If you would have told me a decade ago that CES 2015 would be all about wireless, I would have told you that you were nuts. However, that’s exactly what is happening. Last week's Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, was about many different kinds of consumer electronics that are all connected to the web or the cloud, using wireless and wire line connections.
That means wireless and wire line networks will see big growth in this space moving forward. So will companies who make smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and so on with apps.
I remember a decade ago when there was little or none in the way of wireless technology being shown at CES. Back there were booths selling wireless handsets, but not much more.
Wireless Evolution of Consumer Electronics
Back then AT&T (T) was the first with their wireless and wire line home. It showcased plenty of new technologies, which by the way, we are all using today. That was back in the days when there was a separate AT&T, Cingular, Bellsouth and SBC. All one company today.
That’s the kind of excitement I love to follow. Think about it. A decade ago we did not live in a smartphone world. We had no Apple iPhone (AAPL) , Google Android (GOOG) or Samsung Galaxy (SSNNF) . These names didn’t even exist, nor did today’s smartphone space.
A decade ago the consumer electronics industry and the wireless industry were both healthy and rapidly growing, but separate.
Over the last several years all that is changing. Today there are so many new versions of technologies and apps. The wireless data smartphone world is transforming everything.
At the same time, consumer electronics is all merging and blending with the wireless world creating all sorts of new products, new thinking, new growth and excitement.
So if this is what is starting to happen today, what will the CES show of tomorrow look like?
Today, we are in the very early days of transforming the way consumer electronics work. The ability to connect is transforming many industries and we are still in the very early years.
Getting hardware to work well is one of the keys.
Software is another important key. Getting all these consumer electronics devices to work well, work together, and communicate with each other through the web and the cloud.
That is still the weak part of the equation when it comes to consumer electronics. The CES show displays hard gear, but not really software.
Going forward I think software will play an increasingly important role.
Going Beyond Hardware
Perhaps CES will have to reposition itself and its brand. Going forward it’s all about the experience. It’s about updated software that lets us have an incredibly rich and new experience.
Perhaps CES will update their brand and name to mean the Consumer Experience Show, or the Consumer Electronics Experience Show. You know, CEES. OK, I’m not in the naming business. But you get the point.
Until recently, we would see consumer electronics companies always introducing us to all sorts of new technology.
Increasingly we are seeing that world blend with the wireless and software letting customers connect to the web or the cloud.
Today, we are seeing these CE companies improving their technology and developing ways for them to communicate with each other and the web using wireless technology.
Tomorrow we will see improved software developed to let different companies communicate better and do more than ever before.
That means today we are in the very early stages of this new Growth Wave. Today companies who are benefiting and growing are in different segments.
- Wireless networks like AT&T Mobility (T) , Verizon Wireless (VZ) and Sprint (S) .
- Wire line networks like AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink (CTL) .
- Smartphone and handset makers like Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, Samsung Galaxy, Microsoft Nokia (MSFT) , Blackberry (BBRY) and many others as well.
- Cloud companies will play a larger and more important role as well. Companies who operate a cloud and see service to other companies, and those who sell cloud gear for companies who want to build this on their own.
- Plus the rest of the consumer electronics world, which is just beginning to see this new future, which looks much better and growing faster than ever.
Today, we see cable television companies like Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) using wireless to expand and improve the cable television world. They are using apps and wireless networks to let customers watch television on their smartphones or tablets even while away from home.
Today, we see the automotive industry playing a larger role than ever at CES with their consumer electronics flooding the dashboard. They all use wireless networks to provide connectivity to their cloud of services as well.
Today, we see the healthcare industry innovating with wireless technology and communicating between doctors and patients providing improved care.
In fact, industry after industry throughout the consumer electronics space is changing and that is the exciting part. We will remain on the growth side of the wave for many years to come.
Riding the Wireless Growth Wave
Now, it’s up to us to determine the companies, technologies and ideas that will be the winners. Not all will be. There will be winners and losers.
Hey, I never said it would be easy. All I said was there would be tremendous growth opportunity for many companies and many technologies for years to come. That is all true.
Choosing the difference between winners and losers remains the hard part.
Tomorrow, we are fortunate that there will be plenty of winners from the wireless and wire line carriers, smartphone and tablet makers.
There will also be winners throughout the consumer electronics space in all industries including retail, automotive, healthcare, televisions and more.
So buckle up, because 2015 will be a hell of a growth year.
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