Why the CES Matters to You.

It's that time of year again. When technical journalists flock to the warmer climates of Las Vegas to gorge on gadgets and hyperbole at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

While I have never been to this event (and have no immediate plans to start attending), I have developed an increased interest in CES, or more importantly, the resulting expectations around technology that it creates.

The line between personal and professional devices has blurred significantly in recent years, but if the trends that show themselves at CES this year are any indication, there is much for you to sit up and pay attention to. Here are a few things I've noticed so far.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) - In this world being espoused by CISCO among others, practically everything has an IP address and can communicate with everything else. While it sounds logical, you and I know what type of infrastructure is required to support this. In our organization, we already allocate four IP addresses per person. I can see we are going to have to increase this as well as truly manage both the security and traffic on our networks. Included in this is the number of vendors' technology - watches, glasses, shoes, belt buckles (the iChastity belt for parents of teenagers to track their children's proclivity for trouble (Just kidding…I'm making this one up but if anyone actually builds one, I want my cut…).

Bigger screens with 4K resolution - 3D Television this year is as prevalent as my hairline. What was big last year is not even visible in 2014. In its place is ultra-high definition screens and video cameras. For those of us in corporate IT, this means file size of media files are growing exponentially. You may consider how much storage you are currently offering (either on premise or cloud) and determine how you are going to expand it.

Toy Robots - I'm not talking about the wind up metal humanoids of my childhood or vacuum cleaners that terrorize the dog, I'm talking about an increasing number of machines that can do much more than entertain. They can actually do real tasks. It won't be long before the technology of CES makes its way into our organizations and we will find ourselves having to support these machines along with the desktops, tablets and networks we are currently supporting. Do you have the skill sets on your team, or the potential to develop the new skills needed for these networks of machines?

3D Printing - It's not if 3D printing will come to your organization, it's when. This isn't really a CES trend, Gartner and others have been identifying it as key for a number of years. What has changed is the affordability of these devices that can not only streamline the prototyping process, but potentially change the manufacturing process as well. Have you included this on your technology roadmap?

Jello on the Wall - OK, this is my category. The CES is full of devices that will never come to market, but are presented to gauge reaction from the press and bloggers. Some of it is really cool and some is absurdly weird and all of it is over-promised and under-delivered. But your users don't know that. The news is absolutely full of these oddities and what it does is create some misplaced expectations around what technology is available and what it is capable of. Most times, there will be a wide gap between what you offer and what CES is promising.

Do you remember when IT leaders all around the world felt they could resist these expensive new toys called 'smart phones?' After all, the IT department could dictate which technology we 'allowed' on our networks.

How's that working for you? Or, is BYOD one of your major projects right now?

You may find that many of the trends being showcased at the CES this year will be knocking on your proverbial door in the not too distant future.


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