Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some thoughts on CES

The big event in Consumer Electronics is the annual CES show held in Las Vegas each January. I’ve been covering its announcements, innovations and introductions for years. Although the solutions there are rarely specific to real estate, for the last few years I’ve featured some in Tech Watch, the column I do for Realtor magazine online.

There’s so much going on at CES it’s hard to figure out what to include. This year, in the February column I decided to highlight some of the latest mobile solutions. CES showcases everything electronic for the home, office and desktop, but it’s the ongoing evolution in mobile electronics which will impact how Realtors work and use their time.

The show is always a good indicator of where things are heading, so there’s a couple of trends I’d like to briefly touch on here. First there’s the real advances in memory, especially flash memory. We’re reaching a point where you can cram hundreds of gigabytes of data on a hard drive barely two inches. But the advances in solid state flash memory which are of greater long term importance. WIth no moving parts, flash memory requires less juice thereby improving battery power, while allowing room for more features in more compact devices.

Next up is video. The latest camcorders and digital cameras make it extremely easy to post videos online. Even some inexpensive models can upload clips directly to websites like YouTube. While that may not be the ideal place to feature a listing, the fact is these cameras capture and properly format video for the Web. You can get a video tour online in minutes, or you can spend a little time editing clips into something a little more professional. Either way, putting together a video tour is not as challenging as it was

Last, there’s the ongoing march to convergence products. Talked about for years, there’s one device for all your needs for in your future. Whether you make it a smartphone, computer or something in between, it will be your choice. Limitations imposed now by screen size and data entry will all fall away. Whatever you want, you can have it in a product which also does much more.

That’s something to always keep in mind with technology. You don’t need everything it offers, or all the latest advances. What makes sense are those features and functions you will actually use. Today’s trends indicate you’ll just have more options in all else that one device can do.

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