Tag: CES update

#CES2014 Kickoff Event: #Drones #Cloud #POS #Wearables #FuelCells #HomeAutomation

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#CES2014 kicked off last night with the “CES Unveiled” event. I attended, and as it’s not my first trip to CES, it seemed like there was a good mix of evolution and revolution in the products on display.  Some of the major themes on display were as follows:



Even though I called #BS on the Amazon Prime Air publicity stunt a few weeks ago, drones are still going to be a big leap forward in 2014.  The drones on display at the event were very impressive, and I could see how they could be utilized in a number of scenarios for home and business use, including:

  • Imaging and agricultural yield management in a large field
  • Live traffic reporting from trouble spots around a city
  • Crowd management at an outdoor event
  • Real time overhead video at a football game
  • Surveillance by law enforcement
  • Overhead security camera for a large parking lot
  • Delivery of packages by Amazon

While I’m still not crazy about having millions of drones overhead, I think there are some practical uses of this technology.  Let’s just make sure that we get the NSA under control before we start using these things in earnest, OK?

If you are still not convinced about how far robotics and design have come in this area, I encourage you to watch Adam Savage’s video where he demos his robotic spider.  The capabilities which have been achieved in this space are amazing.

#Cloud #POS

First Data was exhibiting the Clover point of sale system, which is a tricked out Android tablet that’s used along with a cloud-based point of sale system to process transactions and manage retail stores.  (Clover was purchased by First Data in 4Q 2013)  While I spent a very short period of time at their table (which was very crowded), it looked very impressive, and I plan to visit them during the show.  The overview video from their press kit appears below.

An Intro to the Clover cloud-based point of sale system


It is clear that wearables will be a big topic of discussion at this years International CES, but I didn’t get a good barometer on how ready the products are for the real world. Everyone had their obligatory “Dick Tracy” bluetooth smartwatch which served as a second, smaller screen that pairs with your phone, but none of these have impressed me as “life changers” thus far. More on this later in the show.  There were a number of exhibitors at the event who were presenting their take on the next evolution in the FitBit exercise tracking devices.  Notably absent was Google Glass as well as other devices which use “heads up displays” to access information without using traditional screens.


The most interesting wearable I saw was a pair of swim goggles with embedded heart monitoring.  This item was displayed in a showcase of award winners by CEA (pictured above), but was not available for testing at the event.


The Upp fuel cell, which will be distributed in the US by Brookstone (MSRP $199, available in Q1 2014) looked very interesting, and there were signs that this technology will be on display elsewhere at this year’s show.  I’m glad to see this technology finally reaching the market, and hope to be able to evaluate this product for a future post.


A second fuel cell vendor named Brunton was on display in a glass case as a CEA award winner, but I was not able to speak with a company representative about this product’s capabilities and US distribution outlets.  I hope to see them during the show later this week.


The Lowes Home Improvement Iris platform (via the Killer Bee) was announced, and is an interesting platform for managing connected devices in the home which I would love to review in my own home at some point (hint, hint, Lowe’s PR people).  (existing components and offerings are available online here).

The Arrayent Connect platform is a cloud-based framework for integrating connected home devices
from multiple ecosystems together.  This toolset appears to make it possible to connect enterprise applications, mobile applications, and analytical tools to devices which four major communication protocols (Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, AC900/868, and ZigBee).  The company’s offerings are targeted at manufacturers, systems integrators, and others who want to connect devices together from multiple manufacturers across multiple platforms without needing to write code.

Since Arrayent is selling their technology to go under the hood of products from Maytag, Whirlpool, I don’t expect you to hear much news about them in the coming months.  The company’s efforts are still important to solving the problem of communications and “data plumbing” between the wide range of connected devices we use every day.

In summary, I recommend that you stay tuned.  I’ll continue to separate the wheat from the chaff at this year’s harvest of new technologies and devices over the next few days, and will present many of these items in a webinar, “From CES to You: New Productivity Tools for 2014” on February 6 from 1P-3P ET.


An Update from the Road

So I’m on the road this week….pexels-photo-490466
I wanted to let you know that I was a conscientious objector to CES this year.  Really, if I want to hang out with 100,000 of my closest friends & neighbors, I’ll stay home and go to a football game.  Seriously – maybe next year.  For those of you looking for gadget guidance, I’ll refer you to my friend, Dr. Bob Spencer, who is carrying the torch for the skeptical gadget fan, and has posted some of his observations from his trip….er… pilgrimage… to Vegas for CES.  Heck, he even got a free dinner out of the deal from Greg LaFollette, so if they’re giving away free dinner, I may have to go next year (chortle, chortle….)

I had the privilege of getting an update from some software vendors yesterday, and I’m excited about the progress that many of the vendors are making in updating their products and otherwise finding new and innovative ways to meet the needs of the profession.  Once much of the stuff is released from NDA’s, I’m going to have a lot to blog about.  One trick I’ll recommend to those of you who spend much time in webinars is to set up your trusty LCD projector to display your webinar on the wall of your hotel room.  I did this yesterday in Syracuse, NY for a day of webinars in the Doubletree here, and it really helped me keep from going blind staring at a tiny screen.  I just closed in my garage as a home office (sorely needed – I was cramming about 300 sq ft of stuff into a 150 sq ft office.  I now have at least 300 sq ft to work with, and I can pare down the stuff a little bit.  I’ll send some pictures once I get the desk thing worked out, pics hung, etc.  It’s a pretty nice little space, and it has 14 gigabit ethernet jacks in the wall…. it’s nice to spend a little extra on the home network for a change.

[On a personal note, today my one year anniversary of my lap roux-en-y gastric bypass, and I would recommend it to any of you dear readers who have a BMI high enough to qualify (usually 36+).  I’m down 130 pounds, and have started the walk-jog thing at the hotels so I can get ready for a possible run in the 2008 NYC marathon (yes, I am aware that the original marathoner dropped dead after running 26.2 miles – but it has to be done!).  While it has a lot of ups and downs (the marathon), I’m looking forward to getting this done before I finish being 40 at the end of 2009.  Thanks to all of you who have offered your prayers and support over the last couple of years of this journey – the trip seems to get better and better each year.]

(blogged from the Outback Steakhouse in Syracuse, NY (where I ate a very tasty tiny steak)on my personal laptop and my Sprint aircard)