CES...coming soon. A peek into the future of commercial AV...by Christopher Maione

The world’s largest consumer electronics show is less than a month away (January 6-9, 2011, Las Vegas).

To give you an idea just how big this show is, last year it boasted over 125,000 attendees with verified registrants representing the United States, Canada, Mexico, and more than 130 other countries and included a host of manufacturers, retailers, content providers and creators, broadband developers, wireless carriers, cable and satellite TV providers, installers, engineers, corporate buyers, government leaders, financial analysts, and the media from around the world.

Anything and everything “electronic” is displayed at this show. If you’re an electronic geek – this is heaven – with the latest and greatest technologies from every manufacturer of electronics (worldwide) being showcased. This is the show where we can see, touch and play with products in audio, computer software & hardware, content distribution, digital imaging, electronic gaming, emerging technologies, entertainment content, lifestyle electronics, telecommunications, internet based multi-media systems, wireless technologies and devices – just about every electronic gadget known to man and a few that we didn’t know about yet.

Many people think this is “consumer” electronics, so why would anybody focused on commercial AV want to attend? Simple, it’s a peek into the future.

CES will unveil new technologies in flat panels, videoconferencing, 3D, home theatre sound systems, digital video acquisition and replay, media / software applications, a/v distribution, remote controls, Droids, Berry’s, iPhones, iPads, iPods, iDocks, smart phones, PDA’s etc. just to name a few which will ultimately make their way into the commercial market.

And, it’s not just new hardware – it’s also new technologies and applications of electronics in our ever evolving day-to-day world.

Day to day, first in our homes, and then in our businesses we are inundated with a variety of electronic equipment, interfaces and devices – I did a quick count of the electronics in my life (and I’m not by any means a gizmo freak):

(4) flat panel TV’s
(2) DVD players
(3) Cable TV receivers
(1) home theatre sound system
(1) portable DVD player
(1) portable Satellite Radio receiver
(1) portable LCD TV
(3) iPod (home, running, airplane)
(2) portable ipod dock / players
(1) digital voice recorder
(1) digital video recorder
(1) digital SLR camera
(1) digital camera
(1) desktop computer w/ speakers
(2) webcameras
(1) laptop computer
(1) Netbook
(1) PDA (Blackberry)
(1) Blue tooth headset
(2) IP speakerphones
(1) Wireless tabletop speakerphone
(1) Cordless phone w/ Skype
(1) Portable video projector
(1) Mini portable video projector
(2) Laser pointers
(1) Wireless gyro mouse

And this doesn’t even begin to mention my archived equipment such as audio cassettes and CD players. Face it, consumer electronics have “taken over” the world.

Here’s my point; quite often, it is the consumer’s experience with products that set the expectation level in our commercial AV spaces. For example, consider the last time you got a request from a corporate executive to fit out a conference room with the latest and greatest audio/video technologies, and when pushed for a bit more detail about what he was looking for, he responded “like I have at my house.”

To keep ahead of the commercial curve, we need to see and understand what is available in the consumer market and then find the ways and the applications that fit our business needs and the needs of our clients. So this year I’m returning to CES to see what new consumer technologies can and will have future applications in the commercial AV world.

I expect this year’s CES to be more of a technology overload than usual especially in the categories of phones, pads, 3D, and flat screens since these have been evolving exceptionally quickly.

On another note, I have a nephew – the kid is 21 years old and is a real wiz with electronics. I’ve been waiting for him to turn 21 so I can bring him to Vegas and give him a dose of this show. I’m certain he will be blown away. For my part, I will be able to get a first hand view of the electronics world from a younger generation’s perspective. This experience will be invaluable as the young adults of today turn into the executives of the future – and knowing, seeing and understanding the technologies they are growing up with is the key to leading the direction of the commercial AV systems industry.

For more information regarding CES visit www.cesweb.org

The AVNetwork staff are storytellers focused on the professional audiovisual and technology industry. Their mission is to keep readers up-to-date on the latest AV/IT industry and product news, emerging trends, and inspiring installations.