CES2016 The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

With apologies to Charles Dickens, I sum up my experience at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES2016) in Las Vegas with the impression that it fully represents the reality of the quote from the opening of “A Tale of Two Cities”. This occurs both on a personal and a broader level.

On a personal level, I deplore Las Vegas, and all of the exploitation that it represents, all of the time. And yet I find myself there on business periodically experiencing great adventure and opportunity. This year’s CES was really a wonderful experience. Within the aisles of CES one can see all the humor, fun and excitement as well as the hope and expectations of the contemporary human experience.

From a broader perspective, it is difficult to ignore the juxtaposition of all of this wonderful technology with the reality that the distraction it provides seems to be leading us as a culture further away from the experiences that, until now, provided most of the meaning in our lives. It is now cliché to see a couple or a family sitting together at a meal with all members of the group only participating in the reality of their “smart” device. How smart is that, really? And where will this eventually lead?

And while my brief first ride on a Segway Mini was really cool, would it tend to add to my flab should I eventually own one? My (and my dog’s) exercise typically consists of a 4-6 mile daily walk. If I had one of these things, would I neglect myself as I run my dog ragged on a brief ride?

The potential for an improved human existence is greatly evident at a show like CES, and it remains an inspiration to me to be able to see both improved prior technologies and new ones alike.  As a distributor of technology (see my website for that here) I am particularly interested in any new tech that might be helpful or interesting to the jewelry industry.  As a designer, I’m keenly interested in anything that can aid my design process, communication with clients, or the safety of my operation.

Here are just a very few of the items that I thought noteworthy, helpful and relatively inexpensive .  These seem mostly non-threatening (depending of course, on how they are used!) and actually useful to a lot of people.

It was the free beer that attracted me into the EZVIZ booth, a more frequently seen trade-show promotional technique.  But this time the beer led to the discovery of a product that I liked!  Jen Lynch was kind enough to give me an overview of the EZVIZ Mini, available on various commercial sites, including Amazon.  This wireless 720P camera (with audio) has a QR code on the back that once scanned leads you to the EZVIZ app and pairs your phone with the camera, allowing you to see what the camera sees from your smartphone anywhere in the world with a wireless connection.  Watch for an upgrade to HD and two-way audio soon!

Jen Lynch demonstrating the EZVIZ wireless camera.  Stream video to your phone from your home location to anywhere you have a wireless connection.

Jen Lynch demonstrating the EZVIZ wireless camera. Stream video to your phone from your home location to anywhere you have a wireless connection.

Fidel Molina did a great job demonstrating the Ztylus Revolver Kit, an iPhone case with an attachment that contains 5 very useful camera lens enhancements including a polarizing and macro lens.  This project, which began as many great new products do, began on Kickstarter and seems to effectively bring a broader level of professional uses to the already good iPhone camera.

Ztylus Revolver Kit, a 5-way lens kit that attaches to a custom case for your iPhone.  This includes a macro lens, very helpful for jewelry industry folks.

Ztylus Revolver Kit, a 5-way lens kit that attaches to a custom case for your iPhone. This includes a macro lens, very helpful for jewelry industry folks.

Finally, my Segway Mini Pro selfie!  Thanks to my press-pass to CES, I was allowed to try the MiniPro in the limited space of the Segway Distribution of North America booth.  Very short learning curve, the thing practically drives itself, and is barrels of fun.  With an up to 18 mile range, I can see how this could be useful in many applications where one’s work required a lot of walking for its speed, maneuverability and ease of use.

Me riding a new SegwayMini. Very short learning curve!

Me riding a new SegwayMini. Very short learning curve!

 

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