This week, tens of thousands of people will converge in Las Vegas for one of the largest trade shows in the world: the Consumer Electronics Show. Thousands of tech companies (yes, thousands) will reveal their wares and make major announcements about new products ranging from cell phones to tablets.
With so many companies making so many announcements, the noise from the show can be overwhelming. Still, you should know what to expect and what to watch out for, because these announcements could have a major impact on your small business.
In preparation for the show, I’ve been digging through thousands of emails, announcements, and pieces of information in order to figure out what will happen at CES 2010. I’ve come up with a couple of key themes and trends you should monitor during the show, along with how they could potentially impact small businesses in the next several years.
Key Themes to Watch for at CES 2010
· Tablet Computers: Months of rumors and speculation around the still-unannounced Apple Tablet have spurred competitors to build their own devices, many of which will launch at CES. These mid-sized screen devices should do everything from read books to surf the Internet. Dell is likely to reveal an Android tablet at the show as well.
What it means for SMBs: If tablets take off, you’ll have a whole new audience to account for. Peripheral technology for tablets will be important, along with formatting your website for tablet-sized computers. I wouldn’t invest a ton of money into it yet, but watch to see if this market explodes with growth in 2010.
· 3D Technology: A lot of vendors have to be in love with Avatar, the 3D epic that just passed the billion dollar mark. You can expect a lot of 3D TV announcements from the likes of Panasonic and Sony, as well as 3D monitors and games.
What it means for SMBs: This CES could mark the beginning of an entire new entertainment market that will be worth billions. 3D technology will rise in demand, and some predict there will be 40 million 3D TVs by 2014. It’s a market ready to grow like weeds.
· Convergence of TV and Internet: There will be a lot of focus on “connected TVs” at this year’s CES. Products such as the Boxee Box and innovations such as the Xbox’s recent integration with Last.fm will be on full display at CES.
What it means for SMBs: People expect more from their TVs. People want to surf the web and have the option to choose their shows like they do on Hulu. Things like the Boxee Box allow for the web to merge with the TV. Your small business should watch out for technology that can bring your product to the living room screen.
· Mobile: Everyone’s going mobile, and CES 2010 will be no different. This umbrella category includes the potential launches of new Android phones, mobile TV, more mobile netbooks, projector phones, location-based services, and more.
What it means for SMBs: If your business isn’t prepared for the mobile revolution, get ready now. More and more of our computing will be done from our phones instead of our laptops as they become more powerful and add more features. Having iPhone and Android apps will be essential parts of business in the next few years.
· The Shadow of Google and Apple: While these two companies are unlikely to announce much at CES, Google and Apple’s shadow will be apparent. Why, you ask? Because of products both companies are almost certain to launch this month: the Google Nexus One phone and the Apple Tablet.
What it means for SMBs: People will be looking to these devices and how they do as a barometer for their markets and for the innovations that will be revealed this year. The failure or success of these products could define the technology landscape for years to come.