Last week the annual Computer Electronics Show (CES) invaded Las Vegas, drawing around 170,000 visitors.
Also in attendance were 3,600 exhibitors to entertain the crowds and deliver new groundbreaking technologies to the masses. Many of the technology items showed glimpses of what may be possible in the near future while others are available today and ready to change the way that we think about technology.
Much of the hype from this show generally revolves around the technology of the future. Products that are commonplace today such as the 3D high definition televisions available at retail stores like Best Buy, were once unveiled at the CES expo. Self-driving cars and virtual reality are delivering on the promise of technology for tomorrow, while many other items at the show are a reality today.
Two items that stood out to me as items that will likely impact much of the business world are wearable technologies and the Compute Stick.
Wearable technologies were very popular this year around the holidays. Fitness trackers like Fitbit, Jawbone, and other brands are activity trackers that you wear on your wrist that monitor your movements, sleep, track steps, and some even measure your heart rate. When you are idle for too long, the device reminds you to get up and move around. Even better, these trackers can connect to your other devices to provide more detailed information about your activity levels.
The concept of the fitness wearable has expanded, creating a market for business devices as well. The new line of wearable devices are extending your smartphone apps to a watch style device that allows you to send and receive email, text messages and phone calls. You can sync your calendar and have reminders available to you without even removing your phone from your pocket. Tracking email in the conference room has just gotten easier with these innovations.
The second item that stands out to me is the Intel® Compute Stick. If you’ve seen the latest entertainment devices like the ChromeCast, the Amazon Fire Stick or the Roku Streaming Stick then you will understand this device. If not, CNET Magazine offers a detailed article reviewing these products.
The Compute Stick is a little larger than the previously mentioned devices and is essentially a computer that is housed in what amounts to be an oversized flash drive that plugs into the HDMI port of a television or monitor. It operates as a full computer without taking up any additional space on your desk or conference room computer.
The bluetooth capability allows you to operate a keyboard and mouse and the WiFi feature connects you to the network and Internet. The operating system is similar to that on many of today’s tablets, a quad core Atom processor with 32 GB of storage and runs on 2 GB of RAM. While not the fastest machine available, the potential is enormous. As more and more companies move to cloud hosted desktops, the specs on this device are more than capable of delivering connectivity to their hosted services. At an expected retail cost of $149, it may be more cost effective than even a thin terminal machine.
Be warned. Before you chase the new shiny objects as the next idea to get your office working more efficiently, stop and evaluate your 2015 goals and make sure your processes for what you do best jive with the latest gadgets. A process review is usually a good start.
Now that the biggest tech show in the U.S. is over, what are your favorite gadgets for the coming year?