CES 2015: Connecting Devices to IoT Is What It's All About

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2015-01-05 Print this article Print

Wearables Are No. 1 Curiosity

Perhaps more than any other individual category, wearable computing devices are attracting the most attention from media types, simply because there are so many never-before-available devices being previewed. Not all will become market hits, certainly, but it's the ideas that count.

We're talking about 4K flying drone cameras and a handheld stabilization system to make them usable; connected watches, rings and a belt that work hand-in-hand with smartphones; and 3D printers for just about anything somebody might want to make at home.

Still, all these connected devices need dependable Internet services, capable networking, multifactor security systems and reliable storage behind them. Nothing here at CES works in a vacuum—unless it is a robot vacuum (iRobot's Roomba) that will clean your floor on demand.

"We're living through a period of creative destruction in the smart, connected devices space," IDG Devices Analyst J.P. Gownder said. "But some of these devices will reach a more mature stage, integrating into how people live their lives, how workers do their jobs and how companies interact with their customers.

"But wearables aren't just about devices; they're about cloud-based services that take data from wearables and return insights to them as well. We'll see a broader focus on services, particularly from companies like Samsung, Microsoft and Google. We'll see more evidence that services link together customers and value-added services in areas like health, fitness, tracking children and pets, and workforce enablement."

New-Gen Transportation Getting High Attention

Connected vehicles and the IT that goes into them are off the charts at this CES. Whereas five years ago it was exclusively about Ford and its Microsoft Lync system, it's now all about dozens of car manufacturers cramming multiple computers and subsequent features into new vehicles for this year, 2016 and beyond.

"Mercedes and Ford are likely to unveil news about new connected car products and services. If they follow past practice of talking only about features for new cars, they'll be repeating the industry mistake of over-investing in new car tech and under-investing in using mobile apps and services to build brand relationships with existing customers," IDG Chief Analyst Frank Gillett said.

"What I'll be watching for are signs of the auto industry embracing the mobile mind shift, such as Ford did by adding specific features and support to Automatic's product that improves the experience with cars already on the road, rather than only brand new cars."

As is typical for CES, Apple is hard to find this week. The Cupertino, Calif., world leader, which launched its new iPhones, iPads and Apple Pay system last September, prefers to walk its own event path.

eWEEK this week will publish a series of articles examining news and talking to experts in the various device categories at CES. Stay tuned.


Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz
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