2010 Consumer Electronics Show via live-streaming
January 18, 2010
by Mark Ollig

The four-day international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place recently in Las Vegas.

The annual CES is where the latest in high tech or “tech-bling” is showcased.

Over 120,000 industry professionals, including members of the press, journalists, bloggers and dealers, attended the CES this year at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

It was reported 2,500 technology companies showcased some 20,000 high tech gadgets – no wonder CES is the biggest high tech event of the year.

Your humble columnist was there, too.

Well, not physically there, but I observed and participated during a video live-streaming of an interactive broadcast of CES being delivered via a podcast over the Internet.

I learned one of the technical podcast channels called, This Week in Tech, or “TWiT” was going to be broadcasting the event live from the CES.

It is one thing reading tweets or viewing replayed highlights, but being able to see and hear in real-time what was happening at the CES – from the show floor – was just too good for me to pass up.

So I headed over to the TWiT link and found they were live- streaming right from the show floor of the CES, where all the dealers, booths, and excitement were taking place.

Most interesting was seeing the innovating way TWiT set up their live-streaming video podcast from the CES show floor. They had rigged up a custom made mobile computing display screen tablet-like device which used wireless EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) technology.

Out of this tablet microphones and a camera were connected.

The tablet’s physical interface was an “air card,” or EvDO modem.

The mobile computing tablet used for live-streaming from the show floor was connected to a wireless 4G digital cellular service provider in Las Vegas using CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) signaling, which ends up delivering the live-stream to TWiT’s main web server.

I was able to follow and listen along with Leo LaPorte and others from TWiT as they reported live from the CES and were interviewing tech folks, and exhibitors, and commenting on the new high tech gadgets and electronics, while walking along the CES show floor.

It was like being there.

So there I was, more or less hunkered down in front of my computer over the course of four days, immersed in watching the live-stream podcast from the CES in Las Vegas.

Not just watching, I was also able to participate inter-actively via Twitter and by texting with other participants in TWiT’s own chat room.

At one time, over 20,000 people were simultaneously viewing the TWiT live-stream CES video podcast. This podcast was also simulcast to several video social networking sites.

The TWiT chat room capacity is 1,000 interactive users – which I discovered quickly became filled with fellow techno-geeks excitedly chatting about the new electronic gadgets as we saw them being displayed.

Ford Motor Company was showcasing their next-generation of Ford Sync. In addition to providing in-car Wi-Fi access, Sync recognizes voice commands by using the Nuance Communications speech recognition technology – which they obtained from Dragon Speech. In addition to asking for directions and movie times using voice commands, we can now safely “tweet” from our car with both hands on the wheel.

Nuance says their voice recognition provides “. . . innovations in natural language understanding speech to recognize more than 10,000 first level commands, giving customers the ability to truly have a conversation with their cars . . .”

Does this remind anyone else of the car, KITT in the TV series “Knight Rider?”

Then there was the iWallet. This billfold is made out of carbon fiber, Kevlar, and fiberglass, and only opens via a biometric finger print reader.

It uses Bluetooth technology which syncs to your cell phone. The iWallet will call you if it is more than 60 feet away from you. The iWallet links to a satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) so now you can locate your wallet if you lose it. You can check it out at: iwalletusa.com.

The CES also gave attention to being “green” with Yogen’s ripcord-powered portable charger, which looks like a yo-yo. It uses your energy to power the batteries of most portable electronic devices.

Sharp displayed some improved LED lighting. The life expectancy of their new LED “light bulbs” is 20 years. They will be available sometime this year.

The 2010 CES “Best in Show” award went to the Panasonic VT25 3D HDTV flat panel plasma television. This is a full high definition TV with lots of technical specifications, like a video resolution mode of “1080p” to each eye (remember, you need to wear Panasonic’s 3D glasses).

The Panasonic 3D television will become available to the public this spring in four different 3D model sizes. No prices have been announced yet, but you can be sure it will be pricey.

The “Boxee Box,” made by D-Link, was crowned the CES “last gadget standing.” This intelligent small cube (with remote) is essentially a media player that connects your home television to the Internet. Boxee Box interfaces video streams from several sources (locally or on the Internet).

When the CES ended, I found myself feeling re-energized and even optimistic about the new technology heading our way. In fact, I felt much like I did back when I was attending those Minnesota Telephone Association conventions in the 1980s – when the new technology seemed like magic to me.

Be sure to check out the CES web site at: http://www.cesweb.org.