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The Consumer Electronics Show – a Preview

While today is the first official day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there were plenty of great panel discussions, press announcements and buzz yesterday to get conference-goers salivating for all to be found on the showroom floor this week.

In just a few short hours yesterday a handful of obvious themes punched through my travel-weary brain…

Mobile is the Viewfinder for your life. In the Trends to Watch presentation, CEA’s Shawn DuBravac pointed out that 65% of time spent with mobile is for non-communication purposes. Smartphones are the interface for people to get things done, be more fit and healthy, manage their household and thousands of other uses that we have yet to tap. Smartphones are in virtually every corner of CES because they are essentially the remote control for the 20,000 new products and services throughout the showroom floor.

The Data trade-off. We’re starting a new digital era where we are beyond mere adoption of devices to taking advantage of the vast capabilities they have to offer. More often than not, this involves information about you…your personal data. When your data is stored in the cloud, sold to 3rd parties, or used for more targeted advertising, at what point does the benefit of the service not warrant handing over your personal information? As companies develop new services around the collection and harnessing of personal data, they need to ensure that they don’t create friction with their user base. Facebook obviously comes to mind as a company that has pushed the boundaries of this relationship. One of the panelists at a Privacy session yesterday posed the following question to the audience: “How much is your privacy worth to you? Would you pay Facebook $100 a year to keep your information private? Would you pay $10 a year? What is the threshold?”

Sensors. Sensor technology has been around for a while. I’ve been using sensor technology to measure the amount of calories I burn a day with the BodyBugg. It’s immediate, actionable and more accurate than more “analog” forms of data. And according to Mr. DuBravac, sensor-technology is dropping in price so consumers will be seeing layers of sensor-based functions (accelerometers, gesture, touch, voice, etc.) permeating their devices. For example, the iPhone 5 has not only the basic microphone, but an additional microphone sensor to cancel out background noise when recording a video. Beyond that, the “sensor-ization” of devices can take the form of,say, a DVR that can sense who is in the room so that it can customize ad delivery to those unique individuals. Lots more to report in this area.

Driverless cars. ‘Nuff said.

Can’t wait to hit the floor today! Check back for more CES updates and/or follow me on Twitter @janicepsuter.

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