I am currently attending my first CES conference in Las Vegas. I have been anxious to go for years. I read every year after the conference as blogs like Engadget and TechCrunch fill me in with the details of what was announced and what wasn’t. Now … I don’t need them (although I am still reading because they get a LOT better access than me)! I am here. Mama … I made it.
The first thing I have to say … CES is daunting. The halls are huge, the keynotes start early, and the fact that I love craps and will play into the wee hours of the morning doesn’t make things any easier. Also, there are an immense amount of people in the city and that makes any type of transportation a horrible affair. With all that being said … I’m loving it.
If you want to follow my thoughts … follow me on Twitter: @TheRealMrPeters
I’ll keep this short as I am preparing to go out for the night and win some tuition money at the craps table, but here are my thoughts so far.
That is all for now … I’ll try and get some pics or something interesting up ASAP.
- They Love, Love, Love 3D! 3D phones, 3D TVs, 3D Tablets … it’s all here and all being pushed hard.
- There hasn’t been as much bleeding edge stuff as I expected. A lot of better, faster, and stronger … but I haven’t seen a whole lot of game changing.
- Motorola really impressed me with their Atrix. It’s an Android Cell Phone that can be attached to a laptop dock or monitor and keyboard, and then it acts as practically a full sized laptop with 4G and 3G. Would be great for travel and a way to ditch the real laptop, but still have everything in one device.
- I’m not that big a fan of 3D. It still feels gimmicky to me, and given that HDTV adoption isn’t universal yet, I’m not sure that people are ready for the new new thing.
- Everyone is rushing to make a tablet, but nothing seems that interesting. Even the Motorola’s offering, that I was really looking forward to, wasn’t that impressive.
- Several companies think it’s ok to have someone hold a controller or touch a screen while a video is playing and pretend that the GUI is working … stop it!
- Having a press pass doesn’t really mean anything …
- There is still a lot more for me to see, so I’ll hold off some of my other thoughts for later.
I want to know where you are … right?
You want to know where I am … right?
So now we know where each other is. Now what?
I am having a hard time trying to think about the future of location based services. With the inclusion of GPS in most major cell phones, in addition to a significant improvement in cellular triangulation, we are now able to have a lot better idea of where we are at any given time.
There is no doubt that this new sense of location awareness has a lot of real benefits. Want to see a movie nearby … done. Want to figure out where the nearest fast food place to eat is and get some ratings on it … done. Need directions to pick up your friend who is at a new store you have never heard of … done. There are a slew of use cases where knowing where I am and what is around me is useful and helpful to me.
But now you have these push based location services (I haven’t thought of a good name to call them yet … so we’ll stick with push based since regular location services includes Google Maps). I’m talking about Facebook Places, Foursquare, SCVNGR, Gowalla, Loopt, Twitter location (kind of …), etc. I’m talking about services that allow you to “check-in” at a place and inform some central service or other people that you are somewhere.
But then what …
Really, I am trying to think of the true game changing value added benefit. I am trying to think of what new thing I can do now that I can publish or share my location with others that wasn’t possible before … and will change my life. There are some easy ones that come up. Now I know that me and a friend are at the same mall and can meet for food. I can see that out of all the bars in Adam’s Morgan in DC, that Tryst is trending because there are a lot of people there. I can keep track of how often I go to the same coffee shop.
But is this a game changer? Is this something that I will one day think “I couldn’t have lived without it”? Will location services start to intertwine with other services to make more aware and unique offerings?
I don’t know …
I remain a bit skeptical of the current models out there. The novelty of being mayor of your coffee shop wears off. Announcing to all your friends that you are at a particular location is something that social networks alone can handle pretty well. The act of checking in still remains kind of annoying in my opinion. Companies are starting to think of location based services as a way to drum up some traffic and make some sales, but I don’t think the current offerings are super compelling.
I hate to criticize without having a solid way forward or a way to fix things, but not sure I have the magic solution just yet. I do have some suggestions that hopefully pan out to be correct. Ideally, I want:
Maybe I am just lazy, but I don’t want to check in everywhere I go. I may purchase foods or goods from several places in a given day. While I am buying my food from a lunch truck, it may not cross my mind to check-in and let everyone know that I am there at the current moment. It would be great if I could just be checked-in there so any nearby friends could coordinate (I know Google Latitude offers this).
Better Control of Who Sees my location
This is a very basic issue with almost all social networks … right. My mom and my frat brothers are both connected to me. Some stuff mom can see … and some she shouldn’t. It doesn’t seem that this is a major concern for location services at the moment, but I dare say it is more important that wall postings. I don’t mind sharing my whereabouts with people, but not everyone that is a “friend” (all 800+ of my facebook friends aren’t real friends … right?).
Do something useful with the aggregate data
So Foursquare now has trending, which I like. The scale isn’t there to make it super useful, but sometimes it does help to see that a bunch of people are in one place. But lets do more with it. What restaurants are consistently packed, and what does that say about how good it is? Are there trends in lines and business that I can use to minimize the amount of time I take to get lunch? Isn’t there aggregate information that can be used to improve my life?
Clean it up
I can only speak on this for Foursquare, but I hate when there are two entries for the same place, or when I see places called “my house”. I want some rhyme and reason in the list of locations around me … please.
Stop thinking so small
When I travel, sometimes I just want to check into a city, but I can’t. There is utility in making things a little more vague. Google allows this with latitude, but most of the major location services are specific to particular bars, restaurants, etc.
I am not saying this is an exhaustive list, and I can’t say that this list speaks about anyone besides me … but this is more of what I would like to see. Maybe … one day …
- Damien Peters
I am on the organizing committee for the MIT 100K Elevator Pitch Competition (EPC) and I am here to preach to you the greatness that is the MIT 100K EPC.
You can register at http://register.mit100k.org/
For those who don’t know, the MIT 100K Defines the Elevator Pitch Competition as:
The Elevator Pitch Contest is the first of three contests hosted by the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.So here you go with the Top 10 Reasons you should Register and join the MIT 100K EPC: I will be updating the list throughout the day, so check back for more:
It’s about idea generation, connecting with others who have similar interests, and learning how to present your pitch to a potential investor in a moment’s notice.
60 seconds for a chance to win $5,000!
Preliminary Rounds – October 25 & 26, 2010, 6PM Bldg. E51Finale Round – October 27, 2010, 7PM Kirsch Auditorium, Stata Center
#10: Where else can you win $5,000 for 60 seconds of work?!?!
#9: Learning how to convince an entire group of people in 60 seconds is a life skill. Think about the next time you get a speeding ticket!
#8: In 5 years, you’ll be able to tell people you were part of the $100K, even though at that point it will be called the $1,000,000K.
#7: Finally, a chance to participate in a cross-school and cross-campus event … YES!
#6: You kinda, sorta, almost want to be an entrepreneur, but you already have an in with McKinsey. Try it out for 60 seconds … McKinsey isn’t going anywhere!
#5: It’s 60 seconds! You can spare 60 seconds.
#4: Imagine Toastmaster’s and the Sales Club having a baby. Then give that baby $5,000 to hand out. That’s what the EPC is like.
#3: Look at the music video … let’s not let Rahul’s hard acting skills go to waste!
#2: I know you want a job in finance. Well, don’t you think Goldman will be impressed at the ROI of 60 seconds and no capital into $5,000?! That’s an ROI of INFINITE percent!
And the #1 Reason to immediately go and sign up for the MIT $100K Elevator Pitch Competition …
#1: Do it for me … Please …
As you go to http://register.mit100k.org/ and sign up right now … enjoy this video made for the $100K.
- Damien Peters