Day 1 CEA Industry Forum Information Overload and 5 Technologies to Watch

by on February 4th, 2011
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Day 1 CEA Industry Forum information was all information overload and 5 technologies to watch. How our lives are going to resemble an underappreciated glimpse into the future from the Stephen Spielberg movie AI, the appreciated Will Smith iRobot with a rogue AI robot, or misused technology in Tom Cruise’s Minority Report.

New technologies are bringing our lives closer to resembling an underappreciated glimpse into the future from the Stephen Spielberg movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the appreciated Will Smith I, Robot with a rogue AI robot, or misused technology in Tom Cruise’s Minority Report.

The opening day of the CEA Industry Forum, the morning focused on the future and 5 Technologies to Watch affecting the consumer electronics industry. By lunch the first day, my head was spinning and others talked about how they were already in information overload, which they had not expected until day 3.

The 5 Technologies to Watch are: 1) Spectrum; 2) The Cloud; 3) Mobile and Beyond; 4) Battery Life; and 5) Alternative Input.


Consumers’ hunger for connected devices has been a bright spot for retailers during tough times, driving sales of devices, accessories and services. But consumers’ insatiable appetite for bandwidth has put networks around the world under increasing strain.

More spectrums are needed and that while we are not at a point of crisis yet, but we’re getting there. This is sort of like an express train running out of control. All it takes is a quick look around at your own environment to see the increased spectrum use including services from cable, satellite, bluetooth, broadband, mobile, and the cloud.

The good news for retailers is that sales of wireless devices, along with all of the accessories needed to optimize them, is only going to grow. The number of wireless devices used in the U.S. is now more than our entire population, 328 million devices compared to 315 million people.


Distributed or cloud computing has hit the mainstream and will have a significant impact in the devices that are created and how consumers use them, especially during the next five years. It used to be called putting your material on a server but that name didn’t do well in surveys and Cloud is sexier.

The shift to the cloud will continue to steer, and is supposed to take computing away from desktops to smartphones, tablets and even the connected TVs. Applications and data will have to be shared across multiple devices that will force changes in the entire industry.

This is where “sensorization” of Consumer Electronics will come forth strongly. This is where sensors can more effectively capture information on a variety of details, such as location, height, sound pressure, temperature, yaw and acceleration. Supposed to is the key word here.

If it works and so far it really hasn’t worked that well, the consumer cloud will allow software, hardware and services to be at the touch of a finger voice command or gesture. That will impact consumer offerings, such as audio, video streaming services, video game use and digital health care which is playing a major role at this forum. The ability to secure data, and upload and download speeds to and from the cloud will reflect in the speed of its mass adoption.


The touch screen is standard with those under 30 years of age and no one even mentions the phone capabilities on cell phones anymore. The anywhere anytime anyway is here.

Tablet and cell phone sales are on the move upward. Over 150 tablets were introduced at the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2011. Apps for every device in your home and all that you carry with you to put you in touch with anything that you can possible think of. The only problem being is that there is no standardization for the apps and the devices that they are to be put on.


Almost everything retailers sell today requires a rechargeable battery of one sort or another. These devices and the features they enable continue to evolve, advances in power storage and charging solutions will increase. The basic problem is that the hardware far outpaces the industries’ abilities to turn out smaller and more powerful batteries.

It has been said that consumers have reported a growing interest in emerging charging technologies, such as solar, kinetic and wireless, as well as a concern about the current battery life of their devices. The basic problem being is that there is a great divide between interest and purchasing


Technology companies and manufacturers are working on ways to replace the mouse and keyboard including remote controls that incorporate touch-sensor technology in screens, gesture-controls, mobile games that respond to motion sensors and voice-recognition software that control devices in vehicles, and the use of brain waves to control devices. The future is gaining on us every day.

The traditional keyboard and mouse are expected to be around for some time to, but they will exist mainly in an office setting where data input remains text dependent. The commercial world will continue to adopt new consumer technologies, with retailers continuing to serve as the initial point of distribution and customer education. Isn’t this sort of the reason that retailers exist?

In conclusion vision is all important in the early stages of innovation, engagement and conversation and behind every cloud is a cloud.

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