This was my fifth CES and I still have my gadget glow. I’ll take one of the above, please.
Year one, I was a techshow virgin even though I’d spent most of my life building and running TV stations. And that's when it was all about big screen TV’s. No doubt, until I got into data and mobile/social delivery, did the true underbelly of what it takes to make our lives so connected and creatively showcased did I want to go every year.
No one said that better than Will.i.am. Yes, Mr. Black-Eyed Peas was a killer speaker and innovator and everyone in the room was shaking their heads at his brilliance about tech. He’s even on the boards of Coke and Intel.
So how to find real innovation in Las Vegas? Like today's digital economy, the most innovation was found away from the center. CES's real edge is thus at its edge -- away from its 3,250 exhibitors with their 20,000 finished new products over 1.9 million net square feet of exhibit space and from the row upon row of identical high-definition televisions and from all those "breakthrough" cellphones boasting half an inch of extra screen space.
The most innovative things I saw in Vegas last week was at a "hackathon" at Las Vegas' Palms Hotel, a couple of miles from the main convention hall. Organized by ATT, the old Ma Bell teleco that is now reinventing itself as open-source technology company, and sponsored by GM, Nokia and Ericsson, this hackathon invited software programmers to leverage ATT's data network to innovate new electronic products.
More than 70 teams entered the 24-hour competition to come up with new hardware and software products. The results were stunning. From the reinvention of the car control system, to handless driving apps to a Facebook style audio app to text-to-speech and speech-to-text applications, it was a true innovation event.
The other sessions I attended were “Trends in Mobile”, “Enterprise M2M Health”, “HTML5” and “Top Entertainment Trends”.
– QUALCOMM and nVidia - best processors out there. To see Q’s Snapdragon 800 in action at Paul Jacobs Pre-Show open, was stunning.
– All apps coming will tell you which is data hog to not.
– NFC tap and pay with near-field event dictator will make our lives so much easier. Who needs cash?
– Camera’s - anything over 10Mpix is overkill. Hand sensors, seam stitching and special affects are what consumers want.
– Blutooth 4.0 with 30 ft sensors will be out in Q1.
– ATT’s Digital life: All IP based home connectivity. Smartphones can’t wash dishes but they can turn on the dishwasher from anywhere.
– 6 devices for every man, woman and child. 80% of 20 something’s sleep with their phones.
Pre-Show Event: Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm
Everyone has already seen all the reviews of Paul Jacobs. There were locals there like Nathan Fletcher and a ton of their employees got to go.
As a speaker, form the early days, Paul was easy, relaxed but gushed like a 12 yr. About his baby dragon and clearly, he was having the time of his life. It was a breathless 90 minutes!
The headline technology announcement was the company’s new quadcore Snapdragon 800 series of processors. They provide super speedy (up to 150Mb per second) download speeds over LTE Advanced, and 802.11AC Wi-Fi allows for improved connectivity at home or in the office. It supports CPU speeds of up to 2.3GHz per core. It’s so powerful, you can view Ultra HD (4k) video and capture it on your mobile device...and he showed it live there.
It consumes half the power of its predecessor. That’s important, as our unquenchable data thirst (Qualcomm is expecting a 1,000x increase in network data usage in the next decade) puts a huge strain on device batteries.
But what made this keynote stand out wasn’t the content, it was the presentation. A seemingly random collection of minor celebrities and notables trotted across the stage, including Guillermo del Toro, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski, Star Trek‘s Alice Eve, and even Big Bird. What do these people (or Muppets) have in common? Not much other than a willingness to tout some facet of Qualcomm’s coming mobile future. But it all worked together.
To close the presentation, Qualcomm showed how its technology is used to enable wireless charging for electric vehicles by driving a modified, electric-powered Rolls Royce onto the stage, followed by a performance by Maroon 5.
The conference program at CES was all about delivering maximum value, and the Super Sessions prove it. They are always standing room only. I went to these:
The Digital Health Revolution: Body, Mind and Soul
"I sing the body electric" takes on new meaning where devices let us monitor everything from our stress levels to our genetic sequences, and devices with 100 real-time biosensors. Moderator Arianna Huffington lead four digital health leaders on the latest innovations in the field, how those innovations have the potential to change lives, and what the digital revolution means for the body, mind, and soul.
She’s pretty fixated on sleep and brought the point home when she said she fainted some years back from exhaustion, cut her head and had surgery. She realized she and her employees must sleep more. She put nap rooms at Huffington Post and now encourages people to take time out to nap if they’re about to crash.
Arianna Huffington, Editor in Chief and Creator of GPS for the Soul, Huffington Post
Deepak Chopra, Co-author "Super Brain; Founder of The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Center; YouTube/ChopraWell, Deepak Chopra LLC
David Daly, Head of Oncology for Life Technologies, Life Technologies
Andrew Thompson, Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Proteus Digital Health, Inc.
