To kick off 2015, the International Consumer Electronics Show welcomed techies from around the world, but it was clear who the star was: The technology behind a cloud and hosting-powered revolution. The CES is where the latest services, devices, tools and gadgets that are changing how people live and work are showcased. In recent years, there’s been a movement toward bettering internet-connected gadgets at work, continuing to expand the Internet of Things, and cloud streaming fully taking over classic media.
Big names were on full display, like the AT&T Work Platform, which offers up potential for users to “bring your own device” (BYOD). You can tack on messaging, voice and data services to a number of mobile enterprise management options like VMware’s AirWatch, Good Technology and MobileIron. It caters to the work habits of Millennials while also completely changing how future generations see work, play and life in general.
The New Face of Work from Wherever
A lot of employers are wary of allowing a virtual environment since they can’t be sure they’re getting the most bang for their buck—what if one of their workers “clocks out” at noon and heads to the beach every day? This technology lets employers keep track of work-related habits on personal devices, so employees can basically use their own, personal gadgets as they wish but only their work usage data is being sent to their employer. That can save a bundle for companies who provide gadgets like smartphones to their workers.
Right now, this data tracking is mostly for tablets and phones, but as more and more gadgets come onto the market (like Google Glass), management capabilities are going to have to keep pace. Another big ticket item at CES was the advancement of streaming media. The latest televisions have always been a favorite at CES and this year was no exception with Android TVs from Philips, Sharp and Sony stealing the show. However, the more important conversation being held was the big move away from satellite and cable and firmly into a streaming world.
Cisco has a cloud-powered solution on deck, which offers on-demand, broadcast, pay per view and DVR all in cloud-based broadcasting. Dubbed a “video hub for your home”, it’s being released in Germany along with Kabel Deutschland. Dish Network was also being talked about thanks to Sling TV, a television app that lets you access a number of live channels from smart TVs, smartphones, computers, etc. for just $20 a month. It plays into the popularity of streaming options such as Netflix, catering to ESPN, CNN, etc. fans that need real-time programming.
DVR marker Tablo also picked up steam with the Tablo Metro. It’s the latest DVR version to stream/record HD video that’s being played on air. Now it’s a self-contained wireless streaming device with a $250 price tag and featuring a digital antenna.
IOW for the Win
The Internet of Things (IOW) is where the biggest action takes place, and we’re getting one step closer to self-driving cars with the connected car. BMW was on hand to show off the cloud-connected BMW i3, proving that digital devices like your tablet can be synced with nav systems in vehicles. This means you can send a text message without those embarrassing Siri-based faux pas while beyond the wheel. There was also Automatic, who presented a diagnostics data system logging a car’s hours, fuel cost, miles and MPG. This has resulted in studies in saving 30 percent on repairs and gas (it also links up with Nest thermostat for users who have that technology at home).
However, the IOW isn’t just for big ticket items. Plants also made an appearance (yes, plants) with the Edyn Garden Sensor One which logs moisture, humidity and electrical conductivity for just $100. You can also snag the $60 Edyn Water Valve for auto watering. Overall, this year’s CES is showing that a future with more connected gadgets/services isn’t just around the corner—it’s here. Cloud hosting and servicing is at the core, becoming not the star but a foundation that’s a given.