More than 10,000 people attended the show, and funny enough there was another show running next door – the Porn Show. I don’t know if were are any vendors who showcased products in both. One thing that deserves mention is Nokia’s announcement of the Growth Economy Venture Challenge. Nokia is going to invest $1 million in a developer who comes up with an idea that uses mobile technology to improve the lives of people in the poorest parts of the world, and that the idea doesn’t even need to use Nokia technology. I wonder if anyone will submit an iPhone-to-save-the-world idea. The winners will be announced in June and it will be very interesting to see what ideas people come up with.
TV technology pretty much dominated the show with 3D HDTV attracting the most interest. I don’t think 3D television will become mainstream anytime soon (if at all). Surround sound was first invented and introduced 30 years ago with two key players pushing different standards, I think they were JVC and… I forgot the other. JVC was pushing CD-4, a proprietary decoding technology to bring four-channel surround sound to the living room. The buzz lasted for less than two years. Only after home theater became popular and affordable 20 years later did that technology finally became mass market. 3D HD TV may be a repeat story. 3D content is an issue, the other is the glasses. I cannot imagine everyone wearing 3D glasses at home, can you? And, the cost is way too high. They are at least 5 years away.
The adoption of innovative technologies has always been impacted by micro-economic determinants, because it has proved to be the most useful in explaining the broad patterns of innovation diffusion. With the top three brands announcing 3D TVs, it is more about competing for noise. Panasonic, which has been promoting 3D for more than a year, expects to be among the first to launch. One of Panasonic’s guest speakers was Jon Landau, producer of the 3D movie Avatar, which partnered with Panasonic last year to promote both the movie and 3D technology. Samsung announced that 50% of its LED LCD TV introductions this year will be 3D models, many using a new “inspired by nature” design scheme. The top of the line is the ultra-slim 9000 Series. These sets achieve their svelte profiles by housing the TV’s electronics circuitry inside the stand and come with a unique touch-screen Wi-Fi remote that doubles as a second display, so you can watch a TV program on the remote while a Blu-ray movie is playing on the TV.
In the meantime everyone is still making improvements to their LCD TVs – making them bigger, thinner and sharper. LG has some cool technology, such as sound coming from the screen, although for most people, this doesn’t matter as they have external speakers for that. But still a cool innovation with sound and visual integrated from one source.
And what is the coolest product? I think it is the Parrot AR.Drone, a remote-controlled helicopter with a twist. It’s controlled over WiFi from an iPhone or iPod Touch, and it has a camera in its snout that streams to your iPhone’s screen. It is perfect for domestic use to send out to survey your neighbors to get a sense of what others are doing. It is great way to increase your conversation capital and popularity. The thing is computer-stabilized so not too difficult to manage and no training required. Not sure if these are designed as little brothers of the military ones. For $500, you can comfortably sit in your home and fly your drone for 15 minutes before it requires recharge. It gives new meaning to “Neighborhood Surveillance”. It will be available this fall.
Idris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.