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4 Key Takeaways from CES 2014

Posted 10 January 2014 12:00 AM by John Rich

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicked off earlier this week. If you weren’t able to fly out to Vegas for the event, don’t worry!  We sent some of our Moxie experts to cover all the hottest products, services and innovations from the week. Here are our top 4 takeaways from CES.

1. More machines than humans.

From Intel’s Edison chip platform that enables computerized clothing to auto manufacturers displaying connected cars, the Internet Of Things seems to be on track to easily reach 100 billion “things” in the next 6 years. It’s estimated that only about 3 billion of these “things” will be people, leaving 97 billion connected machines. Companies will need to begin thinking about how their brand stories are embedded within this machine network — connecting them in relevant ways to their consumers. An Internet of Things brand story will allow companies to reach people via smart cars, smart jewelry and even smart clothing — which gives the term “touchpoints” a whole new meaning.

Mimo — smart baby onesie using the Intel Edison chip. 

2. Personal tracking is getting very, very personal. 

This can either trigger Orwellian fears or paint a vision of a world where we always know our kids are safe and our grocery stores adapt to personal needs, helping us shop faster and easier. These are just 2 examples from the show. Trax has a small device that can be placed in a child’s pocket or on a pet’s leash, which measures location, speed and direction utilizing GPS and Glonass. The accompanying app will warn the user if the wearer of the device leaves a “safe zone” and also allows the user to locate the wearer of the device at any time.

Another startup, Smart Flows, provides tracking inside retail stores by using plug-and-play sensors — 3 of which can cover up to 10,000 square feet. Visitors to the store have their movements (time and location) tracked by anonymous pings of their cell phones. This data is visualized on a Web-based dashboard and can be used to improve the in-store experience for shoppers and ultimately drive increased revenue for the retailers. 

3. Screens will disappear.

It is almost ridiculous to suggest that screens are in decline at an event that seems to be mostly focused on bigger, higher resolution and transmutable screens. However, as we rapidly approach the point where the size of a computing device reaches the molecular level, our entire environment will become a distributed computer network that we will live “inside” of. With that in mind, and a little deeper look at the show, we’ll see a large and growing number of technologies that will make screen-based computing obsolete.

- The mind as the interface. Brain interface products, like those from Emotiv, have been in the market for awhile, but Intel’s announcement of the RealSense platform demonstrates that we are rapidly heading to more naturally human interfaces, including those where we simply think to interact.

- The body as the controller. The MYO arm band by Thalmic lets the wearer use the electrical activity in his or her muscles to wirelessly control computers, phones or other favorite digital technologies by simply moving his or her arm and hand.

- Wearable visual interfaces. At this point we’ve all seen or experienced Google Glass with both its promise and limits. The Lumus DK40 is in many ways more exciting. First, it delivers military-grade HUD optics, and second — and more interestingly — the company doesn’t want to sell us smart glasses. Instead it is offering the optics to other developers and manufacturers who will hopefully create a wide range of wearables with various functions and form factors.

4. Becoming more human. 

While our first takeaway may make us think that it’s a machines’ world and we just live in it, being more connected and having every type of technology at our fingertips can in theory make us more human. Here are 3 examples of technologies that can help us to become more connected.

Google Helpouts: Not only does this use Google Hangout technology that can help small businesses monetize their downtime, it also gives people and brands the ability to be face-to-face with customers and prospects. By allowing them to talk, teach and walk people through challenges, it puts technology in the middle of a true human experience.

Google Fiber: The fastest Internet connections possible. With bandwidth moving to speeds surpassing anything currently available, an ecosystem of instantaneous connection will be created. This fiber can truly change how humans interact with each other, as well as how brands interact with consumers. If it's instant, it's real. It's face-to-face, it's moving, flowing and constantly on.

- The Humanization of Data: With sensors in everything (from our heartbeats to our locations, to what we’re prone to purchase after a long weekend when the temperature reaches 85°), we have an over abundance of data points. This allows us to see people not as faceless names in a homogenous crowd of people but as individuals or members of a microtribe. It means that we can use big data to make small decisions that allow us to send information at the right time, the right place, in the right format.





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