remotely accessed through a wireless remote, downloadable app, touch and voice commands. There was no "WOW" product, but here are a few that can impact your professional and personal life.

Neat - keeps improving its feature set to scan and manage paper of all sizes and content
iTwin - for secure file collaboration, the multi provides file transfer between and among computers
Wi-Drive by Kingston - - about the size of an iPod Touch, storage accessible by as many as three iOS devices, can hold 16 or 32GB
DocuSign - cloud based programs for business, salesforce, mobile that provides electronic signature for documents. Ink is their add-in for Outlook and personal use
Snapcuts - - assemble video clips to create messages that will get noticed
Withings - - baby & adult monitoring with links to recording history apps
Nike FuelBand - Fuel wrist strap to monitor workouts, activities, wireless links to smartphones
AboutOne - - manages data entered from any web connected device. Designed for family elder care, child care, home care, mom care and dad care
Aftershokz - no button in the ear, special ops bone conduction technology, comfortable for passive or active sports, such as running
emWave2 by HeartMath - monitors your stress and helps you to train your body to have a more positive reaction to stress
Toddy Gear - - dual-sided cleaning cloth, microfiber on one side to clean and a patterned silk microfiber on the other side to buff and polish. No sprays needed.


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