10 Predictions for 2014

January 23, 2014
It is time once again to lay out my ten themes for the New Year. But first I’ll review my calls from last year. My prediction of another spring slowdown for the economy was mostly correct. The economy grew by 1.1 percent in the first quarter while the consensus forecast for first quarter growth at this time last year was 1.6 percent.   I predicted deleveraging would cause consumer credit to expand in 2013, which it did. I predicted no real change to unemployment. The unemployment rate slightly declined in 2013, but the labor force participation rate also fell. Without a decline in the participation...

The Experience of Etail Eye

January 04, 2014
CEA’s startup membership now has more than 200 members and provides valuable benefits beyond its low price of $95 a year. Need evidence? Meet Samantha Smith, executive vice president for North America, and Christine MacNulty, chief strategist of Etail Eye. They recently joined as CEA startup members. “We contacted CEA on a Wednesday and went to their offices that Friday. By Monday, we had two CEA mentor program meetings set up and they were able to give us valuable business insight,” says Smith. Etail Eye launched in Europe and is new to the American market. The company provides real-time intelligence for the e-commerce...

2014 International CES Trends

December 31, 2013
I’ve noted before that tech trends don’t follow calendars. They ebb and flow—building and iterating on top of prior innovations. With that said, there are several trends accelerating as we head into 2014 that I expect will have a pronounced impact on the tech industry in the coming years. Here are two to consider. Mass Customization Around 1760, we entered the first Industrial Revolution. This marked the transition to new manufacturing processes which included moving from hand production to machine tools. This transition lasted until about 1820. In the 1860s, we entered the second Industrial Revolution...

The Connected Home Makeover

December 24, 2013
Many homes today are getting a technology facelift, adding connected devices like smart thermostats, programmable security and sprinkler systems, structured wiring solutions and energy-efficient lighting systems, among other installed technologies. Programmable thermostats are now in 42 percent of U.S. homes, according to a survey conducted by CEA of online U.S. adults. CEA’s Adoption and Usage of Home Automation survey found that the number of homes with installed programmable thermostats jumped seven percent between 2012 and 2013.   CEA’s study looks at how consumers are learning about new in-home solutions that make daily living easier. For retailers, the message is...

Home is Where the Smart Tech Lives

December 23, 2013
When it comes to the “Internet of Things,” there’s no place like home. Thanks to an increasing array of connected solutions, from security systems to climate controls, our homes are smarter than ever. But while consumers have rapidly adopted smartphones, are they ready to embrace the smart home? The first vision of the smart home came into focus ten to fifteen years ago: a collection of installed automated systems—whole-house audio/video, lighting controls, security and climate controls—connected by cables to a centralized controller. Routines and protocols were, by necessity, hard-coded...

Green Tips to Help You Live Green and Buy Green During the Holidays

December 05, 2013
During this holiday season, we have a few tips for consumers on how to live green, buy green, and recycle responsibly with GreenerGadgets.org.   • Research shows the more you understand about the energy usage of your electronic devices, the less energy you will use and the more money you will save. Visit the Consumer Electronics Energy Calculator to help determine how much energy you use based on the number of products you own and the amount of time they are used. You can also find tips on how to save energy on the site.  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label or EPEAT-certified product labels when purchasing gifts for family and friends. These labels identify...

Inputs/Outputs: December 2013

December 04, 2013
Each month i3 recaps the latest comings and goings of CE industry executives. In this month’s roundup: Katie Couric is the last journalist to jump over to Yahoo, Hisense USA hires new director of CE sales and more.   Couric Latest Journalist to be Nabbed by Yahoo Award-winning journalist and news anchor Katie Couric has been named Yahoo’s first global anchor as the company expands its in-house news coverage. Couric will continue to host her daytime talk show Katie. “Katie’s depth of experience, her intellectual curiosity, and her charisma make her the perfect choice to anchor Yahoo News and the whole Yahoo Network,” said Yahoo CEO Marissa...

CEA Members Debut Innovative Accessories

November 25, 2013
Microsoft Rolls out New Accessories to Complement Surface 2 With the release of its Surface and Surface Pro 2 tablets, Microsoft unveiled a suite of new accessories, including reconfigured keyboard designed to enhance the tablet’s video and audio mixing software capabilities. The Surface Music Cover is a keyboard-style touchpad add-on that replaces the traditional QWERTY keyboard with media and volume control buttons and other special functions for expert sound mixing. The Music Cover is part of the Surface Music Kit and also works in conjunction with Xbox Music. Other Surface accessories include a redesigned Arc Touch Mouse that flattens for portability and connects to the...

Digital Monetization Dilemma

November 20, 2013
The quest to convert digital advertising dimes into real online consumer spending is succeeding. After years of hand-wringing about how to monetize online content, several new studies are showing that not only are customers accepting digital advertising, but marketers are finding new ways to capitalize on wireless and other cross-platform services in creative ways. This momentum for digital advertising and marketing coincides with the acceleration of original online content and the growing use of tablets and other mobile devices as well as over-the-top broadband receivers.  Just a few years ago, “old media” executives lamented that they didn’t want to sacrifice...
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