EPSB reflections on CES

Mark Strembicke, David Callandar and myself debriefed every day at CES, reflecting on the coolest things we saw and talking about what it means for our school district. Upon returning home, Mark wrote a great reflection he sent out to his team along with some good links that captured some of our discussions. Here is what he wrote:

CES is a gathering of electronic providers showcasing their latest products, some which will soon be on retail shelves, and others that are years away from production or even a sponsor.  Last year’s show saw 160,000 attendee’s from over 140 countries.  This year’s show appeared to be equally as busy.  Manufactures like Samsung, LG, Intel, Acer, Sony, Panasonic, and Sharp were but a few of the big name companies on site.

The show this year had some better organization around specific themes, so it was easier to see all the stuff about a particular topic.  Companies were group into areas like Kids and Technology, Family Technology, Health and Fitness, 3D Printing and even Privacy.  Tons to see outside the usual TV’s, Speakers and Games. One area that was of specific interest was “Eureka Park”.  This was a space set aside for new companies to showcase their ideas.   These are the products before they are even products.

One of the reasons to attend this event is to see where the market is going.  What’s new and what will we see in our schools.  The opening keynote by Samsung was of particular interest.  Below is a 6 minute highlight … worth watching.

(and if you liked that,  you can watch the entire hour of it here: http://youtu.be/Fl0r9Xpjg8k  )

Overall, my impressions on this year’s themes are:

  • Internet of Things.  Big this year is IoT.  While a challenging concept to grasp it comes down to three components.  You first need a sensor to measure something.  Then you need a processor to do something with that data.  And lastly you need communications to send that data somewhere.  Really this can be applied to almost anything.  If can be a case where the music you are listening to on the bus, or in your car, transfers into your home stereo the moment you walk in the door.  It can be your appliances attending to your needs before you ask based on your habits.  Or if could be a plant pot that tells you when you need to water or fertilize your plant or if you need to move them to a brighter window.  It’s truly mind boggling to think of all the possibilities.  The challenge is an ecosystem where they can all talk together vs. a proprietary environment where each company’s products can only talk to each other.
  • Wearable Technology.  There are many manufacturers producing some form of watch-like technology that provides one or more of three themes;  health related info (pedometer, activity information, heart rate) or geographic related info for travel (running, hiking, mapping), and lastly communication information (email, text, messages).  Oh yes AND they can tell time!
  • Robotics.  Most of these were in the form of flying drones with multi-blade helicopter type forms carrying a camera.  New this year was more autonomy with collision avoidance and follow-me features.  As well, features ranges from the professional movie producers to the more consumer grade.  If you want to take a selfie type picture with you and your friends and no one around to take it … send out your drone using your iphone to control it and snap a pic.
  • Self Driving cars were a notable mention (as was all the new tech coming to cars).
  • 3D Printing and Scanning was also a notable mention.  Better, Faster, and cheaper.
  • Bluetooth/GPS Trackers were a notable.  Fine your car keys.  Find your dog.  Never lose your wallet.  Don’t forget your child in the car!
  • 3D headsets … looks to be all the rage.  Lots of people wearing goggles at the show looking around.  Quite funny to watch.
  • Back to the Future … Did the movie get it right about how it would look in Oct 21, 2015.  While flying cars aren’t available, lots of things indeed are here.

I wanted to close off with some specific reports on “cool tech”.  These articles do a better job showcasing the tech than I can.   Here are three links, each with a short video.  See what’s new and exciting.

TV’s and more.  (Good Video clip with summary)

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/tvs-at-ces-2015-are-all-about-color-and-smarts-107425349859.html

Internet of Things (Good Video clip highlighting items)

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/ces-recap-day-1-the-internet-in-everything-the-107320444779.html

A video clip that talks about the LG, Sony Walkman, Smartwatch, Lenvo (good quick watch)

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/ces-day-3-wrap-up-mobiles-las-vegas-of-all-the-107527438824.html

And if you want to know more … google “CES 2015” and start filtering down to what you want.  Lots of different people writing up reviews and such.

The Internet of Things at CES

For the last few years I have talked to teachers about the internet of things and how inanimate objects in this world are recording data for us to use. The purpose of these talks was about how important it is for us to teach kids how to be masters of this information, instead of letting products use that info to tell us what to do. After hearing the BK Yoon’s keynote on the Internet of Things (IoT), that message is louder than ever.

The main message of his address was how the IoT is a reality today, it is not something we need to talk about in the future tense. He mentioned some very cool characteristics that are needed for it to continue to grow and develop in a healthy way – Connectedness, openness and security.This message has definitely defined my time here at CES. I see it in so many of the products and the slogans.

Connectedness is the way for devices to speak to each other, regardless of their brand (perhaps a bit of a dig at Apple). Everything becomes a device once it gets a sensor and can transmit information. For example, we saw a heated winter boot with temperature controls you set from your cell phone. we also saw a bluetooth padlock that unlocks when you are near it with your cell phone. Better yet, we saw cars with SIM cards that talk to other nearby cars to generate traffic information and connect your car to you and your home.

Openness can also be described as collaboration. Companies need to work together and share ideas and information for this vision of the future become a reality. There were lots of booths that promoted collaborations between companies. The security company ADT and teamed up with IFTTT to create home security programs that you can use to manage your house. For example, a camera at your front door is connected to your doorbell and your phone. When someone rings the bell, you can see who it is and let them in all from your phone.

The final point about security is a tougher one to address at the writing of this blog. I will come back to it after we get to that section of the convention. Seriously, this convention is huge.

 

Samsung keynote ces