CES 2015 Enterprise Technology Review


Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas unveiled some amazing new advances in technology. More than anything, we noticed a shift in technology with the underlying theme thin is in. Lightweight computers, handheld smart devices are now the standard for those companies looking to minimize their employee’s work stations.

But if consumer electronics aren’t part of your core business model, why should you care? It’s a good question and one we pondered ourselves in a companywide staff meeting. The insight we gleaned is that digital disruption (shifts in consumer technology patterns) is lurking at every corner to sway your customers toward your competition.

So what new products were unveiled at CES 2015 that can improve your SMB?

Virtual Access

Our IT techs love the HP DL380z virtual workstation. It’s becoming popular among companies that are migrating from traditional desktop environments to work from virtual spaces. But with a price tag of nearly $1400 per device, it may not be a wise investment if your company employs more than 50 employees.

A less-expensive alternative is to consider using an IT Cloud-based provider. Many CFOs now realize outsourcing their IT connectivity with Cloud technology empowers their users to access hardware and software without sizable capital expense.

One of the smartest reasons to convert to a Cloud-based environment is it allows you reduce your hardware and software expenses. But it’s not just about saving money. In fact, the data analytic available using Cloud resources allows your IT technicians to pinpoint work flow trends among your users.

Connectivity Is Key

Despite CES 2015 centered around consumer product launches, we feel that’s a cue for businesses of all sizes to consider. With new consumer trends shifting every week due to online community interaction, staying ahead of the curve is vital to growth.

One of the most memorable interviews at CES was with Samsung’s President of Enterprise Business Marketing, Ed Abrams. He commented about one of the biggest struggles many organizations suffer is how to implement new technology into actionable, customer-centric measures. Abrams suggests companies should develop a more clear digital strategy that benefits the customer experience interacting with their brands.

It’s no surprise Samsung’s enterprise solutions are catching the attention of CEOs. For example, they’ve committed to streamlining their healthcare and B2B divisions into mobile spaces. Granted, for some companies converting to mobile platforms may not be as easy if they’re not properly funded.

In Samsung’s case, they developed a five year plan to integrate these divisions over time. Doing so is a mission-critical step to building their technology infrastructure. Then adjust based on user demand.


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.

IT Support and the Worker-Driven Tech Revolution

As you’d expect from an event with “consumer” right in the title, the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show kicking off Tuesday in Las Vegas isn’t particularly focused on business’s needs. But the business IT site Information Management has an interesting take on why enterprise should be paying attention to CES anyway.

For one thing, a lot of much-discussed tech trends, from gamification to next-generation tablets, apply to companies as much as to consumers.

Even more, though, these days consumers—who, after all, are also workers—are often the ones driving the adoption of new tech in the workplace. If a delivery driver finds an app that makes it easier for him to steer around traffic as he makes his deliveries, you can bet he’ll use it, even if it hasn’t been approved by the IT department. In fact, it can sometimes be the techies who slow down adoption of new things because of security or reporting concerns.

Does that mean computer specialists’ only place at the office is to put a brake on the rampant spread of new technology? Of course not. A modern IT support service—whether it’s an internal department or an outside contractor—needs to be more involved than ever in the day-to-day life of an office.

Thwarting the adoption of new tech is not just futile, but it can lead to employees inadvertently do things that may be illegal, or counterproductive. Instead, IT support staff need to help employees at every level think through their tech needs and find ways to use the best tools for the job, and use them safely.

That requires not just on-demand IT support, but IT consulting to figure out strategies to stay on top of trends and let workers’ innovation work for the company, not against it.