By Chuck Martin
The International CES show in Las Vegas finally gets underway today, though the indicators of much of what will be seen was previewed for more than 1,000 media people during the two days leading up to the show.
The first day of pre-CES press events comprised some 70 vendors showing what they plan to introduce or display over the course of the week.
Last night, about 200 vendors gathered at the annual PepCom event at the Mirage Hotel, where media attendees, warned not to arrive early since there would be excessive lines to get in, could see the latest in technological innovations, which were somewhat all over the map.
At this year’s CES, it appears a lot of companies are convinced that consumers want to wear various things embedded with all kinds of technologies.
Voxx Electronics, to a standing-room only crowd of media groupies, introduced the 360Fly camera, which you can easily wear on your everyday helmet to capture photos in — you guessed it — 360 degrees. Perhaps a bit more practical, they mentioned they have a $99 add-on to a smartphone to capture 360-degree panoramic views.
TVs this year are big. Well, at least in size. But after listening to the presentation introducing the new line of Sharp TVs by the Chairman and CEO of Sharp and various other top execs, I have to wonder if consumers will be bewildered by the complexities of choices and whether they can keep up with all the details of the smartness of television technologies.
Companies also are getting closer to linking smartphones to door locks, with companies including Schlage and Goji showing such products. Many in that category seem convinced consumers want to use their phones rather than their keys to open their doors.
There were numerous companies showing their intent on helping you protect your mobile device, like those from HexTec, HZO and Balistic, so you can drop your phone (even in water), as long as one of their products protects your device.
But back to wearables. Martian Watches has a watch that, linked to its app, shares the notifications you receive on a smartphone to its watch. Its earlier version, in the few hundred dollar range, had speakers to notify users.
But the company president, Stanley Kinsey, told me that while customers want an analog deice (the watch part), the merchants selling the connected watches want a lower price point.
So the new watches being introduced at CES no longer speak, but rather through “smart vibrations,” let the owner know about the messages that came to their phones.
Can these marketers convince consumers to wear products embedded with various technologies or will consumers determine that what they are wearing is just fine without any technology in it is just fine, thank you, just may help determine the buzz of the next CES.