Presenting CES: Consumer Electronics Socialization
Emcee (an actual microphone): I'd like to introduce you to CES, which we all know stands for Consumer Electronics Socialization. We've got a lot of great speakers here -- and Bose SoundDock, you know that doesn't just refer to you!
Bose SoundDock: Boo!
Emcee: Thanks for the annual heckling. This year's CES has been especially meaningful for us. Unlike a show like South by Southwest (SXSW), which is social in the sense of people connecting with each other, CES is all about us. It's designed for us devices to communicate with each other. To start off, I'd like to go around the auditorium here and hear a handful of examples of how you've been socializing at CES 2012. Xbox, why don't we start with you?
Xbox: I have never felt younger. This year, you’ll be able to browse content on your Windows Phone and access it through your Xbox. And just wait until I fully integrate with my new cousin Skype.
Emcee: Skype, why don’t you tell us more about that. Skype, are you there?
Xbox: She was just here a second ago but dropped off. Anyway, I’m also really excited about our improvements in voice controls.
Dragon TV: You know I’m already doing that, right? My parents at Nuance Communications are taking voice recognition technology from the PC to the mobile device to the TV set this year.
Vlingo: You’re not the only ones. We’re taking our Virtual Assistant from the phone to the TV.
Emcee: The TV is such a focus of cross-device communication. Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, LG, put down your remotes. We know that you’re all very excited about this.
Simple.tv: It’s so much bigger than voice control. You can now pre-order my DVR that can record broadcast television shows to watch from your other devices, like laptops and phones.
Emcee: Sign me up. CES is hardly just about us socializing with the TV, though.
Atari Arcade: That’s right, my parents at Discovery Bay Games made me so that I can instantly turn an iPad into a classic retro arcade game console. Socialization is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?
Emcee: Exactly. From gaming, it’s extending into other areas of the home.
Whirlpool: I’ve come out with new washing machines and dryers that allow people to monitor the status of their laundry cycle on their mobile devices.
Nest: Mind if we chime in? We’re new here this year, but we’ve got a new thermostat that adapts to people’s lifestyles and adjusts energy usage to fit with their consumption patterns. You can then access the thermostat via mobile apps.
Emcee: And it goes even further -- like the garage.
Ford SYNC: Well, I get a little claustrophobic in the garage, but I know what you mean. I’m an actual platform for my cars, so I can become a search engine, an entertainment console, or just about anything else. And then when you pair your phone with me, I make communicating even easier.
Mercedes: I’m also pairing with Facebook, Yelp, and others. Just think of all the ways you can rationalize buying me now. Pay $50,000 for Facebook, and the car is free!
Emcee: Good point. Meanwhile, CES is playing out in all kinds of ways across mobile devices.
Android: From early on, I’ve been designed to sync up with the Chrome browser and other Web-based services.
Kindle: Mind if I chime in?
Emcee: How did you sneak in here?
Kindle: Well, Amazon doesn’t usually let me come to this, but for a lot of consumers I was the first to deliver on the promise of starting content on one device and continuing it on another -- even if you only use the software and don’t buy my hardware.
Netflix: Word. I may compete with Kindle’s people, but I’ve also built the future of my business on universal access to all of my content.
Emcee: It’s true. What you’ve already created is a sign of where everyone else here is going. Years ago, it was hard to have this show, as none of us at CES actually socialized with each other. We’re getting so much better at talking to each other that it’s making people love us so much more.
Emcee: Oh no, Android ran out of juice already. Let’s power up at the buffet. We still have a lot more to talk about, especially as we plan for CES 2013, when none of us will be able to shut up.