The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was the largest in their 45 year history with more than 3,300 vendors and 150,000 attendees traipsing across 1.92 million square feet of Las Vegas show floors. To give you an idea of scale, that’s over 33 football fields in size, crisscrossed by 23 miles of aisles.
While many of the announcements and products focused on home or automotive technology, our primary focus was on the myriad of products and innovations that could one day find their way into accounting firms, which we feature in our snippets below.
Multiple Screens: The size and clarity of display monitors continues to improve dramatically, which will continue to lower the cost of big displays not only in our homes, but also within firms for viewing and sharing client data. While approximately two-thirds of today’s firms use three or more individual monitors for their tax professionals, larger dual screen displays are becoming a suitable and importantly “cost effective” alternative, particularly in cubicle areas where shelving has limited the ability of firms to “stack” monitors.
In addition to the PC connected screens, users will continue to pull up additional information on their tablets or smartphones which are becoming part of a natural “second screen” movement.
Second Screen Concept: Most consumers are finding that having a tablet or smartphone available when viewing television programming is a valuable “second screen” that they can use to find out more about a story or event that is happening on the television. This realization has spawned a lot of interest for developers that create applications which interact “live” between the handheld device and the television to provide additional information or sell related products, which were touted at CES’s Second Screen Summit.
These connected applications could someday allow accountants to pull up a client’s tax return on a large screen within their office and then have supplemental information delivered to their tablet during the discussion, including what information is displayed or kept private. Since we are on the subject of tablets, Lenovo displayed their 27” Horizon Table PC that converts from an all-in-one touch screen PC to a hefty tablet with a screen large enough to be shared simultaneously with a handful of users which could direct a path towards a truly paperless office.
Third Screen: Viewing data on a smartphone is not always a great experience, particularly when the user needs to interact with the device. While rumors of the eminent release of Google’s Project Glass wireless handset technology have abounded during the past year, the Lumix M100 Smart Glasses were delivered at CES and received a Best of Innovations award. This small screen is mounted over the ear so the image can be viewed hands free and integrates GPS and head tracker technology to interact with applications.
Imagine working in the field and having the third screen to display additional or confidential information. Another “small screen” product we saw was the I’m Watch which connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and can display your emails, texts, on the watch face. As the watch is a touchscreen it also allows users to hit the “answer” button to pick up a call to a Bluetooth headset when the phone is stowed in a pocket or purse, so we can expect our watches to become as smart as our phones have.
Flexible Screen: Probably the coolest gadget we witnessed at CES was when Samsung demonstrated the Youm flexible screen, including one version which featured Microsoft Windows Phone. In addition to that working “reference” device, Samsung showed a video of a tablet concept device that folded in half to be more portable, and then held up another where the screen was “bent” over the side to display a single line of information.