Some cool things at CES missed by the major media

energyhub[/caption] D-link is a massive company that has network switches, routers, cameras and a ton of other things.  They’ve recently fixed their home security monitoring system to include energy systems, utilizing third party electrical plugs.  Honestly it felt like energy monitoring was a bit of an after thought for them, but apparently their system was nominated for the best in innovation award for CES.   Energyhub is the startup of the mix.  They have a nice display and outlet covers running over Zigbee.  They’ve closed a recent funding round and have another in the wings.  They will have some tough competition from the bigger players if they can’t get going fast enough, but their units looked very professional and ready for consumers to start buying.   Marvell   has a nice looking device that will be out in Home Depot shortly.  It works over wifi and displays the usage of all outlets and whatnot, along with also controlling your lawns sprinkler systems if you have such a thing.  They were the furthest along in development and said they will be in Home Depots sometime in the next few months, at a pretty low cost.   Oregon Scientific.  Looks very sexy but haven’t seen it in person yet. There are probably other devices out there, but I haven’t had a chance to meet them all.  What is really interesting about these devices is that eventually they will be in almost every home, regardless of whether you are geeky or not as new contractors and energy companies start to roll them out for consumer usage.   I’m going to the ‘Asia rooms’ today to meet with manufacturers of different things.  They might have some cool toys in there as well.  Follow my Twitter updates if you want to keep up with me real time.]]>

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What will be the cool things at CES this year?

The gadget blog dvice.com has their 5 Tech Trends at CES, though I’m not sure I agree with the ordering.  3D Tv (?), Pico projectors (to put your iPhone video on the wall), ebooks (dull), tablets (not until Apple speaks) and connected everything (probably).  It doesn’t mention mobile tech which will be getting a lot of play this year, nor any of the other things that geeks are talking about (social networking, location aware, etc).  And this is one of the problems with CES. CES is about consumer electronics.  Sure there are a few ‘new new’ things out there, but there are also tables after tables of extension cords.  There is room for TV antennas.  Space for wineglass washing machines, and shoe buffers.  It’s really a trade show that is about anything you plug in and can buy from Kmart, not necessarily from Frys. And it is far removed from the geeky world of that which lives on the net.   As devices have become connected (see the cited article) there is more and more of a connection between the online world and appliances, but CES really isn’t “the show” for the Internet generation and companies.  Many of the folks I’ve worked with in the pure online world have come to CES out of default, and once they get there they often feel like ‘well, I’ve seen it, and now I don’t have to see it again’. So what trade show is the one for the online world?  Unfortunately, it hasn’t really happened yet.  There is no “Net 2010” show that rivals the size and scope of a CES so for now, Vegas is where you have to go. Such is life.]]>

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A brilliant idea, but…

Lots of startup excitement around the house this weekend, and a bit of cussing. Over the last few days I’ve been researching an untapped area of the ‘Green tech’ movement.  Something that would make quite a bit of sense, would be quick to market, and something that would have multiple channels to revenue, let alone venture capital.  I queried some of my friends, including some successful entrepreneurs in San Fran, a couple of PhD’s in Silicon Valley, an electronics company VP in NY, and two electricians wearing NASCAR hats down at my local electronics supply company (who actually had some interesting insight). On the plus side–everyone said this is needed and must be built. On the down side–someone else is doing it already. So I’m not sitting here thinking ‘is there room for a second mover’ in a field that could be huge, though one in which I’m about six months behind the curve.  I have an idea that could leapfrog them, but I’m not sure how technically feasible it is (the physics is there, but is the manufacturing base–I don’t know). So I’m off to CES to talk turkey with the guys from China.  Folks who are in the shop building things like that which I want.  We’ll see if I come back with a new start-up company, ready to be formed and funded, or if I look for another ‘new new thing’.]]>

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Tips for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas

From my been there done that list:

*  Keep your luggage receipt.  LAS airport requires it for checked bags.
*  If you don’t have your CES ID, get it at the airport (shorter lines).
*  Rent a car.  Free parking at the hotel and no chance in hell of a cab.  Bus lines are nuts too.
*  Make a beeline to the stuff you MUST see, and then wonder around aimlessly to see the stuff you want and discover the really cool things.
*  Visit the high end stereo hotel ($50,000 turntables, etc).
*  Visit the ‘Asia Rooms’ where the manufacturers are showing their latest and greatest stuff.
*  Budget an extra hour to get through airport security if leaving on Saturday or Sunday.
*  Don’t drive to the convention center unless you have a parking pass.
*  Eat a few miles off the strip and pay normal prices for dinner.
*  Play single-deck blackjack and pay for your trip with a few simple rules 😉
*  Keep your luggage receipt.  LAS airport requires it for checked bags. *  If you don’t have your CES ID, get it at the airport (shorter lines). *  Rent a car.  Free parking at the hotel and no chance in hell of a cab.  Bus lines are nuts too. *  Make a beeline to the stuff you MUST see, and then wonder around aimlessly to see the stuff you want and discover the really cool things. *  Visit the high end stereo hotel ($50,000 turntables, etc). *  Visit the ‘Asia Rooms’ where the manufacturers are showing their latest and greatest stuff. *  Budget an extra hour to get through airport security if leaving on Saturday or Sunday. *  Don’t drive to the convention center unless you have a parking pass. *  Eat a few miles off the strip and pay normal prices for dinner. *  Play single-deck blackjack and pay for your trip with a few simple rules 😉
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Off to Vegas, again

Every year I went to CES (and this is about the seventh trip) I’ve said “oh god, why do I come!” The crowds, the chaos, and usually the weather (it actually snowed one year). But sometimes it is fun. One year I took Doc Searls around showing him what it was like to be a buyer of embedded LINUX products and he showed me the high end stereo room (which was awesome).  Another year I met up with Albert Lai of Bubbleshare fame (and now a Facebook developer with lots of cool toys). The good thing about this year is that things are a bit different. My company is in the midst of being acquired and I’ll be a ‘free agent’ for the first time, attending CES to see what is cool, new, exciting and fun, not just what I needed to see (which usually found me in the ‘parts / manufacturers’ area speaking bad Cantonese to some guys from Hong Kong who sell this little thing or that). So I’m off, again, to Vegas. Will try to stay a bit and meet some folks and write about what cool new technologies I see and play with. I have a new startup swirling in my head right now (the last week has been one of frenetic excitement here) and I’m going to go back to the China-room and speak to the manufacturers who might be able to help me get this project off the ground. We’ll post updates from Vegas as I see the cool things.  I’ll be at the Lenovo Bloggers night and hopefully the It won’t stay in Vegas party and a few other meetups with bloggers, networked device people and web2.0 folk. One thing is certain–no fricking red eye back to Washington.  I’m sick on that hell flight.  I’ll stay the extra night and leave during the day.]]>

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