David J. Danto
AV, Collaboration, IoT, Technology, UC and Video Industry Consultant and Analyst
Director of Emerging Technology
Interactive Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance
A View From The Road Volume 13, Number 1
CES 2019 – Continuing The Transition
In This Edition:
· Still More Concepts Than Products
· The Convergence Of Technology
· Let’s Get (Collaboration) Small
· Notable Mention From The Show
David Discussing CES Live with Adrian Cotteril of the DailyDOOH (Click to watch video)
– well, actually the United Club in Denver as I write this blog during a five
hour layover heading home from the 2019 CES.
Once again this year the airlines and hotels took out their knives and
gouged deep into attendee’s wallets, raising prices to astronomical levels. A non-stop, round trip from my home Newark
Airport to Las Vegas was pricing out at over $1,500 in coach – months ago –
when the planes were still empty. I took
a connecting flight back to drop the cost to at least a sub $1K level (for a
round-trip flight that should maybe
cost $400 at other times of the year.)
CES has just ended, and the concepts and experiences are still swirling
around in my head.
It was by no means a “great” conference this year. In terms of what I gained from the experience it was closer to a five out of ten. This comes on the heels of last year’s conference where a significant transition began from a product showcase to a concept showcase. I’m still glad I was there and wouldn’t hesitate going again, but I’d definitely recommend some sort of shift in the way the conference is planned in the future. When a conference is exhibiting the best new devices, showing up and seeing them for yourself is critical. When the things being exhibited are ideas – Like 5G connections, artificial intelligence (AI), IoT security, etc. – then it makes much less sense to have huge booths and private suites that one has to spend megabucks to travel to just so people can talk to you about those concepts. That problem grew this year, with not just behemoth booths from automobile (and other) companies to show off the sensors and touch-panels in their systems, but it even smaller firms thinking concept only discussions are OK. As an example, I made an appointment with a PR representative to interview a firm on camera about their home IoT security solution which I was assured would finally not be the disappointment that those before it turned out to be. When I arrived, It was explained to me that the solution wasn’t ready yet, wouldn’t be available to consumers (only telcos) and isn’t really 100% reliable. So now I have to travel across the country and fight the crowds (and the plainly insane elevators in the Venetian) to get to this firm’s far flung suite just so they can talk to me about what may be coming, but isn’t ready yet? I hope the CTA will find some filtering mechanism or alternate on-line forum in the future to avoid having all these concepts taking time and space just to make the conference “bigger.”
A Robot Playing Ping Pong (Click to see a video)
What does a robot playing ping-pong have to do with anything? An awful lot if you think about it. The robot needed excellent sensors to see the ball and it’s opponent; it needed strong AI to know what do when the ball comes to its side; it needed rapid and accurate motors to get to the exactly needed place and hit the ball with the exactly needed pressure; it needed connectivity to receive updates and information about its opponents; it needed voice control and speech synthesis to communicate with its opponent. It is a silly yet clear example of the convergence of technologies. It became clear at this year’s conference is that everything we’ve been talking about is actually now the same thing. One no longer has a conversation about advanced displays, about 5G, about AI, about VR/AR. Nearly every conversation is about all of them as aspects of a converged body of technology that will change our lives. You won’t use a voice control device to turn on your TV or your living room lights going forward. Instead, your TV, your car, your living room lights, etc. will all have the voice recognition and AI intelligence built right into them, and they will be connected to your home mesh network or directly to the internet over 5G. As these technologies converge our personal and professional lives will most assuredly change. To give you an example of how this change will come I’ll call out Samsung, who (stupidly) showed a refrigerator that will send you a text if you’ve left the door open. That is not how this is going to work. Next year I believe, we’ll see a refrigerator that will identify you left the door open, will close it for you, and will let you know it did. If you purposely left it open as you were carrying-over groceries or a heavy roast, and it closed it in error, you will just ask it to open the door for you and it will. You’ll be telling your refrigerator or TV to start your car and cool it off or heat it up so it will be comfortable when you go in, and when you’re driving home in that car your house will automatically begin to get temperature adjusted in preparation for your arrival as well. The same AI, connectivity, sensors and automation will begin entering your enterprise conference rooms this year, with voice commands for starting devices and meetings, and facial and/or voice recognition to load your preferences and calendar. Convergence – of the various technologies, and of the consumerization trends hitting the enterprise – is now underway.
In looking at all the technology from my personal perspective as the collaboration guy, the old Steve Martin routine “Let’s Get Small” comes to mind. Enterprise collaboration is making a dramatic shift to less expensive services and products, and more of that “pervasive video” we all used to talk about. I saw a number of cameras and systems (some under NDA) and spoke with a number of people, all of which proved to me that the era of expensive infrastructure and expensive endpoints is over. Scale is going to be the key, and management and reliability at scale is going to be the golden ticket (that few have yet discovered or created.) Personally, things I would no longer invest in are large, on-prem call-management hardware, systems and products (for all but the largest spaces) that require custom programming or complex integration. The space is getting “small.” Maybe that’s why Intel felt comfortable taking the acronym AV – forever associated with the Audio Visual integration space – and usurped it to represent Autonomous Vehicles. If only we had an industry association that was focused on defending AV’s ideals and helping it grow the tent – instead of thinking that what we do is all about the “wow” and keeping insular to themselves – we’d have had a response with some backbone by now. (Another example of getting small, but in this case sadly I think it’s small minds.)
While I’m on the subject of getting small, lighting for video collaboration is also getting small, with two new products being launched as personal devices. One is from Litra – the Torch 2 and Pro lights – and the other one is the Air VC from LumeCube.
Click the pictures of each to see video demonstrations and explanations.
Some items for notable mention (click the pictures for videos here too):
· Altia Systems introduced their Panacast 3, and reduced prices on their Panacast 2:
· The simultaneous translation experts from Travis starting up Zoi-Meet, for real time, live translation captioning:
· And the wow of the show was LG introducing their 8K OLED TVs, and setting up a “Massive Curve Of Nature”:
That’s it for this edition of A View From The Road. The next one will be after Enterprise Connect in March (Where I’ll be moderating a session on AI in enterprise conference rooms.) But do join us in New York end of February for Collaboration Week New York – a new, free, not-to-be-missed event in the collaboration space!
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely their own, personal opinions.
David has had over three decades of experience 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 is now a consultant for the collaboration, multimedia, video and AV industries. He is also honored to serve as IMCCA’s Director of Emerging Technology and as the editor of Sound and Communication’s IT/AV Report. David can be reached at DDanto@imcca.org and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info. 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.
All images and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.