A Week at CES

I spent all of last week at the Consumer Electronics Show.  From CES Unveiled to the obscure companies located at the edges of South Hall, I got a chance to see it all.  There are few trends that became apparent after being there for nearly six days.

The Smart Home

At the LG Press Conference on the 7th even before the official show began, LG held a press conference.  Besides patting themselves on the back about the Optima G, they also talked a lot about smart homes.  A whole slew of appliances this year will be released with features like Smart ThinQ. Smart ThinQ is a NFC (Near-Field Communication) system that allows you to upload and download information from your large appliances like washing machine.  For example, you can look up what wash cycle is best for your stained shirt with the LG Washer App and then place your smart phone near the NFC tag on the washer and boom it goes.

The Z-Wave Alliance also made an appearance at CES. They showcased a plethora of devices ,including the Fibaro Home System 2, that work at the 900’s MHz range known as Z-waves.  If you installed everything they were selling you’d be able to control your windows, thermostat, doors, lights, and anything else that used electricity in your house via your smartphone.

The trends is that more consumers want control over everything, including the very walls they live in.  I know they say this every year, but 2013 may be the year of the smart house.

More Companies Making a Play for the US Market

The Chinese company Hisense made a bit of a splash by taking over Microsoft’s old floor space in the Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  That came front, center, and in force. They unveiled the XT880 and XT900 which are both 4K TVs.  They also showed off a smart fridge.  This is a big move because Hisense is the manufacture behind Dynex and Insigna TVs.  Now, they’ve gone full hi-end when entering the US market, unusual when dealing with a Chinese company.  However, it might not be a risky move since Hisense had over 2 billion in overseas sales in 2012.

Does CES Still Matter?

With Apple and Microsoft leaving CES for their own shows, CES has had to take a few hits.  However, it’s becoming a place for smaller and mid-sized companies to show off their wares.  Maybe not on the show floor where space can cost $20,000, but at the smaller events like Digital Experience and Show Stoppers.

I managed to attend the LG and Hisense press conferences.  At both, they tried to sell a life style rather than introduce a lot of new products.  That seems to be the trend for larger companies.  Selling a lifestyle insures a repeat customer, showing off their personality through their purchases.

All-in-all, CES had a good showing this year.