The CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas was once again a circus with hordes of attendees as far as the eyes could see. Beyond the cache of the exhibition and the glamour of new gadgets and technology, CES is a marketplace. It’s a scene dominated by techno rivalry, confidence and good-natured competition that, while seemingly ridiculous at times (the biggest, the most powerful, the thinnest, the most connected and the most waterproof), sets the bar for what consumers can expect from the year ahead.
Here are a few technological advancements that deserve mention:
As is often the case at trade shows, some conferences are extremely educational, while others are more…hypnotic. This year, in all areas, there was much conversationbetween operators with rights and new players. It became clear that no one was going to “win” and, as one speaker put it, “Most of the innovative business models are the result of shared revenues deals.”
And finally, we can only smile at the common thread of slogans and buzzwords on the market. “Smart” and “life” have been cooked up in every which way. The diction isn’t without merit; after all, digital continues to work its way into all aspects of our lives: health and fitness (numerous mobile monitoring solutions for fitness as well as for senior citizens), vehicles, appliances and even school, often due to the easy integration of tablets.
Read more from Jean Pascal at A Nos Vies Numériques.
As technology progresses, the futuristic lifestyle portrayed on the children’s cartoon show The Jetsons doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. We have smartphones to make communicating easier, smart cars to make driving easier and artificially intelligent personal assistants to make our lives easier. The next frontier? Smart homes.
The Nest thermostat, the brainchild of iPod creator Tony Fadell, sold out instantly when it went on sale. Just like your current thermostat, only better: it’s sleek, significantly reduces your energy consumption and is able to program itself to adapt to your changing routine. You can even control it from afar through web and mobile apps.
At the 2012 CES show, LG unveiled its line of Smart ThinQ appliances, including a fridge that can tell you exactly what food is inside and when it will expire through its food management system.
Then there are the two MIT Media Lab graduates who created a gadget called Twine that can essentially make any object in your house able to tweet, email and text. The 2.5”, Wi-Fi-enabled square is packed with internal and external sensors that can detect temperature, motion, moisture and magnetism (more to come). Through a web app, users can set up their Twine to respond to language-based rules such as WHEN the doorbell rings THEN text “You have a visitor!”
If Twine hasn’t peaked your interest you could always get a Karotz, the intelligent Internet companion. This smart rabbit has voice-recognition software and can tweet, check your email, play music, take pictures, search the web and read RFID tags.
I think it’s fair to say that the future is going to be filled with all sorts of these cool toys. But I wonder what the big picture will look like. Will we be more efficient? Yes. But I’m not quite sold that we’ll be enjoying life more.
I can see the appeal of this convenient and minimalistic future, but at the same time I find it a little creepy. It’s one thing for a user to control their household remotely, it’s another for the household to seemingly come alive and take on a persona of its own. Digital should be used to enhance my life, not to live it for me. So for the future, I’m going to proceed with caution.
Source: Know Your Mobile
There’s nothing worse than seeing the water damage indicator on your favourite device turn pink after an unfortunate encounter with a sink, washing machine, puddle or even a spilled drink. Thankfully, Fujitsu has answered our prayers and created a waterproof tablet and smartphone – both of which were unveiled at the Consumer Electronic Show. Gadget manufacturers everywhere – PLEASE take note!