The year is 1967, there are 14 groups participating in an offshoot of the Chicago Music Show, and the latest and greatest clunky tube TV is front and center on display. This was the first official CES exposition. The next year, a $2,000 Portable Executive Telephone weighing in at 19 lbs and requiring an FCC license was the belle of the ball; and a few years after that, in 1970, the audience was stunned and inspired by Sony’s showcasing of the VCR. That’s right, the VCR, the device that dominated the industry for more than two decades until ousted by the DVD. Seems stone-age considering that most people now snag a DVD from a vending machine if and only if their streaming service of choice just isn’t giving them what they want, but at the time, this was breaking technology.
This past week was CES 2019, which, much like the technology on display there, is a far cry from it’s 1967 ancestor. The show this year boasted more than 4,500 developers, manufacturers, and suppliers exhibiting their often groundbreaking technology, and over 180,000 people in attendance from all over the world. CES 2019 was a hit in Vegas, and all the buzz around the office this week. I’ve heard talk of drones modeled to look like sharks, smart toilets that allow you to set the mood, the roll out of 5G, IoT, and so many more tech advances. It seems here at Echo there are two schools of thought on all this roll out, both from those that were there, and those who watched from the sidelines. We have a lot of folks who are wholly excited about being able to check the fridge for milk while at work, and then those who err more on the side of caution. I believe I heard the term “Skynet” get thrown around once or twice even.
Two of our Echo family were front and center at CES 2019, and they landed on opposite sides of the thought spectrum. While they both agreed that there were a ton of fun gadgets, and that these advances are coming whether we like it or not, Daniel was feeling pretty great about the possibility of changing his thermostat from the office, or checking to make sure the stove is off halfway through a family road trip, Gary was more concerned about the possibility of devices being hacked and the all around eerie feeling of being watched by your own home. Both sides are valid and have really good points behind them. IoT is convenient, let’s face it, it just is. Knowing that at any point, from any place, I can make sure my door is locked, close or open the blinds, turn on or off appliances, and see what is happening in and around my own home makes things not only easy, but it gives an added sense of safety too. To Gary’s point though, one hack, one set back, and all that reliance and safety is out the door. One little slip and it all crumbles. It begs the question, are we ready for this? Ready or not, the future is now and IoT is coming full force.