Why The Consumer Electronics Show Should Matter To CTOs

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Why CES Should Matter To CTOsIt’s been a few weeks since this year’s consumer electronics show wrapped up. Businesses from all over the tech industry showed up to strut their stuff. Although most of what was showcased was (not surprisingly) consumer tech, it nevertheless spanned industries as diverse as healthcare, automotives, and virtual reality.

As a CTO, it might be tempting to disregard CES from an enterprise standpoint. After all, it’s called the consumer electronics show, right? Most of the tech showcased there is for the end user – not for enterprise IT.

Thing is, there are a number of reasons why you need to pay attention.

First, there’s the fact that, like it or not, consumers are gaining more and more control in enterprise with each passing day. There’s a reason so many blogs buzz near-perpetually about the Internet of Things; there’s a reason IT departments are consistently concerned about losing control to increasingly tech-savvy users. Of course, that’s far from the only reason CES is important.

Consider the technology that showed up this year. Virtual reality made a strong appearance, with scores of exhibitors showcasing their products through the use of VR headsets like the Oculus Rift. There were plenty of VR products being showcased as well, of course…but nothing concrete.

If nothing else, it showed the potential of virtual reality tech, while simultaneously demonstrating how far it yet has to go.

“As the pundits predicted, VR was hard to miss at CES 2016,” writes Daniel Rasmus of Geek Wire; “but it was also not a technology ready for pickup at the local Best Buy or on that could be easily ordered from Amazon, unless you were just looking to experiment with one of the various Google Cardboard clones or Samsung’s Gear VR. For those who donned mobile headsets they may have been a bit wowed, but they were exposed to suboptimal experiences.”

Perhaps more interesting were conversations about intelligent cars and the Internet of Things – both of which came up repeatedly this year. Again, these are conversations which, though they relate to the consumer space, can nevertheless be readily applied to enterprise – both in terms of connection with consumers and in terms of business efficiency.

Let’s refocus a bit. Essentially, the reason you should be paying attention to CES is the same reason you should pay attention to any tech conference: the march of technology in the consumer space is a good indication of where things might be headed in enterprise, now more than ever. And if you don’t make an effort to keep yourself apprised of where technology is headed, then you’ll inevitably be left behind as it marches on.

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