Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times, which produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances our lives.
CES, like Las Vegas where it’s held, has always been about big. Big announcements like the DVD, Blu-Ray, the Xbox, the VCR – that’s the magnitude of stuff that’s been announced at CES events of years gone by. At the 2013 CES lat week, there were fewer standouts – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big year for change. In fact, the 2013 show was a synergistic effort that launched a new way of looking at technology as the “Internet of things.”
The Internet of things is the term used to mean any device that can connect to the Internet and share and receive information. How does that play out?
The Connected Car: The Google car powered by Velodyne has driven itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas. That’s right: A driverless car that has completed 300,000 autonomous-driving miles accident free. Toyota and Audi also have driverless cars. GPS maker Garmin showcased its K2 platform that makes the car dashboard digital, using voice control, infrared buttons and smartphone integration to provide navigation, vehicle diagnostics, office features, communications and entertainment.
The Smarter Home: The Internet also enabled a new set of products to do everything from keep an eye on your home (Dropcam) while you’re not there, keep your home bless-fully keyless by using your phone to activate your lock (SimpliciKey), Whirlpool showed an innovative Fireplace concept that combines a multifunctional cooking table and an air treatment/mood lighting hood. The idea is to create your own atmosphere for your own high tech family hearth. And their refrigerator will serenade you with your fav streaming Internet playlist while you search for snacks.
The Internet of the Fittest: You might remember the days when a PC conjured images of chubby gamers with joysticks in hand, but at this CES, it was a survival of the fittest gadgets. BodyMedia announced its CORE 2 an attractive arm bracelet body monitor, Runtastic built a set of apps that counts your pushups and sit ups using your phones accelerometer, MyBasis combines more sensors than most in a lovely wristband but it’s also beefed up the motivational aspects and encouragement that exercisers need. And FitBit, one of the first personal body monitors announced the Flex, a bracelet that you never need to take off (or lose).