CES 2011- when an event is a non-event.

Despite the Vegas-sized hole in the ozone layer which the Consumer Electronics show created, with over 140,000 visitors, 2,700 exhibitors and around 4,000 press attendees it was reported as the biggest show in the ‘Town that Sam Built’ for years.

But, from an innovation point of view, it was a flop. Some blamed Apple for releasing its killer product nine months earlier. But there is an alternative theory for why we saw so little to excite the prosumers that we have all become. B2C is not where the innovation is today.

Don’t get me wrong, the consumerisation of IT was a nice distraction. Milestones included the IBM PC ruining the prediction that the global market for computers was less than 100, the Walkman personalising the gramophone, the iPhone proving to have more staying power than the Palm Pilot.

But seriously, what earth-shattering innovation came from CES 2011? The Playbook isn’t it, Windows working on ARM as well as Intel architectures ain’t it and, despite the justifications that European journalists will have to give to their editors as they hand over their expense claims, neither are netbook/tablet mongrels.

There may yet be a hidden gem, the jetsetting junketeers of Europe did not deem it newsworthy. So perhaps it is time to go back to where IT came from – the business.

In an industry which many see as analogous to IT, new technology is proven on the race circuit, not the production lines. In IT, this is likely to be the ‘boring old’ worlds of banking and science, not the handbags of Milan. Can I therefore respectfully suggest professional tech commentators return to what creates the wealth that buys all these gadgets. Let’s look at B2B computing anew.

While there may only a few European B2B tech shows left and no doubt Earls Court and Cologne are not the sorts of place where “What goes on tour, stays on tour’, this is where the next great advances in tech are likely to be on display. Furthermore, Enterprise IT developments need to be critically evaluated on behalf of customers frantically looking for the sort of expert advice only tech writers can give. Unfortunately bloggers can’t impress their friends by unwrapping this sort of technology as their colleagues and friends gather round in the office or down the pub. So I am guessing next year’s show is guaranteed to be ‘the best ever’ and the taxi lines longer than ever.

Did you go? Did we miss all the great innovation? Feel free to comment.


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