My first visit to CES was a memorable one. The stories about the taxi lines and sheer size of the showroom floor were all true. But of course the best part was the cutting edge technology on display at every turn. It was probably a good thing that the vendors were not allowed to sell products on the floor or else I would have likely needed to buy a new set of luggage to bring home all of the gear that I wanted to call my own.
Of course, seeing all of the shiny new technology also left me with a feeling of indequacy with regard to my own crop of (once) cool things.
This past holiday season I decided to splurge and upgrade 2 of the 3 TVs in our home. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and reduced prices since the last time I ventured into the TV section of Best Buy and Consumer Reports. I ended up purchasing a couple of Samsung HDTVs, 32 inch (master BR) and 46 inch (family room).
I was feeling good about the purchases until I showed up at CES. The size of the products on display were amazing-80 inch models were the rule not the exception-and then there was the technology. The messaging I heard from most of the manufacturers was that HD is dead, in a year or so you will not even see any new HD TVs hit the market. The new norm is 4K and many of the next-gen items on display were 8K models. I humbly slinked away from the Samsung section of the show without sharing my recent purchases with any of the dozens of Samsung employees in attendance.
Then I hit the Wearables section of the show. There were dozens of items on display; from the Google Glass wannabees, to the FitBark to track your dogs exercise regimen, to the $80 waterbottle that also serves as a holder and charger for your smartphone, the internet-connected binky (pacifier), to the posture trackers and GPS equipped insoles for your running shoes. But when talking Wearables, most people immediately think about the variety of wrist devices that track steps, blood pressure, calories, body mass index and sleep patterns more and more prevalent in offices and schools around the country.
I proudly rolled up my sleeves and entered the Wearables section sporting the FitBit Flex that my wife gave me as a holiday gift, feeling like one of the ‘In’ folks at the show. But that feeling of belonging was soon replaced by a feeling of indequacy when I realized that my technology was on the low end of the cool spectrum on display all around me. After all, the Flex has the adorable feature of adding a new blinking light every time you take another 2000 steps-up to 5 lights in all. It also does….oh yeah and it shows…almost forgot its ability to…. No, all it does is show up to 5 blinking lights. By the time I passed the 8th different booth showing stylish and creative ‘watches’ that do everything the Flex does and a whole lot more, I had rolled my sleeves down so as not to conceal my ‘technology’.
Attending CES was an eye opening experience and I am very glad I was able to go. Unfortunately, my kids’ college fund is going to take a serious hit as I upgrade my door locks, thermostat, sound system, window treatments, home security system and cars in order to keep up with the Joneses.