What’s next after CES?

CEO Corner : Article

This week I had the opportunity to attend the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This is a massive show—covering 2 million square feet of exhibit space. For those keeping score at home, the Chrysler Building in NYC is about that size. That’s big.

Every year, CES is a showplace of the latest gadgets: TVs, mobile devices, and more.

ces15_dronesThis year, the buzz around the show was dominated by four categories: connected cars, wearable technology, drones and the Internet of Things. 

These markets all exist in large part because of the existence of different standards. But in looking at the technology, it’s clear more are needed in a few key areas.

One is security. Connected cars are remarkable devices. Humans are bad drivers—we crash way too often. So whether it’s assistive technology or driverless cars, there is significant appeal in connected cars.  But boy, does the security side of this scare me. I don’t like when my laptop gets hacked, but it only goes as fast and far as I can throw it. My car is a different story. Last summer, Chinese hackers gained control of systems of a Tesla S (http://www.cnet.com/news/chinese-hackers-take-command-of-tesla-model-s/).   Who is going to work on more security for the auto industry?

Drones present another challenge. There were scores of drones shown at CES. Some were “pie in the sky technology.” Others appear poised to actually deliver pie from the sky. But all those drones flying about will require standards for airspace management—packet collision on a network is one thing. Packet collision on a delivery drone requires real attention.

Finally, the need for interoperability standards will only grow. CES featured everything from wifi-enabled tea kettles (http://www.firebox.com/product/6068/iKettle) to several connected dog collars (I liked FitBark, mainly for the name.). Developing standard protocols for all these devices to communicate will be essential to consumer adoption.

CES is certainly geek heaven. But the geeks (like me) are all going to have their work cut out from them creating standards to enable this technology to reach its full potential.


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