CES 2013

More Trends To Watch At CES This Week

The transition of the smartphone from a phone to a device hub, more sensors in devices and the increasing importance of personal data are just some of what’s on tap in Las Vegas.

While past International Consumer Electronics Shows have been about flashy digital gadgets, this year’s show will focus on taking advantage of those digital products.

The first trend to watch is living in a post-smartphone era. That doesn’t mean we’re done with smartphones — far from it, actually. It’s about the way we’re using our smartphone as less of a communicative device and more as a tool for day-to-day activity.

Today’s average smartphone owner uses the device 65% of the time for non-communicative activities like surfing the Web, playing games and watching videos. That means we’re only using our smartphone 35% of the time for what it was originally intended: communication, including phone calls, texting, some social media and video-chatting.

“The mobile connectivity ecosystem is becoming less beholden to telephony — it’s less about voice and communication and more about being a device interface for other products and services,” says Shawn Dubravac, chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association.

The idea is to start thinking of smartphones, and even tablets, as hardware hubs with services built around them. For example, many car manufacturers let you lock and start your car from anywhere in the world using an app.

This year’s CES will also feature more sensors being installed in devices. We first saw the use of accelerometers in the iPhone in 2007 to flip pages from vertical to horizontal, but today, Google is using sensors to create a driverless car, which has traveled 300,000 miles without an accident.


Technicolor, a technology-driven company for media and entertainment, is working on installing a camera in a DVR, which would collect data on how many people are in the room, and then provide relevant advertising information based on that information. So if a young boy and his dad were watching football, you might see fewer beer ads, and more family-friendly commercials.

Of course, data plays a large part in this. Dubravac says personal data is becoming the new currency.

A third trend to expect at this year’s CES is making smart products — from smartphones to smart TVs — even smarter. “It’s more than just being connected,” Dubravac says. “It’s about actually building intelligence in the devices that will make decisions.”

And as mentioned earlier in a TVNewsCheck story, there are going to be more second-screen opportunities with smartphones and tablets.

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