Going Small at CES

We have very high expectations of our technological world, given the ever-increasing speed at which it evolves, and tend to forget that making smart adjustments, rather than wholesale changes, can also have significant impact.

I like that. I like when I can ease into something, learn it, work with it, and if (I like it) make it my own. It’s part of the foundation of Showcase, this modularity. You can approach the system with a go-big-or-go-home attitude, or start small and build up if you want. It was an important concept to remember last week at CES.

By some stroke of luck, my Vegas-bound flight from Detroit was scheduled in the 15 or so minutes on Monday morning between the weekend blizzard and Polar Vortex. I arrived in Sin City safe and sound, requiring nothing but shirt sleeves in the 45 degree weather.

During a shuttle trip from the convention center to the Venetian, I sat next to a university professor who was somewhat underwhelmed by this, her first trip to CES. In all honesty, I felt similarly until I reflected on exactly what I had seen.

Indeed a robot did not hand me a drink when I walked through the entrance (yes, that was an arbitrarily high bar to set), but what I’ve come to appreciate about CES is that in addition to the whiz-bang innovations that did exist at the show, there were just as many understated-but-provocative inventions aimed at making everyday tasks and products better.

For example, I saw a new Bluetooth speaker shaped like a travel mug. While it didn’t impress me at first blush, when I learned that the design significantly improves the device’s acoustics while fitting conveniently in anything with a cup holder (cars, beach chairs, etc.), I saw that the improvement to usability is actually quite valuable–not to mention applicable to my very real life.

What do you think, is real innovation only as good as its acceptance?


Image Credit: Consumer Electronics Association


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