Ah, the Consumer Electronics Show: the annual international destination for the most forward-looking technology each year, matched with a frenetic navel-gazing from industry insiders that pales only to the self-aggrandizing swagger of the tech world’s brand behemoths, and big promises from baby hardware start-ups hoping to make it big on a non-working plastic prototype and a semi-polished sales pitch.
Oh, and there are always more than a few gems that make it all worthwhile.
It’s a huge show. I logged 40,000 steps walking every aisle of the show floor over 48 hours, and I’m sure I still missed something.
For 2015, I can tell you I was inspired, underwhelmed and energized at what I found at this year’s show. This was a year of paradox for a culture in the age of technology transition.
There were more booths with Oculus Rift virtual reality demos than companies selling the 360 degree cameras and software needed to create content for it. However, there were many companies exploring new ways to maneuver in 3D and IRL realms, including via feet, ears, wrist and shoes. And NFC tattoos.
There was more talk about autonomous cars as a guaranteed reality than the infrastructure and near-term, baby-step innovations required to support a more realistic evolution.
The TVs this year were truly more picturesque than real life. Except the majority of programming is just finally starting to catch up to 4k, so buying an 8k TV would be lots of wasted pixels.
I witnessed people walking up to strangers and letting them plop a brain scanner on their noggin without a semblance of acknowledgement there could be side effects — or who owned the data from the experience.
There were drones galore. Talk about smart watches, smart homes and smart wallets. But none of it actually plays very well together, and not a lot of it solves immediate problems.
It seems to be common knowledge that if a device can send a notification to your phone, then it’s awesome. I struggle to disagree with this assessment, myself. And enchanted objects — regardless of how life-improving they may be — make non-smart objects look all the more dumb.
There were an increased number of 3D printers this year, and an encouraging base of 3D handheld scanners and material providers growing up to bolster the category.
Last year, the threat of an Apple Watch loomed over the wrist wearable and smart watch vendors. This year Apple stole some mindshare by announcing a March launch date on the first day of the show.
Meanwhile, the rise in haptic technology is truly amazing, and I look forward to that category growing into our computers, wearables and autos. Although, someone will surely get burned (literally), and I fear miseducation will impede its adoption. I guess we’ll see.
Here are some of the advancements I saw this year that caught my eye, separated into the following categories:
- Virtual Reality
- The Future of Hands Free
- Technology to Impact Your Daily Life
- The Future of Personal Transportation
- The Drones are Coming!
- Internet of Things
- Robots, because CES
- The Ridiculous Side of CES
Here we go!
It’s seriously the coolest thing happening in music today.
Listen to the segment here:
Art Hounds: Whale, Italian Style and Live Coding Music
Read my interview with Mike Hodnick here:
Decoding Algoraves: Live Coded Audio coming to Minneapolis
This morning I caught a tweet from Steve Neuman asking news anchor Jason DeRusha about customizing WCCO’s popular “4 Things to Know” segment specifically for his life. The 4 Things segment has run for years and is a quick-hits snapshot of the news of the day.
I jumped into the fray listing my errands for the day: post office, city hall, bank and parent teacher conferences.
How would you feel to see your daily list of errands queued up with a professional broadcast news approach? Here’s the result:
Bob Collins at MPR almost immediately picked this up, citing Jason’s adorableness in turning around such witty and custom content so quickly.
What I think is most impressive is the fact these are posted on WCCO.com itself, with videos hosted on their video server, and all the standard advertising surround you would get with a “normal” story. These weren’t filmed with an iPhone or posted surreptitiously on YouTube. They were professional produced, titled and shared. This wasn’t an influencer campaign designed to draw clicks. But I’m driving clicks to it for the pure fact it’s so well done. Serendipity + quality content = attention.
This is just Jason doing what he does best: 1) Understand consumer culture and how social media works; 2) Understand how TV works; 3) Be clever; and 4) Knit those three together.
PS: I already hit the post office, bank and city hall. Parent teacher conferences aren’t until later tonight. I’ll let you know how that goes on the News at 10.
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“Not one artist’s album has gone platinum in 2014. Is it streaming, albums, the music or all three?
If you’re looking for evidence that the sales model is dead, here it is. If you’re a marginal band on the road surviving on $20 signed CDs, if you’re employing sales shenanigans as publicity to drive concert attendance, I’ve got no problem with that.
But if you’re decrying the death of sales as a vast conspiracy of the military industrial complex, I feel sorry for you. Things change.
Agitating for a return to the past based on the loss of some beneficial features in the future is futile in a world where we sacrifice the keyboards of our BlackBerries for apps on our Androids and iPhones.
Something is always lost in the march of progress.
You could lament the disappearance of vent windows in automobiles with the advent of air conditioning but you’d be fighting a losing battle because the exclusion of these small windows saved the manufacturers money and most people didn’t miss them, when was the last time you even thought of them?
So, so long platinum records. You were a construct of the classic rock era, when the music was so good everybody clamored to own it. Music was the iPhone of its day.
But this really isn’t news. Everything I’ve said above has been in plain sight for nearly half a decade. So if you’re complaining, if you’ve been caught flat-footed, I feel sorry for you. You’re behind the times. In the information age you know nothing. You run your operation on your heart instead of your head.
Then again, if you put your heart in your music we might want to listen to it.
All we want is some truth. From someone who can write, sing and play.
Sounds simple, it’s not”. — Bob Lefsetz