Top 10 reasons CES matters

The Lab team is heading to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week to roam the showrooms and take part in the massive gadget brain-exchange. We’ll be blogging live through the weekend–and here are 10 reasons you should stay tuned:

1. It’s like Paris’ Ready-to-Wear event of the year–but instead showcasing gadgets in Vegas. While there will be far more geeky men than hot models in pretty get-ups (I’ve already heard that a fellow digerati femme was one of only 10 women on her plane to Vegas), this is the place to look for what technologies and consumer electronics are coming down the line in ’09. THIS is the place where dreams are made, battles are won, hearts are broken. Okay, perhaps I’m pushing it. But, if you have any desire to keep abreast with technology, stay tuned (preferably here) for all the latest and greatest advances in consumer tech.

2. We might finally learn if this is the year the Internet will kill the TV star. (Check out the WSJ’s round up of reasons how it might). It likely won’t–but this year even a scaled back CES promises some amazing new solutions for watching video and TV via the Internet including two of my favorite new devices: New player ZeeVee is presenting their ZvBox which turns computers into an HDTV channel on your TV set; WhereverTV allows consumers to watch hundreds of international television shows on your television via the Internet (sign me up!)

Stay with me, I’ve got 8 more reasons CES is THE consumer event of the year:

3. See what the big dogs are up to. Microsoft, NBC, Sony all have some announcements planned for CES. Microsoft has already announced that Windows 7 is being released for beta, and Sony and NBC may have some interesting plans for their respective content and media strategies. Let’s hope the words reality TV or UGC involved, cuz I am sick of those. WE WANT GOOD, EMERGING CONTENT NOW, DARNIT! And don’t even get my boss, (#50 on this list) started on that topic.

4. Meaningful wireless relationships. No, I am not talking about my existential crisis, or my personal life. The world is chock full of good gadgets, but now we’re ready for a way to connect them all. The New York times says this is the issue for this year’s show and it’s time to have a come-to-you-know-who moment about it at the 2009 CES. We at the Lab are also frickin’ ready for a change here–our CTO has had it, and so have marketers. It’s true, gadgets will never prove they have the moxie to carry the best content if they can’t start playing nicely together. So watch for some new “connecting” solutions at CES to help us all figure it out!

5. Green, green, green! Even though the economy is tanking and no one has said the words “carbon footprint” since before the markets started their freefall, sustainability and eco-friendly technologies are still making an impact. Maybe more so–consumers have less money to spread around and will be more discerning about where they spend it. If it’s really truly green, consumers may give products a second look. CES is doubling its green-exhibitor line up this year, and the word is to expect some green-themed announcements from big and small vendors alike.

6. The car of the future might be here now. Hyundai/Kia Motors are showing off their new in-vehicle technology developments at CES (for the uninitiated, that’s gadgety and media-y stuff for your car) and our guess is that 2009 might be a huge year for in-car technologies/telematics at the show. Keep an eye out for other exciting car-related consumer products such as wireless steering wheel iPod remotes (Hello! Yes!), 3D panoramic GPS devices (GTFO!!!), and Zoombak‘s GPS locator that helps you keep track of everything from your computer to your shorty.

7. Portable USB world. We said it in our 2009 Digital Trends presentation (to be released next week to the public, but catch an overview here), and we were right, already! USBs are going to go into overdrive this year–starting from some of the secure new solutions getting noticed at CES such as Lenovo‘s ThinkPad Portable Secure Hard Drive, and did I mention that the makers of Swiss Army knives are back with their USB-Swiss-Army-Flash knife?!

8. New solutions in healthcare. Sam Cooke sung it best–it’s been a long time coming, but a change is gonna come. Healthcare, the industry with arguably the most dough, even in a difficult financial environment, is finally taking notice of some of the excellent new devices being made to make things better at hospitals, doctors’ offices, and at home. Our Healthcare Director, Raquel Krouse will be scouring the floors for the best in pharma and healthcare solutions, and she’ll break it all down. Stay tuned.

9. The down economy is gonna make for some weird times. Best enjoy the technologies and devices that were created while the going was still good. And, if you keep up with the news coming out of CES, you might even find some ways to cut costs with technology (who else is in with me to cut the cable and move to WhereverTV?)

10. It’s Vegas, baby.