CES 2012 at Technology Report ?! OMG!


The rumors, of course, are true.   Starting immediately, over at Technology Report, I’m covering the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with “pre show” coverage.  In January I’ll be there roaming the halls in real time looking for the next big thing in Consumer Technology.    One of the fun things about CES is that it’s something of an “industry insiders” show, so you have pretty good access to folks that might otherwise be hard to talk to.  This photo is from the 2009 conference where I had a chance to ask Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally if  Ford would be taking bailout money from the US Government.


Photo Credit @JoeDuck Technology Report. Use with attribution OK.

Mulally told me he did not think so, and very much to Ford’s credit he has remained true to that comment.  In fact Ford recently pulled a commercial, some say in response to White House pressure, where they noted this as the commercial takes a big dig at the other places that did take bailout money.

In an industry with what generally seem like a lot of lackluster intellects, Mulally was a very impressive speaker during his keynote talk as well as an impressive  “real time answers” guy in the give and take after the event (pictured here).   An aerospace engineer by training, Mulally is clearly a key factor in Ford’s apparently successful efforts to recover despite many global economic obstacles.  But Auto technology is not my specialty.  However in theory if not in practice I really *am* an expert at “social media” since I do have a …. wait for it….  Masters degree in the Social Sciences and about 20 years in various technology fields, mostly relating to using the internet to promote travel, tourism, and destination marketing.

But ome to think of it, NOTHING is really my speciality.   I’m a jack of some trades and master of none, except maybe table tennis, and then only for somebody of anglo saxon heritage. That said, most of what I’m hoping to report on at the show will be the latest and greatest computing devices and social media trends.    CES is not really focused on the content and programming portions of internet technologies, but there are always great examples of presentations and programming at the show.    In fact one of the most impressive tech things I’ve seen *anywhere* was at CES 2010 – Intel’s “Web Cube”, a superb blend of fast hardware and clever real time internet information flow where you could have the system go out and find people talking online about something and then pull those comments and information about them into the cube.   It was visually, conceptually, and informatively striking and I only hope they don’t just strand that technology in the exhibit.   Need to check as they may have this in use in other online places already.

Intel: Computers Win by 2050

Intel’s Chief recently explored some of the innovations that are shaping technology, and suggested that computers will surpass humans in intelligence by 2050.    Although I think that is a pessimistic time frame, it is encouraging to see the notion of very intelligent and/or conscious computers discussed in the mainstream company news:


One Laptop Per Child Project and Intel’s departure

One Laptop Per Child Project
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

For a project of this scope it was very disappointing to see Intel’s departure, only a few days before CES.   I agree with CNET that this was handled poorly on both sides, and I’m especially concerned that Negroponte’s brilliant vision may ultimately get undermined by his in ability to compromise with the market forces that drive consumer electronics much more than altruism or societal need.

That said it appeared that AMD remains solidly behind the project and many countries are buying in, so hopefully this will bring to pass the grand vision of technology to those who have the least chance of getting it otherwise – poor children in developing countries.

My favorite project of CES remains the Meraki mesh networking concept.   It’s a great example of leveraging existing technologies in new and clever ways while keeping common sense, profitability, and global citizenship in mind.