That’s the question asked this year at CES. The event has quickly become the way the digital media industry kicks off its year, one party and client meeting at a time. I was there, and as far as I can tell, the answer to the question is about 1,450 – that’s approximately how many people I saw from our industry in Las Vegas.
In all seriousness, CES is a very interesting way to shake off the cobwebs of the holidays and jump right back into the thick of things. It’s an immediate deluge of technology and conversations about technology, but I find it inspiring: If you navigate it right, you can start to gather information and think about ideas you may never have thought about before. New ideas are what keep me going.
I was enamored this year with a conversation on the connected home. In years past the connected home was more about entertainment and less about functionality, but this year it seemed to flip-flop. What I saw was about making the home more responsive to the needs of the people who live there, rather than just adding more shows to my TV set.
I always envisioned the connected home would indeed revolve around the television, but this year’s vision felt like more of a multihub, three-way system that unifies the TV, your mobile device and (surprisingly) the home security system.
The home security system becomes the trigger to realize you’re home and create a customized environment based on who’s in the house. Your mobile device becomes the signal that lets the home know who exactly is there, simply by reading their device IDs. The TV becomes the user interface as well as the hub for managing the home, with your mobile device as a true second screen to extend that UI.
As an example, you come home and open your keyless entry with your mobile device. When you enter the house, the music turns on to your favorite station in the rooms you are most likely to enter, and your TV screen lights up with voicemail from your home phone, as well as the last few emails you received. Your Nest heats up in advance of your typical arrival time so your house is warm when you arrive. Your TV reads you the voicemails, allowing you to respond using your mobile device, and your kitchen starts to turn on, to make coffee or whatever your standard routine is when you come home.
You do a quick workout, then head to shower right afterwards, and your shower has already warmed up to the desired temperature so there’s no need to run the water in advance. When you leave the bathroom, all dressed and ready, you enter the living room, and the TV shows you what programs it’s queued up based on your previously favorite shows.
This connected home is not a vision. Most of these devices actually exist right now, if you know how to hook them up and you have some disposable income to work with.
The innovation is everywhere, with light bulbs and connected appliances and even the already exciting Amazon Echo, which acts like a personal digital assistant in the home.
CES for me was about the epiphany that all of these devices are real, and when they connect to the Web, and eventually they connect to your connected car, things get much easier because your personal environment is customized to what you want and when you want it.
Of course many people are worried about the interwoven network of data that’s being created and how it could be used. But for now, just bask in the idea that you can focus your time and attention on the things that matter. Rather than coming home to clean up, your automated Roomba will have vacuumed, the security system will let you know the home cleaning service already came and went, and you can simply spend time with your kids and enjoy being there.
That’s what I’m looking forward to. Now, about those light bulbs that play music…
Cory Treffiletti is vice president of strategy for the Oracle Data Cloud, and is a founder, author, marketer and evangelist. This post was first published by MediaPost.com and is republished with the kind permission of the author.
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