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The Shopping Mall of the Future

This post, and a portion of my trip to the Consumer Electronics show, was sponsored by Eye-Fi, the makers of an awesome memory card that transforms the camera you love – like that DSLR you will never part with – into a connected machine so you u can post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever you live in the cloud. Thanks Eye-Fi!

my photo of the future Tesla, taken with my DSLR and sent magically to my smart phone with the Eye-Fi Mobi

I make the pilgrimage to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas whenever possible because it blows my mind, wears me out, thrills me, and illustrates beyond any reasonable doubt that we live in amazing times. If it was a mall, it is the one where you go to shop for the future. Because much of what’s shown there doesn’t exist anywhere yet. Some of it is proof of concept. Some of it is there to show the industry what’s coming. And some of it is there to get it in front of the retailers so they can put it in front of you.

One example of a proof of concept – and perhaps the coolest thing I saw – was the prototype Tesla on display in the Delphi booth. It is a real car. But it’s one of a kind, there to show the world what a car of the future might look like. When the car can drive itself, the interior will no longer be about transportation, it will be about entertainment. And this one had a big screen on the dash for going online, watching Netflix, or working. A projector on the inside of the windshield made watching a movie in the front seat a joint activity. And, assuming the back seat will have kids in it, an immersive gaming experience with speakers that play only for one seat at a time so that both kids can listen loud yet not hear their brother’s bad taste in tunes.

photo taken with a DSLR camera and sent to my smart phone with the Eye-Fi Mobi

Then, in the Qualcomm booth, I toured a house where the appliances could talk to each other, track my whereabouts because of my smart phone or the wearable fitness tracker (if anyone builds the technology into one of those), turn on lights for me, and otherwise do my bidding. I could control the music and the lights from my smart phone. The Teddy bear in the kid’s room was connected to the alarm clock and helped convince the kids to get up in the morning. And the router would rat the kids out – by flashing something on the TV – if one of them watches YouTube instead of sleeping.


I drove an all-electric, completely connected BMW that handled like a space ship and would send an alert to my smart phone when its battery was charged or if I accidentally forgot to lock the doors.

There was an entire section of the floor for smart watches, some pretty and simple, others smart and completely connected. But all of them making it clear that a watch that only tells time is a thing of the past.

There were so many wearable fitness trackers that I got quickly overwhelmed. (Especially since my own was telling me I was walking upwards of ten miles a day.)

It’s been a long week. And I’m still digging through my notes and pouring through my photos – pics I got to take with a DSLR instead of my cell phone because of the Eye-Fi Mobi card! – so I’ll post more when I recover. Stay tuned!

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