3 Tech Trends from the 2012 CES

Every January, the entire tech industry meets up for one week in Las Vegas at an event called the International Consumer Electronics Show, or CES for short. Virtually every major or minor player in the tech game brings all of their latest technology to show off to over 150,000 people representing the press, industry analysts, buyers, retailers, and companies. This year marked my 9th consecutive visit to CES to wander the 1.861 million square foot show floor (that’s almost 33 football fields side-by-side!), where I got to see a ton of technology, from smart televisions to even smarter cars, tens of thousands of mobile devices and accessories, headphones, wireless everything, toys, tech demos, and just tons and tons of stuff in between.

While the experience of going to CES is unquestionably overwhelming, a few clear tech trends did emerge and I’m here to bring them to you today.

1. Power Everywhere

One clear tech trend is that we’re putting a bigger strain on the batteries of our devices than ever. While battery life has been increasing in recent years, our demands from our devices is quickly outpacing even the latest in battery tech. I personally used my iPhones (that’s right, I’ve got two and it still was barely enough!) nearly 24-7 during CES filming videos for Socialcam, taking pictures and notes on hot new products, sending email and responding to texts.

Needless to say, I burned through my batteries quickly. But I had a backpack that charged my phones and tablet, wireless charging stations to drop my phone onto for a quick refresh, and saw tons of solutions that provide solar power charging to devices like eReaders. It became evident to me at CES this year that constantly worrying about powering my devices is about to become a thing of the past. That’s good, because the worst thing that can happen in our connected world is a dead battery.

2. Smart Everything

The “smart” label is being thrown on everything lately: smart home, smart car, smart health. So what does it mean? On a basic level, it means that devices we take for granted are being improved with CPUs, from refrigerators and stoves to heart monitors and blood pressure cuffs.

But “smart” is quickly beginning to take a more valuable form, by adding features that were never before possible, ushering in a new era in technology. A smart fridge doesn’t just regulate the temperature better, it knows when your milk is about to expire and alerts you via an LCD screen. A smart home doesn’t just have an app to control your lights and heat, it automatically adapts to your schedule and needs. A smart blood pressure monitor builds complex statistical information and allows you to share it with your doctor to get the absolute best in health care. It’s all about empowering consumers with genuinely smarter tech.

3. Celebrities Getting Involved in Tech

While at CES I had the chance to sit down with a ton of celebs, from Will.i.am to 50 Cent, who aren’t just there pushing tech products but really getting involved in the process. Will.i.am, believe it or not, is actually an Intel employee (his title is the “Director of Creative Innovation”—pretty impressive!), and he’s helping them with their branding and design of future laptops and concept computers. 50 Cent doesn’t just have a line of headphones, he’s involved in the process and making sure they provide tech people can really dig into, like wireless cans that let multiple people listen to the same track at their own volume levels.

Duracell Powermat announced at CES that Jay-Z is actually an investor in the company, and I got to hang with my buddy Marc Ecko who has tons of cool tech products like a bluetooth speaker in the shape of a graffiti spray can. So while celebrity endorsements have helped to carry tech products in the past, the big new thing is getting celebrities actually involved in having a hand at the business and product side as well. I’m expecting to see tons more involvement from celebrities in the tech field this year, in deep and engaging ways.

Obviously, there were tons of other products that stunned me, so if you have questions about anything I saw or any of the latest tech, be sure to fire away in the comments or hit me up on twitter @MarioArmstrong. I’ll do my best to let you know what impressed me and what we can expect to see blow up this year.

Mario Armstrong is a digital lifestyle expert, the tech corespondent for the TODAY show and CNN, and the host of a daily tech talk radio show on SiriusXM. An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at @MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

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