CES Serves as Early Warning System for Enterprise IT Planners

NEWS ANALYSIS: It’s true that the major players, including Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, appear to be sitting out this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. But CES still serves as a valuable early warning system for what enterprises will be dealing with in 2013.

The Consumer Electronics Show, which opened its doors on Jan. 8 but started hyping products days before that, is missing some notable players. Apple and Microsoft chose not to attend. Google isn’t showing Android and Amazon isn’t there with Kindles.

But that doesn’t make CES less important to your enterprise. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Much of what the other players are showing in January will find their way into your enterprise later in the year.

So why aren’t Microsoft and Apple at CES? That answer is easy: Neither company needs CES to generate interest in their products. They’re perfectly capable of holding their own events and focusing the world’s attention just on their companies. Why share the spotlight with hundreds of other players?

Google isn’t there because the company doesn’t make consumer electronics. It creates the basic software that many devices use, but it doesn’t make the devices. Amazon sells branded devices, but like Apple and Microsoft, it doesn’t need CES to sell them. After all, Amazon sells everything including its own branded products.

The companies that are there, however, promise to affect your business in one way or another. Samsung made a strong appearance as did Sony. Lenovo has already started making product announcements, including a half-dozen Ultrabooks and convertibles with touch-screens and a pair of business-oriented laptops with optional touch-screens. All of these computers are designed specifically for Windows 8.

But Lenovo isn’t alone. Samsung and Sony announced a series of Windows 8 Ultrabooks. HP announced its TouchSmart Sleekbook. Dell apparently didn’t announce anything, having just issued a series of product announcements before the holidays.

While these new products will certainly show up in the hands of your employees at some point over the next few months, perhaps what’s more important are the trends that a show such as CES demonstrates. For example, it’s clear that with the advent of Windows 8, touch-screen notebooks and Ultrabooks are becoming a big deal. Likewise, the mobile devices showing up at CES make it clear that larger phones are an important trend.

These trends impact on your IT department in a number of ways. One is that you’ll really need to learn how to support Windows 8 in a touch environment. These devices are coming, ready or not. The next is that the growth of touch-screen devices in general means that you’ll need to learn to develop internal software to work with touch-screens one way or another.

While you’ve certainly had years to learn about iOS and Android devices, this is the first year in which Windows devices are starting to show up in large numbers with a touch interface.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...