Every day we connect to the world. We do this through our smart phones and computers. We do it at work, at home, and on the run. But what if it didn’t stop there?
This year’s Consumer Electronic Show is all about connectivity. It's not about a huge product launch or crazy new technology. It's about connecting every facet of our lives into a digital blueprint.
The television, of course, is no longer just a TV. It is no longer even a single screen. Tablets interface with televisions to provide interactive experiences. And each manufacture I've seen at the show is working to find new ways to make media more accessible.
Even Smarter TVs: TVs will begin to “monitor” what you are watching. They will be able to make recommendations, TiVo-style, on other shows you may enjoy. This process will be social, too; TVs will know what your friends are watching and talking about and make suggestions based on that information.
Now, even your toothbrush will be singing 'Gangnam Style.'
Health Technologies: From toothbrushes that sing your favorite song (I'm guessing to ensure that you brush long enough), to a connected fork that helps you lose weight, the digital age has left the living room and moved into the medicine cabinet. We have seen wristbands that count your steps (a fun game at CES in Vegas) and blood sugar monitors that upload to the cloud. We have seen smart alarms, sleep monitors, and even connected blood pressure monitors. We have even seen baby monitors that not only alert you to your child's crying but can create a “cry log.” (All good, until it’s used against Junior when applying for that new job.)
A "connected fork" designed to help the user lose weight.
Just wait until these health-connected devices are introduced in the work place. What would happen if insurance companies could make them mandatory? It will be interesting to watch them evolve.
Smarter Homes: Imagine mom is on the way home from work, and she is being “tracked” by her home’s thermostat. Because she will be the first to arrive home, this smart thermostat begins to turn the heat up to her liking.
And it's not just the thermostat that will be monitoring the family. In a not-too-distant future your car will not only monitor its own health and alert you when it needs maintenance, but it will be able to tell you where your 16-year-old has driven and alert you to an accident and what has been damaged. It will open up to Google’s walking maps when you leave the car to make sure you never lose the vehicle in a crowed parking lot or busy city street again.
And what is the epicenter of all these connected devices? The smart phone. This device has embedded into our lives and is here to stay. With the use of apps it will become an even more essential lifeline to all that we do.
I look forward to the next few days at CES. From what I have seen so far, I can tell you, like it or not, the digital age is here. We are just all along for the ride.