Thursday, January 14, 2010

Consumer Electronic Show (CES 2010)

It's been quite some time since I updated this blog. I have been off from work since December 24, 2009 and I have returned back from Florida to Washington DC to continue my work.

For the first time ever, I took a vacation to Las Vegas to visit the Consumer Electronic Show or CES for short.

The show was really great in that there was so much new technology out there and so many great people to talk to and so many gadgets to play with.

The main key note speakers were Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, and Alan Mullaley, CEO of Ford. I owned a bunch of Ford stock but sold it about $3 ago so I guess I should have held it a little longer.

Microsoft displayed some of their new tablet technology, the new Winblows 7, and their Microsoft mobile embedded technology that powers Ford, KIA and some of the other car makers goodie bags in the car.

Alan's presentation for Ford was very indepth and well presented. They had many cars at the show that you could sit in and play with all of the controls without anyone telling you to go away.

And of course they had gadgets. The North Hall that connects to the Hilton was basically all Chinese. There was so many cool little gadgets to look at my head was spinning after the first hour. Just when you thought you had seen it all, something else new and shiny caught my eye.

There was a plethora of phones, iPhone lookalike gadgets from China and other PDAs, DVD players and electronic books.

There were two areas that really caught my eye:

1. Home automation
2. Spy gear

Under home automation, there are two distinct groups: Those that leverage Zigbee and those who leverage Zwave. These two technologies use RF to communicate between the control head and all of the peripherals.

I'm sure I am speaking geek here, so allow me to simplify while I elaborate. If you have seen those really cool homes on HGTV where the lights automatically turn on at night or when you have on your surround sound movie system, the lights dim, this is usually through some kind of controlled source. It is called a control module. A company called Control4 has a very affordable module for about $399.00 that you can use that will fully automate your house. What does this mean?

1. Control your climate system. Program your A/C or heat to come on or off at certain times.
2. Control security and access to your propery.
3. Control your listening system
4. Control your surround sound system.
5. Monitor your home from a remote location using your iPhone, computer or other device.

I saw so many cool things around this technology, like for instance, let's say you open your garage door, go outside and get the paper and then go back inside your home without closing the garage door. You can set up your system to scan your home and let you know that you have left the garage door open (perhaps after 15-20 minutes.) If you are not home and you have simply forgot to close the door, you can shut the garage door remotely even though you are not at home.

I can't think of anything that you couldn't do. And what's amazing is that this technology uses a pretty good fail-safe and secure system (Google ZWave and Zigbee.)

If you recall, the other area was spy gadgets or spy gear. From China, I saw spy cams built into every conceivable object. One of the neatest ones was a concave mirror that you mount up in a corner so people don't knock into each other. Naturally, we all look into those to prevent crashes.

I also saw inexpensive GPS units that you could buy and surreptitious mount on a vehicle for tracking purposes. I saw many of these, so many in fact, they all started looking the same.

Other notable technology included a new GPS unit by Delorme that comes with Satellite Texting service for $17.99 a month that you can take with you to remote locations and still have basic communication channels. Delorme GPS with Satellite Link.

Other than that, I gambled too much but I only had one beer the entire trip (Sierra Nevada of course.) I rented a car and coincidently, my mom was in Vegas on vacation so we were able to spend some nice time together.


Post a Comment

<< Home