Last year I was disappointed by CES, why? Because for me the future of electronics is about consolidation, convergence; it’s about having one device that does 10,000 things (well), not 10,000 things that do one thing. And at CES there are thousands of booths with new hardware that perform largely just one function.
Last year we talked to a company that made a projector that projects your videos onto a wall, but you have to upload videos to the device first - why couldn’t this be integrated with an iPhone or Android that already stores your content or streams them over your device?
I understand the history of the 40-plus-year trade show is deep rooted being the first place to showcase consumer electronics, but times are a-changing with Borders gone and Best Buy’s future looking meek we need to reconsider what the future of consumer shows will look like. For me, excitement comes in the form or apps or startups that are turning your already existing device into other devices. For example, Azumio, the Silicon valley based startup behind the Instant Heart Rate app is an example of a startup that uses your iPhone to measure your heart rate and sends that data to your doctor. Currently in the Apple store there are two startups that operate by integrating already existing devices, the iHealth - a blood pressure monitor that plugs into your iPhone and Lark, a sleep device that syncs with your iPhone so you wake up in the optimal time in your cycle.
As we move towards a sharing economy with services like Airbnb, Getaround and Taskrabbit enabling us to easily share time and objects through close proximity location data, I also wonder if we can cut out having to manufacture as little extra hardware as possible when it comes to satisfying all our electronic needs. The first year I went to SXSW I took a phone, stills camera, video camera and voice recorder, now all those functions are in my iPhone and my handbag is lighter, making life easier when it comes to travel.
Last year at CES we interviewed Lelo, a vibrator company that charges through a USB port, but this year I came across a company that took that innovation one step father: Mojowijo – a vibrator that plugs into a Wii remote and not only charges via the remote but also controlled by your lover remotely. This is a company who have clearly thought about what devices people already have around the home and how that can be utilized for other uses.
There will no doubt be some exciting things to come out of CES this year (I’m looking forward to seeing some in-car Internet technology that communicates with your already existing device) but I am far more excited about the startups and apps coming out of Silicon Valley, innovating around turning the device you already carry around with you 24-7, into other functional devices. CES already lost it’s anchor company Microsoft this year who pulled out citing the need to change their strategy on making product launches more exclusive, could this be the beginning of the end for CES? Comment below!