First There Were Smartphones, Now There’s Smart-Everything



A lot of big technologies get their start at CES. There are also some big flops. But in general, CES sets the technology tone for the year. This year we’re starting to see where the smartphone is leading us: smart everything.

Most computing technology used to live in a white or beige box that sat on a desk, but as the components have gotten smaller and more sophisticated, those shackles are broken. The length of time it took for a cell phone to become a smartphone is much longer than the time it took the smartphone to become a device that does it all. CES 2014 may have marked the transition into another phase.

“We are in the middle of the inflection point from developing the technology to deploying it,” said Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg. The deploying of this “second phase of mobile” is what will turn everything we own into a smart device. Some of the technologies that debuted last week, especially those displayed by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, are a little mind boggling in their scale, managing to be both miniature and huge all at once.

Imagine, if instead of sniffing your baby to know it was changing time, their onesie pinged your phone. Or if your coffee cup asked for refill. Those are the kinds of things Intel is doing with it’s computer that’s the size of an SD card. Many cars are already pre-loaded with Bluetooth, and smart televisions come bundled with operating systems.

Everything is getting smart, and the smartphone will likely become the real life Hitchhikers Guide. The agility of small, modern, high powered systems allows very inventive steps to be taken, because the groundwork has already been laid.

“It takes fewer and fewer people to do something pretty dramatic in this world. You give people the capability and you would be surprised what they come up with,” Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs said at CES.

If we can do to the rest of our technology and infrastructure what we’ve done to our smartphones over the last few years it may make us safer. We can both beef up our security, and maybe cut down on driver distraction.

Image credit: Bekathwia


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