Home PodcastBlog How to Use CES to Understand the Future

How to Use CES to Understand the Future

January 16, 2012

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas featured 2,700 exhibitors. Amid the chaos of the new technologies and the documenting of it all, three subtle themes encapsulated the show: real-time, personalization, and efficiency through integration.

1. Real-time

1,182,202,872 people were reached on Twitter by the hashtag #CES or #CES2012, according to @intlCES. While Twitter’s search feature is nothing new, it highlights that people need and want to instantly connect to others sharing the same experience. For the sharing economy of the future, we’ll find that real-time matters most:

Real-time is difficult, and precisely because it is so challenging to do real-time well, and safely, the market will reward those who invest in making the “here and now” a priority. In short, you’re closer to risk, and closer to reward.

Consumers want real-time access, and businesses demand it. The sharing economy is not only online, it’s also picking up speed.


Intel led the force with their introduction of a real-time monitoring technology called the “Social Cockpit.” It tracks social media chatter as soon as it happens, and not surprisingly was a command center for CES buzz:

The Social Cockpit tracks not just hashtags, but specific topics, products and brands being discussed online. The data is updated each hour to give a sense of who’s on top throughout the day as well as a daily report to sum up social conversation, said Aaron Strout of WCG, a communications agency that helped with the project.

Online interactions are influencing offline behavior more so now than ever before. This new paradigm shift furthers the need for real-time systems and communications. (And as a side note to real-time, storytelling through sites like storify will play a large role with real-time interactions).

2. Personalization

From Facebook, to Spotify, to GetGlue, the online world is all about personalization these days. But what about tangible “offline” technology? PrimeSense is leading the way with intuitive, personalized television. This new smart tv gives you what you want to watch based on preferences you set and your past viewing behavior. Not bad for the idiot box.

On the other end of the spectrum is the marriage of health and technology. This lends itself to a more personalized consumer experience, and simultaneously promotes the use of wearable fitness electronics (one of my top 5 predictions for 2012). BodyMedia had a large presence at CES, with Jillian Michaels’ endorsement of the BodyMedia Fit armband. Even though Jawbone’s Up seems snazzier on the surface, it went to market with massive failures. The BodyMedia Fit armband seems like a good alternative with better technology. Plus, there’s no better spokesperson than Jillian Michaels for losing weight. That woman is the definition of hardcore.

3. Efficiency + Integration

We’re always looking for efficiency from how we communicate to how we operate. It’s the theme that binds all technology together. The best way to be efficient these days? Integration. It’s how efficient technology comes alive.

Integration was the most apparent in automotive electronics at CES. Nvidia’s “Visual Computing Model” is now integrated with Audi, merging navigation, entertainment, and gauges into one processor. The Tegra 3 mobile processor will replace traditional dashboards across all Audi models by 2013.





Another nice integration is TuneIn Radio’s partnership with Ford, which offers listeners over 50,000 AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations. Finding ways to provide customers with more in-car listening options is always a smart move.

So there we have it. Real-time coupled with personalization leading to efficiency through integration are my overall take aways from CES 2012.

Did you go to CES? What were your thoughts?