Reed V. Tuckson, MD, FACP, Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs, UnitedHealth Group
Sonny Vu, CEO and Founder, Misfit Wearables.
Disruptive Technologies Impacting Future of Games and Video
Hi-res, 3D, HD video, Internet-connected TVs, flexible displays, tablets and viral apps. The day is coming when the full console and PC gaming and video experience can be delivered to mobile devices via the cloud. Disruptive technologies on the horizon (this year too) that will change gaming and video delivery reshaping the marketplace for what we love about video - intense clarity and mind-blowing sound.
Tim Bajarin, President, Creative Strategies Inc.
Brian Cho, Partner, Andreesen Horowitz
James Clappin, President, Corning Glass Division
Rosen Sharma, CEO, BlueStacks
Casper Thykier, Managing Director, Zappar.
Content Delivery Networks
TV Connect at CES
Content Delivery networks are evolving to deal with the demands of increased streaming over the networks. I was so bored the first 10 minutes as the moderator had the worst deck but it got really interesting when you saw just how many people are watching on their connected devices over IP. In the UK for the Olympics, more people watched on their tablets than their TV’s! Verizon announced it’s partnership with Red Box as a rival to Netflix too here.
Collin Dixon, Senior Partner, Advisory, TDG
Jeff Finkelstein, Senior Director, Network Arcitechture, Cox Communications
Brian Joe, Manager, Content Strategy, Verizon
Will Law, Principal Architect Media Engineering, Akamai
Robyn Peterson, CTO, Mashable
Mark Teitell, General Manager, DECE
Gavin Whitechurch, Director, IPTV World Forum, Informa Telecoms and Media.
C'NET's Next Big Thing
CNET's Next Big Thing: The Post-Mobile Future - Mapping the Next Frontier of Consumer Electronics
CES focus’s is on smartphones and tablets but the reality is that consumers' persistent, always-on connections and social sharing, are driving us toward a completely new set of devices and services. Molly Wood and Brian Cooley explored the future and its gadgets.
As before, I was impressed with Ford. They were the first to bring the smart phone experience into the car. However, Hyundai took the floor away from them this year!
Fared Adib, Product Chief and Executive VP, Sprint
Sheryl Connelly, Futurist, Ford Motor Co
Mark Cuban, Chairman and President, HDNet
Mega Trends and Mobile First World
The world's leading tech companies discussed the most important trends in consumer Internet and a mobile-first world. How mobile, social, cloud, content, and devices converge for new services and who will offer sustainable business models? Rajeev Chand (most brilliant moderator award) led an interactive debate on the future of consumer services. This was my favorite session of all! Every speaker was clear, passionate, funny, self-deprecating and related to everyone.
Rajeev Chand, Managing Director and Head of Research, Rutberg and Company
Anand Chandrasekher, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Qualcomm
Glenn Lurie, President, Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships, ATT
Kevin Packingham, Chief Product Officer, Samsung (I am completely sold on Samsung this year) and to hear Kevin, and watch their Keynote of Samsung’s Woo, you might agree.
Vaughan Smith, VP, Mobile and Corporate Development, Facebook
– Globally, we have 50% smartphone penetration with 40 billion downloads in 2012.
– Samsung is the #1 global iOS.
– Facebook got 14% of their revenue in 3rd Q from mobile.
– #1 request of consumers if to feed dumb TV content from their phones and tablets.
– Everyone loves Microsoft 8. But, only on a PC less than 3 years old.
– Dream smartphone: Snapdragon 800 chip, 4D with 5.1-7.1 surround sound w/headset, 7 speakers.
– A car will just be a smart phone on wheels. The Home is next.
– Galaxy 3S sold 30 million on FB with $120M in sales last year.
The New Network Effect Changes Everything
As every person and device gets connected across the globe, every industry and country will be altered. Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg, Rodney Brooks of Rethink Robotics, and Ford Motor Co. Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas joined Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick to talk about how their disparate worlds are converging and what it means for our future.
All of these guys were so engaging and funny. None expected to be entrepreneurs. They got ideas and then just figured it out. Kids in college should get to go to this...lots of mentors here!
David Kirkpatrick, Founder and CEO, Techonomy
Rodney Brooks, Founder, Chairman and CTO, Rethink Robotic
Paul Mascarenas, Chief Technical Officer, Ford
Hans Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson.
Panelist: David Lieb is CEO and co-founder of Bump Technologies. In 2008, the company launched the Bump app, which lets users physically bump mobile phones together to exchange contact information, photos and more. The Bump app has been downloaded over 100 million times around the world and is one of the most popular free apps in the history of the App Store. Prior to founding Bump, David was a technologist and algorithm designer at Texas Instruments.
Panelist: Cyrus Massoumi is founder and CEO of ZocDoc. He has extensive experience in the healthcare-technology nexus, web commerce and management. Prior to ZocDoc, Cyrus served as an Engagement Manager at the global management consulting firm McKinsey and Company, where he focused on healthcare and technology.
