The axiom “knowledge is power” certainly applies to the 2009 International CES. Boasting the consumer technology industry’s largest educational forum, this year’s program delivers more than 200 conference sessions with over 500 expert speakers, covering the hottest topics and trends shaping today’s design decisions. (This just in: the Industry Insider series will be returning. Check the CES site at CESweb.org for late-breaking news on who will be featured.)CES KNOWLEDGE TRACKS Insert “Inside” between the words “ Knowledge Tracks,” because that’s what these sessions bring to those in attendance—the scoop on everything new in nine different arenas. Tracks that should hold particular interest to EEs include: Digital Imaging; Emerging Technology; Home Entertainment and Lifestyle Technologies; In-Vehicle Technology; Issues and Attitudes; Technology and the Environment; and the catch-all Just the Facts: Research, Reports and Revelation.
Innovations in Digital Imaging seemingly arrive on a daily basis, giving sessions in this track the “must-attend” label. Sessions of particular interest to engineers (held in the LVCC, South Hall) include “The Digital Shoebox: New Options for Consumers” (Jan. 8) and “Digital Imaging: Beyond the Megapixel” (Jan. 9).
The Emerging Technology track serves up “New Developments in Digital Storage,” which offers a summary of events from the Storage Visions Conference (Jan. 9, LVCC, South Hall). Two other self-evidently named panels in this track, both on Jan. 10, are “Emerging CE Technology—A Preview of the IEEE ICCE’s Most Interesting Technologies” (LVCC, North Hall) and “Planning for an IPv6 World in 2010” (LVCC, South Hall).
Home Entertainment and Lifestyle Technologies is always massively popular, and its 16 sessions over a three-day span do not disappoint. Television alone gets a lot of play, with sessions such as “Teaching the TV to be Internet Savvy” and “How Will We See 3D TV?” Other hot topics that engineers will want to check out in this track include robotics, the digital home, emerging display technologies, and GPS.
One intriguingly titled session is “The Shifting Generation: Accommodating Viewers Who Want Time Shifting, Place Shifting, and Even Device Shifting” (Jan. 8, LVCC, North Hall). Moderated by MSNBC columnist Suzanne Choney, it focuses on the new challenges created by DVRs and other devices that allow viewers to shift the place where they watch recordings or move content to another device.
A trend getting lots of attention is the focus of the session “Tru2way Here and Now” (Jan. 10, LVCC, South Hall). Many cable operators and CE companies have committed to broad support for tru2way devices, which pave the way to receive all cable services without a leased set-top box.
Nowadays, advances in In-Vehicle Technology have moved into the fast lane, but this track won’t leave you in the dust. Automotive communications, security, navigation, safety, and entertainment all go under the microscope. Sessions (Jan. 8-10, LVCC, North Hall) include “Next-Gen Car Navigation: Recalculating!” and “How Transportation Technology Can Limit the Impact of Future Climate Change.”
Intellectual-property law. Content distribution. Digital rights management. Green. Our industry teems with these hot-button topics, making Issues and Attitudes one to check off on the calendar. Totaling 14 sessions, the three-day track (Jan. 8-10) tackles a variety of topics, from “Home Automation for the Mass Market” to “DTV—Bringing Down the Curtain on Analog.” Startup companies may find the “Finding Money in a Bad Economy” session particularly attractive.
Getting greener is an underlying pulse within the industry. The Technology and the Environment track’s sessions (Jan. 8-9, LVCC, North Hall) examine some of the latest trends, such as “Better Batteries and a Greener Charger” and “Recycling Discarded Electronics: Best Practices.”
Just the Facts: Research, Reports and Revelation brings together experts in market research and analytics from ABI Research, CEA, Compete, Creative Strategies, GfK Marketing Services, iSuppli, Nielsen, and the NPD Group. Spread across nine sessions (Jan. 8-10, split between two venues, the LVCC, North Hall, and The Venetian), they will share information and insights on the R&D and analysis being performed to support new directions in the industry.CES SUPERSESSIONS This year, CES delivers eight provocative SuperSessions, hosted by a diverse group of industry experts and organizations. Included among these information-packed, down-to-earth, and free sessions are:
“What Will They Think of Next? Consumer Electronics in 2025” (Jan. 8, LVCC, North Hall) This session, moderated by Forbes assistant managing editor Bruce Upbin, asks what the next 25 years will hold for the CE industry.
