The Consumer Electronics Show

2/11/2014 | Blog Post | 0 Comments |Ira Grossman Darin Haines Devon Campbell Jason Taylor
In the aftermath of the Consumer Electronics Show – or really, just “the Electronics Show,” we all experience in our everyday lives the blurring between how and what technologies we use at home and in business. From our vantage point, the Consumers Electronic Show took on a whole new feel this year! Just think about it for a minute…Cisco CEO John Chambers gave the keynote address…the same John Chambers that has sold off the vast majority of consumer-facing divisions at Cisco in an effort to get back to the company’s roots of focusing on the enterprise.  So why was John chosen to give the keynote at a consumer-focused event?  Because of a concept referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), or as John refers to it, the Internet of Everything.

      We’re reminded of the rapid rate of technological change each year when we read about the latest and greatest from CES.  It fires the right side of our brains and causes us to think differently (thanks for the slogan Steve).  A week ago, we began discussing what at this year’s CES is applicable to MCPc’s customers.  The consensus was: “what’s not applicable?”  The vast majority of disruptive business technology was born in the consumer space and spread like wild-fire into the commercial business market.  Let’s look back: PCs, mobility, wireless, tablets, wearables - all of these technologies “blew up” at CES, and then spread into the business sector with a vengeance. And here we are, a team of MCPc thought leaders, examining the products, solutions and concepts introduced at CES. We’re trying to predict the relative impact for enterprise IT – not only from a pure technology play, but also how these solutions may impact IT policy, governance or other constraints when organizations embrace new technologies.

      CES stretches the imagination, but it also provides distinctive clues as to where the commercial technology sector is headed.  In fact, it was soon after the 2009 Consumer Electronic Show when an MIT researcher and RFID pioneer, Kevin Ashton came up with the idea of the increasingly ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT).  Five years on, the IoT is everywhere and the idea has gone viral.

      We see the IoT as perhaps the greatest technological advancement since the Internet.  In fact, we see the IoT as the next true evolution of the Internet, and by extension, cloud computing.  The IoT is all about the networked connection of people, process, data, and things (devices), and holds tremendous potential for helping business leaders across all industries address their many challenges.   To get the most value from IoT, business leaders should begin transforming their organizations based on key lessons from use cases that make up the majority of the IoT’s potential value and impact. These use cases include smart grid, smart buildings, connected healthcare and patient monitoring, smart factories, connected education, connected vehicles, connected marketing and advertising, connected gaming and entertainment, connected homes, connected families, and connected brainpower among others.

      Wearable tech is also an extension of the IoT concept. These connected wearables will require organizations to rethink policies and governance - consider the differing opinions on Google Glass.
Samsung Galaxy Gear - Photo by JanitorConsider the possibilities and considerations of something as mundane as a connected toothbrush introduced by French-based startup Kolibree, which aims "to reinvent oral care," according to co-founder Loic Cessot. Sure, initial uses may be personal, but can you imagine a day in the near future when your dental insurance mandates that brushing habits data must be shared to be entitled to regular paid check-ups? Can you say gamification? Or version 2.0 that includes a camera that sends images to your dentist?

     There are a myriad of obvious applications in the home for this new uber-connected world, but business too will be changed drastically by the IoT.  The cover story of the late January edition of The Economist talks about the rise of IoT gadgets and how they, combined with the rise of “big data,” will fuel the automation and elimination of up to 50% of middle class white collar jobs over the next 20 years.
While the IoT and wearables where all the rage, there are a few 2014 CES news worthy gems which caught our attention and sparked an imaginative connection:    
  • Oculus Rift is a new wild card. This technology did not debut this year, but many noted it as “best in show” as their gen 2 enhancements tweak the innovation imagination.  We have been dreaming for years about Virtual Reality (VR) in books and movies and it looks like this year’s enhancements bring us a step closer to VR entering the real world.  From product design to medical and educational applications, VR will change the business world in ways we have yet to imagine.
  • The Sony 4K Short Throw Projector is nothing short of amazing. Over the past few years, we have been hanging LED screens everywhere in an effort to keep our employees more informed.  In fact, digital signage has been one of MCPc’s fastest growing business, but this next generation technology from Sony makes us imagine a world where the walls are screens of information in crystal-clear, super high definition.  The applications are endless: from sharing real time KPIs with groups of people to visualizing big data in a format that will make it that much more powerful.  Cool stuff indeed.    
  • The Nikon xxArray is straight out of science fiction. It is a system which a person and inserts them into computer-land.  Nikon has made it real, going beyond prototyping to serve up a ground breaking way to mix reality and virtual reality simultaneously.  Ok, so how does this apply to the business world?  How about going from telepresence to virtual presence via this technology combined with holographic imaging.   Who needs travel when you can just be there electronically (but you need to wear pants for your video conferences now).
  • A new innovation too good to pass up, the Michael Bay Meltdown was something we just could not help including it in our list.  While it has very little to do with gadget technology, it has everything to do with innovation.  How so?  In order for innovation to work, you have to understand the technology and believe it can change the game.  In Michael Bay’s case, it might be fun to consider relative aptitudes of in-person vs. on-screen storytelling J.
     We are 60-odd years into the “technology revolution” and innovation has reached a fever pitch as change washes over us (socially/economically/personally) in fast and furious waves.  As business leaders we have a choice to make: go headfirst into that hurricane and chart a course to safer waters, or wait for the storm to subside and most certainly erode our competitive edge.  MCPc helps businesses make the obvious choice, however nerve-wracking it can be. We work with all kinds of businesses as a tech lighthouse (has Apple trademarked “iBeacon” yet?) providing safe harbor from the storm of tech change.  We are looking for folks who have a story to tell, as we’d like to share ours. Share with us how your organization has embraced technology first introduced at CES, or how your organization is contemplating technology introduced at this year’s CES, to provide game changing ways to compute, analyze, measure, monitor and make decisions. Until next year, we’re looking forward to a fantastic ride.

Ira Grossman is Principal Consultant, End User and Mobile Computing, and has more than 15 years of technology project management experience and is an expert in lifecycle management and mobile device management for the enterprise. Connect with Ira on LinkedIn.
Darin Haines is Chief Technology Officer, and leads MCPc's technology consulting practice and spends much of his time speaking to business and IT leaders about effectively utilizing cloud, collaboration and other advanced technologies. Connect with Darin on LinkedIn.
Devon Campbell is MCPc's Sales Director for End User Computing. Devon brings a wealth of experience with vendor and customer relationships and is oriented towards discovering and executing on precisely what each customer needs. Connect with Devon on LinkedIn.
Jason Taylor is the Chief Operating Officer, and has been with MCPc since 2007, focusing on the establishment and optimization of day-to-day operations in the company. Jason has also served in both sales management and managed services development roles. Connect with Jason on LinkedIn.  
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