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February 5th, 2013

As opposed to our recent blog about innovative new products introduced at CES—helpfully titled “CES 2013 in Review: Products”—today’s blog will discuss what we discern as major new trends for the coming year. Progress doesn’t happen in a vacuum; cultural and social forces push technological development, and technology pushes back. Three trends of note at CES 2013 were transportation technology, “eldertech” (digital life enhancement for seniors), and celebrity endorsements. Here’s what you need to know:

Personal Transportation

As usual, CES had plenty of “Jetsonian” stuff from such automotive behemoths as Ford, Toyota, and Audi—from self-driving experimental vehicles to the latest generation of in-car displays. These displays have the same technology as our LCD touchscreen monitor rentals, letting you manage your music, navigate the highways anzBoard CESd byways, and (this is not a joke) keep up with your social networks. If, however, you’d rather escape the constant deluge of media and head in a more “enviro-positive” direction, consider the growing realm of “personal transportation.”

The motorized ZBoard skateboard has weight sensors and gyros, so you “lean” the direction you want to go, shifting your weight to the front foot pad for acceleration (up to 15mph), or the rear one for braking. There was a wide range of electric bikes, from simple and affordable to leading-edge and handmade (like the $4,000 eFlow E3 Nitro). Two-wheeled boots, battery-powered skates, and electric unicycles were also on display. Keep your eyes on pedestrian-heavy cities (New York, San Francisco, but not Los Angeles, for example) to gauge the strength of this new personal transportation trend.

Eldertech

The assistive technologies that senior citizens take advantage of are not always as high-tech as our iPad rentals (canes, for instance). At CES 2013 there were many different products for seniors. A vitally important trend is the proliferation of “remote health management technology,” where special sensors and apps monitor patients and transmit the readings to the cloud for physician review. 

The ideal life PodIdeal Life makes pocket-size devices for remote health management—measuring blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen uptake, and blood glucose. The company’s Ideal Life Pod connects to a standard phone jack to act as a wireless gateway for one or more of the devices, but they can connect to the Internet via an iMac, a PC, or a smartphone, too. Another benefit is financial: caregivers can prevent unnecessary trips to the ER and catch new problems early, while the massive amounts of data collected on thousands (millions?) of patients can be “sliced and diced” for insights on treatment efficiencies, recovery rates, and other critical health matters.

If and when developments like these surpass the trend phase and become standard, they could change the face of medicine for patients of all ages.

Celebrity Endorsements

With a huge exhibition just shy of 2 million square feet, there were thousands of commodity-level laptop covers, cases, Bluetooth keyboards, charging docks, and $25 portable power packs. Earbuds and portable speakers were everywhere, and the year-long trend toward more celebrity-branded headphones (mostly big, over-ear, closed-back styles) is still going strong. Just as the MacBook line benefits from the golden aura of Apple’s name, and its history of building high-quality products, headphone makers want to draw customers with the golden aura of fame, too.

It all started with Dr. Dre’s Beats model, but now the Soul SL300 series is personalized by Olympian runner Usain Bolt, the NFL’s Tim Tebow, rapper Ludacris, and others. (CRE has a wide range of pro audio visual (AV) equipment rentals, but not consumer “bling” like these, which cost $399 to $1,000 or more.) Taking the concept one step further are devices that appear to be more fashion-oriented than function-focused, such as iHip’s “audio device fashion accessories” endorsed by Snooki from the reality show Jersey Shore. With any luck, this trend is already on its way out!

One thing you won’t need luck for is dealing with CRE. One call or message puts an expert Account Executive on the job for you, crafting your unique solution with trade show convention rentals or high-tech gear for post-production—whatever it takes. If you know what you need, get in and out of our Quick Rental Quote page in a minute. We’re always ready to help!

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