BY NOW, WEBSITES AND BLOGS have reported ad nauseam on January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Much has been made of the roughly 10% drop in attendance, shorter taxi lines, and reduced hotel rates; and subsequent news that Microsoft will lay off 5,000 employees does not seem to bode well for tech. That's the half-empty perspective.
BE'S take on life after CES is slightly nuanced. This year's show represented a "coming-of-age" for tech. This is a year in which we pose serious questions about the role of technology in business, education, and our lives. This year, tech vendors--from the Microsofts to small startups--are listening. So, what's coming down the pike, and more importantly, how will it affect you?
For starters, Microsoft (www.microsoft.com), in a nod to the overwhelming power of social media, plans to better integrate collaborative features in products such as Office. Office Live Workspace, which actually launched in March 2008, for example, is taking its cue from the Web 2.0 space, letting users create groups, collaborate, share, and sync documents (at press time, a Mac version was announced for February 2009 release). Also, look for developments on the gaming side--hardware, online gaming--that could bode well for players and present opportunities for developers.