This year marks the 5th decade in which I've attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which started in the 60s. My first was back in 1979, and I've been loyal through the 80's, 90's, 00's and now the teens. I go each year, at the personal cost of missing my now late 30's daughter's birthday (except her 21st), the wear and tear of shoe leather, flight delays, pushing through crowds and lack of sleep, all in the hope of staying at the too early or wayy too early edge in this exciting field.
I've learned about the rule of 3s. Some changes are relatively constant - each year the TV screen size grows by 3", the cell phone volume drops by 3 cubic inches, and some dimension moves from 2 to 3. One year it's 2d to 3D TV, one year it's 2 screens to 3 screens, but the numbers stay the same.
This year is one of everything being connected to the cloud, and then back to everything else. Not just TV or content anywhere, but many more interesting sensor based applications. There is a Digital Health area, as those of us aging boomers become concerned about how to extend our lives by modifying and measuring our lifestyle. I've been a user of the WiThings scale, now they have a blood pressure cuff that ties in. DailyBurn and Zeo have now integrated your sleep pattern and fitness. And there's lots more to come of FitBit like devices.
Scanning was being done everywhere. CES had QR codes and a scanning application, similar to the ones that Scanbuy or StickyBits have created. Both of these seem to have growing audiences, but neither has figured out how to achieve escape velocity a la Foursquare. But I have no doubt scanning will play a bigger role in our future, as brands figure out how to do promotions that take advantage of codes and location.
A nice addition to CES for the last two years has been AllThingsDigital at CES. Walt Mossberg and Kara swisher do some interesting interviews. Twitter CEO @DickC hit the nail on the head when he said "Some CES showcase incremental improvements, some make quantum leaps. This one is an incremental one." I couldn't agree more, even though another speaker,Jen-Hsun Huang CEO of Nvidia, felt that Microsoft's announcement of a Windows Next Generation for the ARM processor family was an announcment of seismic proportion.
And of course there are always the great parties and dinners in Las Vegas - which has outposts of the greatest restaurants in the world. So I'll probably be back next year.