Next week, what will likely be over 150,000 attendees from around the world and all corners of the consumer electronics world, will gather in Las Vegas for the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). While many of the products shown there are oriented toward entertainment, there are many crossover implications for small business:
4K displays. TVs are always a cornerstone of CES. 4K TVs and monitors have four times the resolution of today's high-definition TVs. As was once the case for high-definition TVs, 4K or "ultra high-deifnition" TVs cost more than their lower resolution counterparts. However, they can be helpful for meetings where the goal is to display a lot of detail in a relatively small screen size as well as showing off details of finely designed merchandise to prospects.
Slimmer, longer-lasting laptops. Once, there was a big difference between laptops and tablets, but the line has gotten blurrier. It will continue to do so as Microsoft pushes forward with Windows 10, which takes a smarter approach to 2-in-1 systems. The coming year should include many designs based on Intel's Core M design, which offers greater power efficiency in designs that don't need a fan.
Smartwatches. Whether you prefer them as intelligent bangles or part of a smartwatch/camera set, smartwatches come in many different varieties and can help with a range of tasks from being reminded of an upcoming appointment to getting directions to a new customer--all without accessing what has become the barrage of noise and notificaitons of the modern smartphone that is more likely to be relegated to a pocket or bag today.
Panoramic cameras. Those who work in fields such as real estate, travel and insurance know the importance of capturing an environment. Panoramic cameras such as those from Gyroptic can capture a video or photo of everything that is in a room or an outdoor area. These images can be posted on Web sites to help potential renters or travelers have a more realistic idea of what it will be like to actually be there.
Internet of Things. The term that has won favor for describing everyday objects imbued with intelligence and connectivity will help business people in two ways. In their personal lives, it will be able to provide intelligence about the health of their homes, cars, loved ones and themsleves. It will as enable some degree of remote control and automation depending on certain conditions being met, i.e.., the classic home automation scenario. For those whose businesses rely on tracking assets, though, the IoT can be a game changer. For example, one can keep tabs on usage of inventory, vehicles and other business property or simply share meeting notes.
Mobile Payments. If you're part of a business that collects mobile payments, you may know that Square made it easy for peopel to accept payment from credit cards anywhere. But now, the phone can be used to make payments as well as receive them. There are many alternatives in the market, including Square, PayPal and WePay, but clearly there's been even more attention on them with the introduction of Apple Pay. Look for products such as the Poynt terminal to deal with payments any way customers wish to make them.