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1/12/2016
08:05 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Commentary
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CES 2016: Glitzy Tech And Marketing Playground

Every year, the worlds of marketing and technology collide in Las Vegas for one week during CES. The 2016 CES, which included drones, virtual reality, and more, proved no exception.

Huawei, Toshiba, ZTE Unleash Hot Smartphones, Tablets At CES 2016
Huawei, Toshiba, ZTE Unleash Hot Smartphones, Tablets At CES 2016
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

CES has always had a special place in the tech landscape. Over the years, we got our first looks at technologies that have helped define and redefine the last three decades, including the VCR, the CD, DVD, Blu-ray, the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and the first Microsoft Xbox.

The event held every year in Las Vegas has always been a way for companies to show off toys that we ended up using in our daily lives. Unlike traditional computer shows, such as TCF, CES exhibitors have historically been given some license to show off their concepts and betaware without having a delivery date set in stone.

The early adopters roam the floors in force, looking for something that hasn't yet filtered down to the mass consumer. It's a willing collusion between these folks and the companies -- full of marketers glitzing out the promise of that unsullied and amazing product.

And market they did.

CES 2016 told us that the future will be full of drones and electric cars that can drive themselves. Drones of many types were all over the place.

(Image: Kelley Sheridan/InformationWeek)

(Image: Kelley Sheridan/InformationWeek)

Indeed, one drone shown was large enough to carry a 220-pound person over the stream of cabs going up the Las Vegas Strip -- and fly itself at the same time. Just put your destination into the app and sit back.

A China-based company named Ehang unveiled what could be the world's first autonomous flying taxi at CES. Ehang said that production models will not be available for at least a year, and the inevitable regulatory hurdles will come after that.

This is Jetsons territory, a real glimpse of the future.

The virtual reality (VR) headset wars broke out in full force at CES 2016, with Facebook's Oculus Rift finally making an appearance. However, there will be different ways to approach VR.

Rift wants you to have a super-duper gamer computer attached to it. But OSVR -- a project by gamer company Razer that partners with industry heavyweights Intel, Visionics, Unigine, and Leap Motion -- has an open source headset that costs half of the Rift headset. It can be tweaked to reflect the machine it is running on.

Even with the advent of these VR headsets, traditional display screens aren't going away anytime soon. In fact, displays are going to get a lot better very soon.

LG is getting much closer to production of its flexible OLED (organic light emitting diode) display, which would even further blur what a "wearable" means. (It's been a 10 year-long route to product.) OLEDs display light directly, rather than "twist" it as conventional LEDs do.

Samsung-made OLEDs also showed up in the rigid displays of several PCs, including the Alienware 13, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, HP Spectre x360, and the company's own Galaxy Tab Pro S. However, the buyer should beware: These displays won't be cheap. Right now, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is slated to retail for about $1,650, which is pricy for a notebook. I suspect that after a certain point, like all technologies, the prices for OLED displays will drop, which will then drive mainstream adoption.

For those paying attention on the show floor, one of the most significant things that happened was when US Marshals raided the booth of Changzhou First International Trade Co.

[Check out our list of the best enterprise tech at CES 2016.]

The China-based firm was showing a single-wheel hoverboard that was a direct rip-off of the one made by Future Motion, which holds both technology and design patents on the device. This was the first instance of an exhibitor at CES having been shut down like this. It signifies that the blatant copying of products won't be tolerated at the event.

CES is a time for companies to grab our attention by any means, hawking what they have and what's to come from them. CES 2016 was no exception, and we can't wait to see the promises realized.

**Elite 100 2016: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN. 15, 2016** There's still time to be a part of the prestigious InformationWeek Elite 100! Submit your company's application by Jan. 15, 2016. You'll find instructions and a submission form here: InformationWeek's Elite 100 2016.

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet ... View Full Bio
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Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
1/18/2016 | 11:47:51 PM
Re: Expand
jastroff, this may be a weak analogy, but I'm going to make it. The CES is like the NFL. It should not have the power that it does, but until people en masse stop paying attention it, there's no need for either to change how they operate. And that's not likely to happen.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2016 | 9:54:04 PM
Re: Expand
@jastroff

I think they like the fratboys on a drunk scenario there too.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2016 | 9:52:59 PM
Re: Expand
@Brian

It does seem like a good idea, doesn't it?
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2016 | 6:02:53 PM
Re: Expand
All well said @brian --

advanced technology is in the hands of those who can afford it, either with a trip to Vegas or the MIT Media Lab

 

For the latter, I can see the price of admission is brains. For the former, we need someone to get in there and disrupt CES's hold on the idea that the Vegas strip is the only place to be for advanced tech
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2016 | 3:29:14 PM
Re: Expand
@jastroff, well said. A few individuals have created YouTube channels to cover innovation in the consumer space with some success and have managed to disrupt the model. The downside on relying upon individuals from the user's perspective is that an individual can only cover a limited amount of segments, the individual might not be a regular reviewer and/or economics can influence an individual easily rather than, a large group. That is why it would be better to have a business to create virtual reviews.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2016 | 3:13:23 PM
Re: Expand
That is a great idea. Exhibitors should supply two types of videos, a short version that CES can include in an overview video and a long version that will attract individuals that require greater insight into a product or service.

The overview video will be good for individuals that have a limited amount of time at their disposal to watch a video and still feel confident that they have seen the majority of the tech innovation that will appear in the specific year. The detailed video would be for IT individuals that are either part of the same consumer segment or looking to expand their business into a new segment.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
1/15/2016 | 6:50:56 PM
Re: Expand
It's all theatre anyway,
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
1/15/2016 | 6:19:33 PM
Re: Expand
@brain -- great idea

>> The CES should be well documented (video documented) with live streaming and playback. The entire show could be covered as if a documentary was being produced and buyers can later order their desired products online.

 

they want to keep it as a conference for elites -- people and companies with money to spend, fill up hotel rooms, and give people some time gambling. CES is a conference company, and is waiting to be disrupted by some group that does it as you propose. 

 
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
1/15/2016 | 6:17:21 PM
Re: Expand
Apple has always been famous for sticking close to home. I remember back in 84 all their product announcements were coming from California. Got to be boring, and now it's REALLY boring. Same stage, same graphics, same oohs and ahhs. Same pacing back and forth. Really, how tired.

 

If you log in and you are "there", then why not do the presentation from Chicago? London? Madison? Get out there in the heartland! Krakow sounds good.

 

Or, no audience, no place. Just all on the airwaves or throught the Internet.

You can bet when AppleTV comes out, those big SHOWS they put on will now be smaller programs, suitable for broadcast.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
1/15/2016 | 4:22:43 PM
Re: Expand
@Brian

So, you want the virtual CES.

What if the exhibitors HAD to supply some video for their booth as part of the registration?
Make it searchable. Would that do it for you?
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
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