The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is normally just associated with new gadgets, but a lot of innovative technologies also make their debut at the event. Karan Bajaj takes a look at a few key aspects that will impact the next generation of devices we use in 2012.
Better Energy Management: Energy management within the home is a major issue, especially as the number of in-home electronics increases. Almost all electronics continue to draw a little power when in standby mode (dubbed as vampire power) and all this adds up to a significant amount of wastage over the course of a year.
Various companies are trying to find a solution, starting with in-home energy consumption displays that can show the amount of energy being used in real time.
Belkin, Monster and LG showcased systems that can be used to track and control power consumption of various devices. Belkin’s solution, the WeMo home control switch, can be used to remotely control any electrical component in the house by using a smartphone app.
Monster’s ‘Powercentre’ range works with an app to help track power usage. Broadcom has also been working on components that save energy without sacrificing on performance.
Improved Connectivity: Broadcom announced the next generation Wi-Fi standard (802.11ac, also called 5G Wi-Fi). The new standard improves on coverage area by eliminating dead spots and offers higher transfer speeds that allow for seamless content sharing and full HD video streaming.
Because it uses the 5Ghz spectrum, it allows for more devices to be connected simultaneously on the network. The standard will also play in a role in improving the battery life of devices because the increased speed transfers data faster.
Broadcom has already started to work with a number of manufacturers to bring out 5G Wi-Fi products, so you can expect the first devices as soon as mid 2012.
Other technologies like NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Direct were shown on devices ranging from smartphones, tablets and set top boxes, making them easier to connect and pair with other devices.
Enhanced processing: Intel finally entered the smartphone and tablet arena with Atom processors. Android phones and tablets from Lenovo will likely be the first to incorporate Intel’s processor – the devices on display demonstrated amazing performance – Intel may be late, but they mean business!
Not only will the new processors improveon performance, but they’ll offer extended battery life. Qualcomm showcased a work in progress with their new Snapdragon 4 platform – it will power phones, tablets, laptops and televisions – all running smart operating systems like Android.
The new platform will also improve on graphics performance with support for full HD video playback and 7.1-surround sound. Similarly, Nvidia showcased their Tegra 3 quad core processor on tablets and even entered the automotive segment, powering the in-vehicle infotainment systems in next generation of Audi vehicles. Clearly, 2012 will see improved processing on various devices.
Personal Health: Health tracking devices to monitor and analyse various aspects of your body occupied a fair amount of space at CES. The Basis Band is a watch-like wristband that keeps track of heartrate, perspiration and skin temperature.
The info is consolidated and an overall view of your current health is shown on the display. It was awarded the innovations award in the health and wellness category. On a similar note, BodyMedia’s disposable biometric patch (wear it for up to seven days) helps in body weight management by tracking calories burned, activity levels and sleep patterns.