For my first official business trip as the new president of SLA, even before the mid-January board meetings and SLA Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., I flew to Las Vegas and walked the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show. For two days I explored the Show with Bay Area senior member Cindy Hill. We were immersed in new handheld technology, new reading tablets, and new cell phones. A tremendous amount of energy is going into the simple task of getting more, and better, information into the hands of consumers at warp speed.
There were nearly 2700 exhibitors and I was blown away by the shear volume of new tech toys and applications on display from the hundreds of companies vying to be The Next Big Thing. But frankly, the energy and enthusiasm of the show was even more fascinating to me; there was no shortage of optimism about the future on that floor. Here are few distilled thoughts, stats, and trends from CES:
3D: 3D graphics are being showcased in gaming, sports, and art. The entertainment industry is leading in this space again, but expect to see high-end graphics soon in medical, educational, and other technical applications.
Convergence: Data, because it exists in the cloud, is more and more platform agnostic. Form factors—that is, your data device, whether it is a cell phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, car console, or smart TV—are converging in their functionality.
Social: Consumers are saying ‘I want to share my life as it happens’ and products, telecommunication capacity and apps are making that possible. Social networking was integrated into games, such as X-Box Kinect, smart TV’s and apps. Copia.com is an interesting app for book club.
Capacity: Capacity is increasing as cell networks transition from 3G to 4G, and there is an increase in computer processing speed as well. Expanding capacity enables complex problem solving, immersive entertainment, and new experiences.
Design: Data devices, or form factors, were very elegant and restrained. It seemed that there was an effort not to overwhelm the consumer with technical options, but to simplify and curate.
The CES is the leading tradeshow for an $186B industry that is driving economic growth and is an enabler for the new knowledge economy. Consumer electronics are an underpinning of the information industry, regardless of which corner of it you occupy. An interesting factoid is that now 80% of electronics are purchased by consumers, not businesses. It was not long ago that businesses were driving the purchases of electronic goods.
With all these new products and optimistic marketing, our clients—that is people using and consuming information resources—will even more demanding of content delivered on the form factor that is just right for them. They’ll want information that is curated, edited, and analyzed to fit their needs. And information that is customized to their locale and time zone.
The consumer electronics industry is moving very, very fast—and will eat our lunch if we are not moving at least at its pace of change. To keep up, we need to adopt a strategy of being flexible, adaptable, and resilient. In short, we need to be Future Ready!
As enchanting as it was to handle all those gadgets, one of the highlight of my visit to CES was listening to, and later engaging in discussion with Guy Kawasaki. Author of The Macintosh Way and Selling the Dream, Kawasaki is the former Apple “wunderkind” who encourages his readers rise above the usual marketing clutter to find emotional levels of attachment to products. He encourages marketers to morph into “evangelists” who create movements, not just spreadsheets. He epitomizes one of the ideas behind my push to make members more Future Ready – he wants us all to Think Big.
In his book, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Kawasaki tossed SLA members a great compliment when he told his readers to “suck up to a research librarian.” I liked the way he put us on a pedestal, because it reminded me that ours is an honorable profession, and we add value. Someone obviously impressed Guy Kawasaki at one time.
After his talk, he and I chatted for a few minutes about his new book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Minds, Hears and Actions. I asked him to consider posting for the Future Ready 365 blog. He seemed delighted to be asked and his thoughts will be posted here, tomorrow, February 22!
Are you feeling future ready yet!?