Last year when I attended CES 2013 in Las Vegas, I wrote a blog titled “Is the Consumer Electronics Show Turning into the Corporate Electronics Show?” The event, known as the birthplace for many mobile and wireless innovations, appeals to both consumers and enterprises. This year at CES 2014 this broadening appeal was even more apparent.
My focus in attending the conference this January was different from years past. Last year I had the pleasure of traveling with SAP’s CIO to explore products, trends, and technologies at CES, knowing that they will quickly make their way to the workplace. This year I put on my comfortable shoes and settled in with the SAP Mobile Security team to staff our booth at the Samsung KNOX Zone, demonstrating our mobile security solutions on Android.
The first thing that surprised me was the volume of enterprise customers attending the show. I spoke to hundreds of people attending the conference and each of them was exploring the event to learn about how technology from the consumer world would make its way to the enterprise. Dozens of SAP large enterprise customers came by the booth to talk about how our security offerings could help them make consumer devices safe for enterprise use. To learn more about SAP and KNOX, read my recent blog.
Even though I was spending most of the hours in the Samsung booth, I did manage to explore the show floor a few times to gather some insight from the plethora of innovations that were launced at the event.
Before heading to the show, I made a few predictions in my blog of the areas that would be most interesting, and they didn’t disappoint. In fact, a few others even made the list.
Connectivity is everything
We truly live in a connected world – and this was the biggest takeaway for me. Every new innovation that I looked at was connected to smartphones. I was expecting a lot of innovation in wearables, but was honestly disappointed that I didn’t see a lot of advancement over last year. I expect this will change over the coming years, but what’s more important is connectivity. Absolutely everything is becoming connected – from smart cameras that use your phone as a remote control (with a viewfinder), to connected bikes that charge as you pedal and track your fitness and route, to an app on your phone that tells you when your laundry is done or when the meat on your barbecue is ready.
The Smart Home
Expanding on the first point, everything at CES is smart and there were a lot of innovations around the smart home. Though it came after CES was over, Google’s acquisition of Nest for $3.2 billion was a hot topic in the days following the event. Nest earned acclaim for its learning thermostat, and recently launched Protect, a smart smoke detector, late last year. This will be an interesting move for Google in the years to come.
Saving the laptop?
Many people expect laptops to go the way of the dinosaurs, but this year several companies were trying to stop that from happening. Touch screen displays were prevalent as well as many all-in-one, convertible and hybrid devices. I wasn’t really impressed by many of them, as they seemed to be trying to mimic the tablet space. Manufacturers are trying to come up with form factors that will address two worlds, but I’m not sure they’ll address either very well. A good article on laptops at CES is posted here.
Curved TVs were absolutely everywhere at CES, and while I don’t really see the value in the TVs themselves; one thing that was apparent is that bigger is better. And not only for your home theatre. Increasing screen size and resolution were also apparent in the mobile devices at the show. Small screen phones are being replaced by larger phones. The Samsung Note was extremely popular and new 12.2 inch tablets are actually a pretty nice size as they mimic the size of a sheet of 8.5×11 paper.
Overall, CES remains the best place in the world to take the pulse of the consumer electronics business. Hopefully this blog and video give you a taste of what the show was about.