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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

January 4, 2009

… it starts with a ‘C’ and ends with an ‘S’, no it’s not Christmas, it’s CES!

CES is 3 days away and I am all excited. This year is probably not going to be as exciting and ‘life changing’ (i.e. iphone) as previous years. The economy is bad, Steve Jobs is not coming this year (i.e. no big apple announcements), there probably won’t be any exciting news or ‘breakthrough’ discoveries/conclusions/announcements.

Having said that, this might mean that this year we might get a much more robust and in-depth discussion of the REAL state of social media, content and technology and future developments which are more relevant to us all: what do you do when it is getting really tough? how is social media serving the company and the user today (i.e. not a very glamorous day)? See beyond the glamour of the ‘iphone’s and ‘Hulu’s.

CES started – as its name indicates – as a Consumer Electronics trade Show, however, year by year, bit by bit, the technology side gave more and more space to the content side: ‘Variety’ is now one of the show’s biggest sponsors; Digital Hollywood hosts its most important panels of the year there and so do gaming, education, elderly and advertising industries representatives, all having their own panels to discuss not what technology to use, but how to use it to engage the audience and sustain a successful business.

Last year most panel discussions and workshops were around how great social media is, how much audience it draws, how do you actually monetize it and what is, exactly, IPTV. On the Gadgets front, the product that got everyone’s attention was not Sling but Panasonic’s Life Wall: an interactive wall in your living room, one that has multiple windows (not the ones with view to the street, but those we use on a computer screen), that you can move and resize with your hands just like Tom Cruise in Minority Report and ‘M’ (Judi Dench) in Quantum of Solace; a wall where you can upload a wii-fit game into and follow instructions of shadow on the wall to exercise, or open a ‘fireplace’ video file to sit next to. It was mind blowing and terrifying at the same time. Other memorable moment to shed a virtual tear from our eyes included Bill Gates’ farewell to the industry including the brilliant ‘last day at the office’ video.

This year the first and most important session is Social Media Jungle with Social Media Guru Jeff Pulvar which will host great people, such as Robert Scoble (Geek god and technical evangelist) and others who will discuss social media platforms, issues, solutions and trends.

Next program to check out is Digital Hollywood, which will host reps from MySpace, Living Social, Social Media Club as well as Sony, IBM, AT&T etc to discuss the why’s, what’s and how’s of technology, content/UGC (user generated content) and the user.

Other industry and audience specific tracks, all deal with Social Media from different angles: Two panels for both ends of spectrum: Elderly population, and Kids – how they consume, behave and interact with media and technology; Mobile industry, including how is Social Media integrated into Mobile life; Music (p2p and DRM), Storage – how do to manage mass amounts of social (and sensitive) data?; and of course Governance and  Advertising.

Other events to attend:

•    Microsoft’s Keynote will be delivered by Steve Ballmer (and not Ozzie, unfortunately) on Wednesday;
•    ‘Wii Shall Overcome: The Triumph of Simplicity and the Lessons We Can Learn from Nintendo’ session;
•    What Will They Think of Next? Consumer Technology in 2025;

For any of you interested to follow the exhibition virtually, CES updates available on:
•    CES site – http://blog.ce.org/
•    Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/International-CES/9181619833?ref=s
•    Twitter – http://twitter.com/2009CES
•    YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/cesonthetube

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