Collaboration / AV / IoT / Multimedia / Video / UC
Director of Emerging
Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance
A View From The Road Volume 11, Number 1
In This Edition:
· Happy 50th CES
· Separating The
Wheat From The Chaff
Moving To A Voice First World
IoT Security Finally Emerging
From The Expo
These Are The Drones You’ve Been Looking For
from Las Vegas, where I’m attending the 50th anniversary of CES
(formerly known as International CES and The Consumer Electronics Show. If you’re curious about the past, take a peek
at the CES
timeline here.) I couldn’t get a
clear photo of the anniversary sign above because of the enormous number of
people at the show. It was a record all around,
with an estimated 165,000 attendees, 3,800 exhibitors and more press and media
than the 2016 Summer Olympic Games – and getting around the venues and through
the crowds was an Olympic event unto itself.
With the Press and Analyst events starting Tuesday, the Expo over on
Sunday, and events, showcases, demos and meetings starting at dawn and going
late into every evening, all attendees should win a gold medal for marathon
endurance. Big kudos as well to the
CES team for the logistics this year. Their
app was top-notch for the first time in a long while. The convention areas had fantastic cellular
coverage. (I can remember a couple of
years ago having to walk outside to use my smart device – now it was perfectly
reliable everywhere.) Even Monorail
tickets could be pre-loaded on convention badges – and worked flawlessly. Way to go CES team!
entire conference can be adequately covered by a medium sized team of 10-15
people, but one individual such as myself has no chance to see it all. Because of that I made the conscious decision
years ago to not even try. While Drones, Health
Wearables, and Self-Driving Cars are hot stories, I choose to avoid these
topics. Feel free to read about them in
most news organizations’ CES coverage. I
also stay away from things like the IoT Toothbrush and the Radiation Protection Underwear. There’s no shortage of coverage for those
kinds of items, and if you want to read about that oddball stuff then then
enjoy others’ coverage. I focus both on
items of interest to an enterprise technical audience, and on high-level trends
that will affect the technology landscape in the months and years ahead. This separating the wheat from the chaff
isn’t easy - and I definitely miss a thing or two - but the 18-24 month view
ahead in technology is its own reward.
Hey Siri, Cortana, Alexa –
What’s going on? The most important
thing I learned from this conference is the clear trend of moving to a voice
first world. People hate GUIs, but they
love talking to their devices. Hundreds
of devices were shown that are either enabled to work with one of the existing
voice / AI platforms, or were creating one of their own. CTAs Chief Economist and Director of Research
Shawn DuBravac explained at his Tech Trends To Watch session that we are at an inflection point for
voice control, with the speech detection error rate now at human parity.
He predicted that voice
controlled home digital assistants (Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.) will double
their penetration this year, and that CES 2017 will see the release of
approximately 700 new voice controlled apps.
When one looks at this in the context of big data engines like IBM’s
Watson and others, there will be many more things we can do by voice than ever
before. You can now talk to your home
hub and change the lighting or temperature.
You can now order food right from your refrigerator – or enable it to
understand that it should automatically order milk or eggs when it sees you
running low. You can now tell your
washing machine to order more detergent after you have completed enough washes
to use up most of what you already have.
How do these trends effect the enterprise? Well, from Harman’s perspective, instead of
walking into an enterprise conference room and looking for an AMX touch panel,
you can say “Hey JBL, start my video call” and “Hey JBL, add Bill Smith to my
call.” When you add to that the context
of what other enterprise manufacturers are doing – like the proximity features
that Cisco has shown for years – you can see how the conference room touch panel
is going the way of the dodo. Voice
first and back end artificial intelligence will rapidly become the new UI for
our personal and professional lives.
The explosion of IoT devices over the last few years has regrettably caused
a number of security exposures and vulnerabilities for users. The rush to get products onto the market at
low price-points created a virtual army of unprotected devices – which was
by a number of Botnets. On my AVNationTV webcast Connected!
Everything IOT, we recently discussed the dangers of this overlooked
area. CES this year showed some of the
first solutions to this crisis.
Firms like Symantec’s Norton
have created new routers that employ whitelisting and machine learning to
identify normal behavior and then recognize and prevent abnormal behavior
(malware, hacking, bots, etc.) Cujo created a smart firewall device that does the
same thing but doesn’t require you to replace your router(s) – which represents
an infinitely easier installation. All
of these systems will require an ongoing subscription to the manufacturers’
services to keep them smart and updated.
On the other end of the
spectrum, firms like MicroEJ
secure software platforms for IoT devices that
large manufacturers and start-ups alike can utilize to make their devices much
less susceptible to hacking and malware.
There are finally solutions to this significant exposure, so there is no
longer an excuse for manufacturers to make weak products and for users to
ignore the risks. That’s a very good
thing for all of us.
In the world of displays, LGs has positioned
themselves as the clear leader in the space – surpassing Samsung (at least in
my opinion.) I was privileged to be a CES Innovations Judge
in the display category this year and glad to see that my top pic won the Best
of Innovations award in this category.
They showed the thinnest ever SUHD display – which they called their
It’s about 2.5mm thick, and is a gorgeous OLED that
can mount to a wall with magnetic pads.
LG had all their OLEDs in a massive videowall
display they called their “OLED Tunnel of
Love.” They also furthered the Voice
UI theme we’re seeing this year with a whole series of voice controlled hubs
and robots. (Click the photo below to
see a video of their Home Hub robot – which should be called Blinky - in action.)
