CES 2017…How do you summarize an event attended by 177,393 people from all around the world, spread out over 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space, located at 7 different venues throughout the strip, with literally thousands of vendors clamoring for your attention?
21 Categories of Industries
We’re talking robotics, automotive, video, audio, virtual and augmented reality… major categories, it’s simply not possible to cover the whole thing and dive as deeply as you’d like into any of them.
My attempt at a deep dive was, as you might expect, into the audio portion of the show. That element alone was located in three different venues from the Hilton Conference Center to four entire floors of the Venetian. The rest of the show for me was simply skipping the rock of my curiosity across the raging river of the remaining offerings.
The Bisection of the Industry Continues
Consumers of meaningful audio, meaning those for whom an audio experience being better than their smartphone isn’t the standard by which its quality is measured, and those for who that standard is meaningful, continue to move farther apart.
Those, for whom quality audio is a secondary objective, are pursuing convenience of access over quality of output. That offers some interesting opportunities for Aperion.
We love great sound and tend to side with those for whom that is an important element in their buying decision tree. And we love the convenience of the smaller, less intrusive options that have myriad input choices including, but not limited to, voice command.
It was interesting to listen to the industry pundits pontificate about the Alexa world… gleefully touting the ease of use and size of the echo, while glossing over the Orwellian element of having a corporation eaves dropping on literally every conversation within earshot of their listening device, ever present to the opportunity of selling you something, delivered to your door the next day.
The instant adoption of Echo et. Al. indicates the masses seem totally content to invite Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple to “listen in” on whatever goes on in their home or office. I don’t think the societal ramifications of walking away from our privacy so glibly are fully understood by those doing it, and those of us not participating are still swimming around the bright shiny lure of convenience. Frankly, I think that’s a bit creepy, but I’m a data point of one.
That said, there is a space to explore and Aperion is doing it… actually, we have been exploring it for some time. You’ll see the results of our internal noodling later this year. Let me just frame that future offering with one of the understandings guiding our path… a “smart home” doesn’t have to be “open home.” The other understanding is what you’ve come to expect from Aperion… that you will get the best performance possible for a given product purpose.
We’ll leave it at that for now.
TV’s are Bigger, Thinner and More Affordable Than Ever
The other elements of the show are simply evolutionary paths that most conscious consumers would have expected. And TV sound systems suffer. We smile. Although we could imagine combining a new Samsung QLED TV (which was unveiled at CES 2017) with our Aperion Audio Bundle.
Smart Phones are Even Smarter
Some Smart phones are poised to replace computers with cool interfaces with keyboards, mouse and external monitors… similar to the old laptop docking station, without the need for the laptop. With most of our applications and data storage in the cloud, all we need is some meaningful processing power, which we’ve actually had for a couple of years now.
I breezed by the robotics since life-sized offerings and drones haven’t made the leap this year they have in the past. Like a slinky, a certain amount of technology is stretched into the future and then a huge amount of movement is made is a very short time. The cadence of that industry is in the stretched tight cycle. I expect a lot more next year, or soon thereafter.
The Internet of Things is Mind Boggling
Like the smart phone monitoring/Echo dilemma, embedding our world with RF devices to initially tell us when we need to buy milk, to the inevitable. the milk gets delivered without action on our part portents for another round of exploration into what is lost for what is gained. I think the generational divide couldn’t be more pronounced here.
Generations that remember a world without the internet and mobile devices will recoil at the losses of privacy that technology will mandate. Generations that have grownup touching screens as infants won’t risk the loss of the screen for something as trivial as the preservation of their identity.
The automotive section was breathtaking. The Detroit Auto Show started today. I’ve got to believe you won’t see much more there than we did at CES. Beautiful concept cars. Amazing technology. A future of creature comforts and productivity for those of us that spend time commuting by doing so in a driverless car. I’m not holding my breath for that ultimate nirvana. We’re a few generations of developmental and technical integration away from that utopia, but you can see the glow of it in the distance.
Enveloping, eye opening, exhausting.
Scatter meetings with my dear industry associates throughout the waltzes around crowded exhibit halls, and it’s no wonder I come home needing to pour myself into a hot bath and rub my brain for a while.
[Left] Win Jeanfreau – President and Founder Aperion Audio [Right] Robert Heiblim – CES Chairman