This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.
Jesse M. Lapierre is the Principal Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
International CES 2015 represented the perfect nexus of American innovation and global participation, with over 160,000 visitors and 2 million square feet of the newest and most innovative products limited not just to consumer electronics, but representing a whole new world of human and technological interaction. As a part of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP), our US Ambassador and I led a delegation of 45 Saudi companies to the show, and came away with some seriously groundbreaking mega-trends which I’d like to share with the ITA blogosphere.
The first, and most ubiquitous, mega-trend was that of the Internet of Everything (IoE), which was described in great detail by Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich. In his view, we are now on the cusp of a revolution of roughly the same magnitude as the one in micro-processing that brought us the smartphones, laptops, and tablets that drive our mobile society. This current revolution is the result of the convergence of nano-sized chips, sensors, and transmitters which will enable the world to react to the individual, and vice-versa, with new levels of integration never seen in our lifetime. He highlighted the level of integration by examples of pills that can tell doctors when they’ve been swallowed; doors that open when the see the face of the occupant; and movie streaming services that can pick a movie based on mood of the viewer as sensed by the player. The future, truly, is now.
The second mega-trend was the blurring of lines between the auto industry and the electronics industry, highlighted in a stirring keynote by Ford CEO Mark Fields. Fields boldly stated that the automotive industry had moved from simply a product-based industry to a mobility industry, creating solutions for moving people on a global scale. From cures for traffic in Chennai and Chongqing, to mobile health solutions in Johannesburg, Fields gave a vision of a new world where auto tech utilizes data and connectivity from the Internet of Everything to create mobility solutions that mean more than just cars. In his vision, cars and technology intersect to provide answers to some of our most pressing problems. He also demonstrated how Ford is crowdsourcing these solutions and integrating them into product design for the next generation of Ford vehicles.
The third mega-trend introduced the theory of seamless movement from 2D to 3D and back again. The idea raised by HP Inc.’s new CEO Dion Wiesler was that by combining device-integrated 3D scanners, 3D printers, and new advances in material nanoscience, we can accomplish unbroken transitions between the 3D world that we inhabit and the 2D screen that we interact with. He demonstrated this concept with their new ‘Sprout’ device, which integrates 3D scanning and image manipulation with 3D printing capabilities, all in real time. It was also the first time I heard the consistent use of the word ‘voxel’ or ‘volumetric pixel’ to describe the movement from the 2D pixel on your screen into a 3D physical unit that can shape and reflect the space we inhabit.
I hope that I’ve whet your appetite to discover more about these trends and technologies, and that you’ll also notice that all of these concepts were driven by US companies. Along with EurekaPark, an area devoted just to start-ups, International CES confirmed that “American Innovation” is by no means dead, but alive, thriving, and on display for the world to see. Ma’salama from Saudi Arabia.