On the other hand, Panasonic was non-existent in
the display space for the first time in…well...ever. This absence was more stunning than any
announcements they actually made.
As for Samsung, they get kudos for taking on the
Galaxy Note 7 disaster right out of the gate at the start of their press
conference, saying they’re still working to find a root cause analysis of all
the exploding phones, but it won’t stop them from continuing to innovate –
which is commendable. Less commendable
however were their display claims. They
seemingly implied that the tail on a letter Q made their displays better than
their competitions. Everyone accepts
that OLED technology is the epitome of imaging for high-quality displays, but
apparently not Samsung. In their “These Amps Go To Eleven” moment, they tried to claim that their
Quantum Dot LCD - technology they dubbed QLED – was better than OLED…and
they quoted a real science sounding person to prove it.
In light of the recent
news that Samsung now has no one agreeing to build their TVs it was all a
little hard to swallow. What was
impressive however was their announcement that they’ve created a single optical
cable for all the connections to their displays.
were so many new products and announcements at the conference this year that it’s
difficult to categorize them in a single wrap-up blog. Here are a bunch of them in no particular
headphones and earbuds were a hot item this year with Apple’s removal of the
audio jack on the iPhone 7. There were
flood of new systems (with few any better than the ones that were already on
the market.) One exception was Nuheara’s IQbuds. These are earbuds that are meant to be worn
anytime to improve our ability to hear what
we want and how we want in multiple
environments. They were a CES
Innovations award winner and are definitely worth
checking out. Of course, for regular
wireless earbuds for music and voice, nothing beats the cost and qualify of Plantronics
Back Beat series. I was privileged
to have met and interviewed the
inventor of Bluetooth – Jaap Haartsen
– in the Plantronics suite this year. He
admitted he never envisioned the technology to be as pervasive as it is today,
but because it was designed well it is flourishing.
I had a nice chat
with Huddly Chief
Innovation Officer Casey King about their soon to be released Huddly Go. It is a
cool little camera – disguised as a webcam but with much more processing
capabilities inside. Keep an eye on them
as they release and continue to update it.
I spent some time visiting with the team from
Logitech. They have some very cool
collaboration technology in the pipeline for release later this year – with a
new camera that will be shown at ISE.
IOGear showed a series of wireless HDMI transceivers,
including an Innovations Award winning long-distance system. Being able to wirelessly connect HDMI over
distances of up to 600 feet is a great achievement. Here
is my chat with them.
A firm called ChatSim has negotiated roaming agreements with all
global telecom carriers, and can offer unlimited messaging via some popular
apps (including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp) for a flat $15 a year no
matter where you are. This is a great service
for global travelers looking to cut data roaming fees.
Altia Systems –
the makers of the Panacast camera – showed their new
4K 3D visualization system. They can in real
time have a VR headset wearer move around in the 3D space of wherever they’ve
placed their camera rig. Think about
placing the camera in a museum, or construction site, or architectural model
room and having people look around in detail from the other side of the
world. They can also record the
multimedia and metadata for use in non-real-time scenarios. This will drastically reduce the cost of
producing 3D “envisioning” content – and hopefully put some architects that
gouge for 3D content creation services out of business. Altia also showed
me some impressive new features in their Panacast2 camera soon to be
released. This team really gets where
the collaboration camera market is going.
has developed an enterprise grade “see what I see” system that allows people to
wear video enabled glasses and transmit what they’re seeing to others at
another location. This live from the
field system is now applicable for use in environments where reliability and
security is required.
A start-up called Olive & Dove showed a new
videoconference enabled doorbell called RemoBell – this one much simpler than those on the
market already. It takes standard AA batteries
– which means power doesn’t need to be wired for it. It also allows five simultaneous people to
connect to the camera. Here they are describing how it works.
I got a chance to catch-up with TouchJet’s
CEO Helen Thomas. I saw the prototype of
the TouchJet Wave at CES 2016, and now, one year later, they are shipping this
product – which I believe will significantly disrupt the interactive whiteboard
space. You can equip seventy
conference rooms with interactive capabilities using the Wave for the price of
putting in one 85” display from a major manufacturer. Here
is my interview with her, and here is my
recent whitepaper on the entire IWB space.
Finally, I leave the last word for CES to a firm called Propel.
They have created drones in the shape of Star Wars ships (click the
picture to see a brief video from the show floor.)
For a conference as vast as CES2017 – it was amazing to have found
these. After all, these are the drones
you’ve been looking for….
That’s it for this edition of A
View From the Road.
My next update will be after Enterprise Connect
where I will attend as a panelist. I’m
also deep into the planning for the IMCCA
UC Program at InfoComm this
June. It will be an amazing, not to be
This article was
written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions. David
has had over three decades of delivering successful business outcomes in media
and collaboration technology for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting
and academic worlds - including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley,
NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. He now works with Dimension Data as their Principal Consultant for the collaboration,
multimedia, video and AV disciplines. He is also the IMCCA’s
Director of Emerging Technology. David can be reached at
David.Danto@Dimensiondata.com or DDanto@imcca.org and his full bio and other
blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info. David is also the co-founder of Masters
Of Communication. Please reach-out to David
if you would like to discuss how he can help your organization solve problems, develop
a future-proof collaboration strategy for internal use, or if you would like
his help developing solid, user-focused go-to-market strategies for your
collaboration product or service.
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