“Wireless Meets Consumer Electronics: The Fundamental Shift to Mobility” (Jan. 8, LVCC, North Hall) Moderator Rajeev Shand, wireless managing director and senior equity research analyst for Rutberg & Co., and four senior executive panelists from the wireless and consumer worlds discuss how and whether mobility represents the next major opportunity for our industry. So, do you think always-on connectivity and location-aware capabilities will change the consumer electronics industry?
“Next Big Thing SuperSession: CNET Reveals the Next Big Thing in CE” (Jan. 8, LVCC, North Hall) CNET’s editor-at-large Brian Cooley and other expert editors from the CE industry reveal the trends, emerging categories, and must-have products for the coming year in this audience-interactive session.
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“Connect2Car: The Automobile’s Convergence with Consumer Electronics” (Jan. 8, LVCC, North Hall) A group of industry experts discovers and defines the consumer solutions for entertainment and information in the automobile, co-organized by the Convergence Transportation Electronics Association (CTEA) and SAE International.
“Big Thinkers and Disruptive Technologies—Today’s Thought Leaders, Tomorrow’s Technologies” (Jan. 9, LVCC, North Hall) As the title states, big thinkers from the CE, computer, media, and telecom worlds will assemble for discourse on the innovations that loom on the horizon and their impact on our digital lives. Tim Bajaran, president of Creative Systems Inc., moderates the session.
“Last Gadget Standing” (Jan. 10, LVCC, North Hall) The “Oscars of Technology” showcases 10 of the hottest products chosen by experts from the NetShelter Technology Media network. See live demos of these products and vote for the best. Robin Raskin, founder of Living in Digital Times LLC, moderates the event.CES PARTNER PROGRAMS This year, 22 different CES Partner Programs are on tap, hosted by 20 organizations. Several of these extensive programs particularly suit today’s EEs, cutting a diverse cross-section of the industry.
The IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics (ICCE) once again convenes at CES, in the LVCC, North Hall. Spanning six days (Jan. 9-14), the conference has lined up four keynotes, six technology tutorials, and many other technical presentations on a broad array of hot topics from human-interface design and camera technologies to video-distribution systems and display-driver electronics.
JEDEC hosts the session “Understanding Moisture/Reflow Sensitivity for IC Packages: Achieving Pb-Free Assembly Classification and Handling” (Jan. 8, LVCC, South Hall). It provides background information on moisture/reflow effects and digs into the J-STD-020 and J-STD-033 specs.
The Fourth Generation Mobile Forum (4GMF) identifies the most promising opportunities ahead for developers, OEMs, and other organizations that are involved in the emerging 4G consumer marketplace (Jan. 10-11, LVCC, North Hall). Keynotes, panel discussions, and private CEO showcases on global 4G convergence and its lasting effects highlight the forum.
The Consumer Robotics Industry Development Program, an all-day program held in The Venetian (except for one session) on January 10, brings together industry experts in a series of sessions that discuss new robotics applications and where the overall industry is headed. Topics range from the nuts-and-bolts “Features and Functions for Consumer Robotics Products” to the more esoteric “Telepresence Robots.”
CES Mobile Entertainment reveals the next generation of technologies, devices, and platforms that will make their mark in the explosive mobile marketplace. The two-day program comprises nine sessions (Jan. 7 and 8 in the LVCC, North Hall), covering topics such as “The Mobile Web: The Future of Applications, Commerce, GPS, Communication and Content” and “Reinventing the Mobile Device and Mobile Network—Integrating the Full PC Experience into a Personal Communications Device.”
Looking to get DHTI+ certified? The CEA-CompTIA Digital Home Technology Integrator+ (DHTI+) Certification Review Workshop (Jan. 8, LVCC, South Hall) provides an in-depth review of home subsystems (audio/video, telephone/VoIP, etc.) to arm you with the knowledge needed to study for the certification test.