Tuesday, January 5, 2016

To Catch a Glimpse of the Future Go To CES

Las Vegas is the trade show capital of the world. Not only are there shows in the Las Vegas Convention Center year round, there and shows in many of the casinos in town. The first trade show I attended in Vegas was a trade show on trade shows at Bally's Casino. For 19 years I have had the privilege of attending the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show, one of that city's major annual events featuring companies in the auto aftermarket. Shows like SEMA give companies a chance to tell their stories and show off their new product. Historically this show generates much of the content that ends up in magazines that enthusiasts and people in the auto industry read.

Times have changed though. In the old days the announcements and energy generated by trade shows took months to filter into the pages of publications you subscribed to. Today we live in a world of instant everything, and that includes trade show news and stories about what's new.

This week Las Vegas is host to one of its biggest shows, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). People who love gadgets love the CES. Who doesn't want to see what's new at Apple and Sony and Samsung? What will the next smart phones look like?

Sometimes there's a lag between idea and reality so that what whets our appetite doesn't appear till ten or twenty years later. One example is VR, Virtual Reality. I guess this has developed significantly since first toyed with in the early 90s. The magic of voice recognition software that I first read about in the 90's is almost commonplace now. Take Siri, for example.

Me: Siri, what is the future of voice recognition software?
Siri: Let me have a look. Here's what I found on the web for "the future of voice recognition software."

I had my first Mac in 1987, and my first experience with the World Wide Web in the spring of 1994 (several months before Netscape). It's apparent when you read about what's happening in the realm of technology, we've come a long way, baby.

Wired magazine has been a major resource for staying up-to-date with what's happening, continuously showing us what is coming and when. One article a few years ago in Wired was about how all our devices would be talking to each other. I scoffed, and am being proven wrong. Bluetooth and sensors are changing the world.

All this to say is the Computer Electronics Show is a-happening this week, and if you get a chance take a few minutes to see what your tomorrows will look like by reading the stories coming out of Vegas this week. Here's a link to one place you can start.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. And it's increasingly electronic. Are you ready?

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