The eyes of the technology world were on Las Vegas last week as the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place. Organizations big and small brought their latest devices and service to the stage, showing off what the future of personal and business technology could be. One of the biggest takeaways from the event is that the little guy will be playing a major role in future innovation.
A recent article from the Los Angeles Times examined CES and the growing influence of startup companies on the IT landscape. All you need to do is look at the showroom floor to see how the marketplace is going to change.
This year, CES set a record with 3,200 exhibitors that shared more than 2 million square feet of floor space. That is the equivalent of 35 football fields. Last year there were 3,000 exhibitors and 1.92 million square feet.
There are multiple smaller areas on the floor. One of them is Eureka Park. This is the traditional startup corner that this year hosted 200 small companies. That is up 40 percent from last year. There was such a demand that conference organizations created an entire new section of the floor known as NEXT. This was for organizations that are no longer considered startups but are not ready to take on the main floor where the technology giants lay.
There was also the first ever "Hardware Battlefield." Kind of like "Shark Tank," this is where startup owners were able to take the stage and pitch their ideas to a panel of judges including Martha Stewart, for a chance at winning $50,000.
The products on display from small businesses are on par with the larger competition. This increase has been possible because of the nontraditional ways that organizations have been able to raise money and turn ideas into an actual product. This is through platforms like Kickstarter and other crowd sourcing websites.
"If you had an idea and wanted to get it out into the world, you used have to be a tycoon in an industry," MakerBot Chief Executive Bre Pettis told the news source. "Now you just need an idea and the willingness to fail until it works."
Connectivity the trend of the future
Whether it is a technology giant adding to its portfolio or a startup introducing its first product, there is a common feature to many of devices that were unveiled last week — connectivity.
The "Internet of Things" has been talked about for some time and this year's CES showed it could be on the verge of taking off. From toothbrushes that communicate with your smartphone to inform you how well you brushed or if it's time to brush again to a 360-degree camera ball to a car that connects to mobile devices as the entertainment hub, machine-to-machine communication is growing.
If this is in fact the future of technology, it will require improved networking and cloud infrastructures to keep the devices connected. Cloud consulting services can help businesses create the backbone for the latest innovation and help ensure that organizations are ready for the future.