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CES 2010: Innovation is the key

3DTV, IPTV and WiDi along with Twitter and smart technology in vehicles were just some of the buzz words flying around the CES conference. According to industry leaders in various market segments, these innovations and technologies are what will drive consumer demand well into 2010.

The 2010 International CES opened its doors unveiling the next generation of consumer technology products from more than 2 500 global exhibitors, including a record number – more than 330 – of new exhibitors.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA, updated CES attendees on the state of the CE industry in a keynote address. Shapiro announced that the CE industry will return to revenue growth in 2010, a testament to the innovation that drives the industry and creates demand for CE products.

Shapiro spoke passionately about the need for innovation to drive the economy forward through its positive impact on consumers’ lives. “Our future is bright because we are innovators. We are seeing more innovation at this show than at any show in our history,”” stated Shapiro.

Shapiro also spoke about CEA’s successful launch of the Innovation Movement to give a grassroots voice to the industry and to let politicians know that action taken by the government can help or hurt innovation. Shapiro also announced the launch of CE Cares, a new initiative to bring all that CEA does to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of consumers under one umbrella: and CEA’s new Consumer Technology Enthusiast membership category, which will allow consumers to join CEA for the first time.

Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company, kicked off the 2010 International CES with an opening keynote address. Mulally gave an overview of Ford’s 2009 success with Sync as an example of how smart technology integration allows Ford to better serve its customers.

Mulally announced the “”myFord Touch,”” a new in-dash customisable interface, which will help consumers better access content and control features, minimising driver distraction. Ford also announced partnerships with CE industry companies that, as Mulally stated, “”allow us to increase connectivity, while decreasing driver distraction.””

Ford has already shared the Sync SDK platform with Pandora, and Twitter and developed apps for the new “”myFord Touch”” interface. Based on that success, Ford is now opening its platform to additional third party application developers for future connected innovation.

The show’s Driving Connected SuperSession featured a cross-industry panel of well-known professionals from Pandora, ATX, Autonet Mobile, Dice Electronics, Kia Motors, SEMA, and DENSO America. The panel agreed that connected automobiles are a reality and discussed ways that automobiles will start to communicate with other devices, such as traffic lights and toll booths, to increase public safety and optimise driving conditions. They discussed the importance of thinking differently when designing and implementing automotive technology, including the introduction of new widgets for the car. Pandora announced that its serial protocol was being used by Pioneer, Aline and Ford to enable greater integration and control of Pandora’s music while behind the wheel.

The Twitter Revolution SuperSession, moderated by Steve Broback of the Parnassus Group, featured social media thought-leaders who shared real-life examples of the power of Twitter to influence, inform and interact. The panel discussed their favorite Twitter tools and sites used to monitor and measure their company or product’s reach. They stressed the three keys to successful Twittering: Share value: Be human and Interact.

The show’s SuperSession, Staying Competitive in Turbulent Times, brought together executives from AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Woot, Contorl4 and Cisco to discuss what they’ve done to stay ahead and remain competitive given the current economic downturn. Each company faced challenges but used this time to innovate, branch out and target markets to stay ahead.

At CNET’s Next Big Thing SuperSession, IPTV was announced as the next big thing that will have the greatest influence on consumer technology this coming year. The session focused on giving consumers choice, voice and control over their content like never before. The panelists acknowledged that many challenges exist to delivering content over the top of existing cable structures, including choice of content, piracy and DRM. Consumers want to enjoy a common experience across their devices, with the selection of content they want and an easy user experience.

Paul Otellini, chief executive officer of Intel, stated his belief that Intel’s job is to invent the future. To that end, the company demonstrated a plethora of new technologies including 3DTV, as well as IPTV, a Home Energy Management System, and a new technology Intel calls Wireless Display or “”WiDi””. The WiDi technology has the ability to connect a PC to an HDTV for streaming photos, videos and other content.

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