A Consumer Electronics Show – 50 Years in the Making

As I sit here I can’t believe 2016 is nearly behind us. There are a lot of things to look forward to in 2017 – but for many folks in the technology world, there is no better way to kick off the year than with the Consumer Electronics Show.  With just two months to go (and 50 years after it was inaugurated) CES is the pinnacle for the tech and electronics industries – their yearly coming out party – and for consumers it’s a peek in to what’s going to be on all our wish lists for the coming year.

We always have a good showing of customers at CES, but this will be the first year that Xively will have customers at our booth showcasing how they are driving the future of IoT.  We’ve been working with a number of companies over the last few months to get them ready for the big show – many of them will be unveiled for the first time ever in our booth.

While we wait for all the new and innovative products to be revealed at CES 2017, I thought it would be fun to take a look at why this show is so important as a launchpad for the next big product idea.  Below are some of my favorite highlights of CES past.


First FM Stereo Headphones (1969):  This was one of the first truly personalized electronic experiences removing the need to fight over the radio dial.  Beside being the ultimate fashion statement, parents everywhere were excited to have their peace and quiet back.



First VCR (1971): Imagine being able to record and watch shows after they first aired?  What seems like a given today, was once a luxury. And just as there are standards war today, we can point to the standards war of beta vs. VHS and learn that better technology doesn’t always win.



Nintendo (1985): Nintendo proved that a first mover advantage (like that of Atari) doesn’t always dictate success. Sometimes being a follower allows you to focus on product differentiation.  In this case drawing users in to spend countless hours trying to save a princess.



The Apple Newton (1992): You could say the Apple Newton was the very first tablet.  While it only lasted a few years, Apple certainly made a point about the future of computing – it would just take them 18 years to really perfect it.  The problem with the Newton was that while it offered an innovative user experience, the technology wasn’t up to par.  Battery life was short, screen resolution was low and ultimately consumers chose to wait for something better.  In 2010 they got it with the iPad.



Sony’s “World’s Largest” Plasma TV (2005):  The 2000s moved us into the bigger, better, faster phase of CES where TVs got bigger, GHz getting faster and memory to carry around videos and your entire music collection in your pocket.



LG’s ThinQ Hub (2016): This launch showed us a maturing IoT market where many companies (not just Google and Amazon) are investing in smart home devices and giving consumers choice.


Some of these products have seen a good long life while others have faded out, but one thing is for sure, CES has been the birthplace of some of our favorite electronics (or their ancestors for the younger generation among us).  We are excited to showcase how our customers are driving the next generation of innovation and helping to inspire other companies to begin their IoT journeys.  Stop back for our full CES report.

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