CES 2013 flash analysis: disruptions and disappointments from consumer tech’s biggest show

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Most disruptive technology at CES
  3. Most disappointing technology at CES
  4. Flash focus: internet of things
  5. Flash focus: robotics
  6. Flash focus: 3D printing
  7. Flash focus: TV technology
  8. Flash focus: interface technology
  9. Flash focus: virtual reality
  10. Flash focus: digital health
  11. Flash focus: connected car
  12. Flash focus: mobility
  13. Flash focus: smart home
  14. Open-ended responses to the most disruptive technologies
  15. Open-ended responses to which company had the most impressive technology at CES
  16. About Michael Wolf

1. Summary

Every January the themes for the coming year in technology are, if not outright determined in Las Vegas, certainly on show alongside the cityʼs casinos and all-you-can-eat buffets. Thatʼs because Las Vegas is home to CES. CES, or the Consumer Electronics Show, is now much bigger than its original name implies. While the show originally was all about — what else? — consumer electronics, nowadays it shows off all the latest in smart-home technology, digital health, connected cars, virtual reality, and mobile platforms.

Given how CES is now a barometer for such a wide array of technology segments, we at GigaOM Research decided to ask our readers which way the tech winds will blow over the next year based
on what they saw in Las Vegas. We conducted a survey and asked a few basic questions, such as:

  • Based on announcements at CES, which technology category do you think will have the most disruptive impact in 2013?
  • Which technology was most disappointing at CES?
  • In a few words, tell us which CES technologies and trends made an impression and why.

We also asked respondents to tell us which technologies and companies they were most impressed with and why.

In this report, weʼll look at the technologies our survey respondents thought were the most or least interesting at the show. We will also add context to the numbers in the form of our own analysis. The categories examined in this report are TV technology, smart home, connected car, internet of things, virtual or augmented reality, 3D printing, interfaces, digital health, mobility, and robotics.So what did we learn from our survey and our own observations of the show? Here are a few highlights:

  • There is no dominant winner-take-all technology at the modern CES. As I mentioned previously, the show has gone from one focused primarily on TVs and consumer electronics to a show where nearly every type of technology vendor comes to show their wares. In fact, CES has almost become many shows in one.
  • The future is here today, and itʼs shipping. While CES will always have a large amount of vaporware, many of the technologies that were previously largely talked about in the future tense are available today. From the virtual reality of Oculus Rift to smartphone-controlled home locks, the future has arrived today, itʼs shipping, and it may even scale.
  • One manʼs trash is anotherʼs treasure. While 16 percent of our respondents felt digital health was the technology that had the best showing at CES, 13 percent felt it had the most disappointing show. Thirteen percent felt 3D printing knocked it out the park. Another 8 percent felt it hit a dribbler to first base. My takeaway is that our respondentsʼ reaction to each technology is based on their perspective and expectations.
  • Mobile is the dominant computing paradigm today, for better or worse. Mobile, which has been bucketed as “growing” and “emerging” over the past two decades, is now the primary computing technology. In other words, itʼs vastly important, but the more interesting developments are coming from the periphery of mobile rather than mobile itself.
  • CES is dead. See you next year in Vegas. Every year about 100 journalists pen a “CES is dead” post, pointing out how the show has gotten too big, too scattered, and too long in the tooth. Theyʼre all right. But CES is still immensely valuable as a networking show. I mean, where else can all of the tech world get together, compare notes, eat at the buffet, and do some deals?

Full content available to GigaOm Subscribers.

Sign Up For Free