Panelist: Eric Vishria is co-founder and CEO of RockMelt. He began his career in investment banking at Broadview International and got his first entrepreneurial experience as an early employee at Loudcloud and later Opsware, where he quickly rose through the ranks in various product and marketing roles.
Panelist: will.i.am, founder and chairman of i.am.plus, llc, is a multi-faceted entertainer and creative innovator. A seven-time Grammy Award winner known for his work with The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am is a founding shareholder in Beats Electronics, the creators of the Beats by Dre™ headphones. As an enthusiastic user of technology and in recognition of his ability to harness technology to enhance entertainment, creativity and communication, Intel Corporation appointed will.i.am as Director of Creative Innovation in 2011. will.i.am is fusing the worlds of fashion, photography and mobile lifestyle by introducing i.am+ camera accessories that are exclusively available at the Selfridges and Co. department store in London through the 2012 Holiday season.
Best Press Conference
CES 2013: Samsung press conference live blog
Samsung is looking maintain its domination of the global consumer electronics market with a bevy of TV, home theater, and mobile product news.
GM and Ford Open Up Their Vehicles to App Developers
Ford and GM both used CES to announce that they want software developers to create apps for their cars, and that they will open up their vehicles’ computer systems just as smartphone makers do with their devices.
Auto companies have experimented with software that connects phones and cars, but Ford and GM are the first to open the way for any software developer to create an app that runs on a vehicle. The move is intended to make cars more attractive to younger buyers. But giving third parties some control over the driver’s experience isn’t without potential risks to driving safety and to security.
Ford was the first to make its pitch to app developers at a press conference on Monday. The program is an expansion of the company’s Sync software, which is already found in many vehicles and was developed in collaboration with Microsoft. Up to now, the apps created for Sync were made with close partners of Ford.
The new system is closer to Apple’s App Store. Anyone can access the tools needed to create a Ford app and submit it for approval and distribution through Ford’s store. Unlike Apple, Ford makes those apps available free.
GM announced a similar program soon after Ford, saying that apps made by third-party developers would appear in an “app catalogue” that will be available for GM cars in 2014. Ford and GM will allow apps to interface with cars’ audio and display systems and to access some data from the engine, such as mileage and speed. They will access the Internet through a tethered phone or a car’s own Internet link.
An example of a mobile app suited to cars was provided by Glympse, whose app is already available for Ford’s Sync system; it lets drivers share their location with family or friends with a single voice command or the press of a dashboard button. Integrated with the car is safer to use that way than one on a mobile device. Both Ford and GM also discussed the potential for apps that recommend nearby businesses.
Carmakers will have to tread a fine line between luring customers with apps and increasing the risk of distracted driving. 75% of smartphone owners believe it’s important to connect their smartphone to their vehicles, but smartphone users are twice as likely to use their phone while driving.
Opening cars up to app makers may bring other risks. Security researchers showed in 2011 that they could unlock and control the functions of both Ford and GM vehicles by exploiting their software without even touching a vehicle (see “Taking Control of Cars from Afar”). After Ford’s announcement at CES yesterday, hacker Andrew Auernheimer, aka Weev (see “Jail Looms for Man Who Revealed ATT Leaked iPad User E-mails”), suggested on Twitter that the new features would create more security problems. Chrome Web browser. “If Google couldn’t make a perfect sandbox, what makes anyone think the Ford Motor Company can?” he tweeted.
Bill Clinton Crashes CES To Talk Politics and the Internet
Former President Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance where he talked a little about technology and a lot about hot-button political issues like the environment and gun control.
Clinton was greeted by rousing applause when he appeared toward the end of Samsung's CES keynote, and at the end of his speech a portion of the audience gave him a standing ovation.
He began with some light-hearted talk, remembering that when he entered the Oval Office, cellphones weighed 5 pounds and there were only 50 sites on the Internet. We all remember those days!
He talked about the importance of the Internet and mobile phones in raising living standards in poor countries like Haiti and he spoke of the importance of bringing broadband to all Americans. South Korea is number one in the world for download speeds, while the U.S. is 15th.
He soon turned to other, non-tech topics that were too long and a good part of his 30-minute address. (This is where everyone got restless and started tweeting...this is not the place to do this). "Why would anybody need a 30-round clip for a gun? Why does anyone need one of these things that carries 100 bullets?" he asked.
Clinton's comments divided the audience and led to questions about whether CES is the right place for a largely political speech. It was kind of ironic since Clinton also said the biggest issue the U.S. faces today is division but no one can fault the intent.
4 days later...
Unless you go to a CES yourself you don’t realize it’s hard work. You get up very early to get a shuttle or cab and run from session to session cramming the floor in on the afternoons. You wedge 15-20 minute meetings on the side, finding a restroom at the breaking point and then long lines to cabs back to change for dinners. Even the kids were leaving clubs at 11pm to rest up for the next day. But, I’m making my reservation for next year and I wouldn’t miss it!