By Les Goldberg aka “The Gadget Geezer”
Author Shelly Palmer, in his new book, Digital Wisdom, states: “Contrary to popular belief, all people below the age of 25 are not ‘connected,’ and all people over the age of 65 are not ‘not connected.” He goes on to say that the younger generation was born into an all-digital world. Those people over 45 and have kids were “forced to learn a fair amount of digital skills to communicate with them,” and their kids have been there to help them.
This was never more evident that at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show last month in Las Vegas, where the gadgets and gizmos out-glittered the stars on the Strip.
Show officials claimed it was the largest in 45 years of CES history, with nearly 160,000 visitors trekking a record 1.92 million square feet of exhibit space filled with 3,250 exhibitors unveiling some 20,000 new products in 15 categories, including TVs, audio/visual, car electronics, smartphones, laptops and tablet computers, games, toys, home furnishings and health and fitness devices.
It was not surprising that the largest expansion of CES 2013 occurred in the area known as the Silver Summit, catering to the over 50 age group, expected to represent 45 percent of the U.S. population by 2015, according to AARP.
Let’s take a virtual tour of what we saw at the show:
Smart Glasses M100
Expected to hit the market later this year are the Smart Glasses M100 from Vuzix, and a similar technology from Google. With pricing to be under $500, the smart glasses will allow you to connect to the Internet and be able to scan your email, use your favorite apps and respond to updates from Facebook, Twitter and other online and social media sources. The glasses attach to your head via an earpiece and the lens – basically a tiny video screen – is connected to the earpiece and wraps around in front of your eye.
Health Feedback Pill
Proteus Digital Health, Inc. announced that its ingestible health monitoring sensor has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A breakthrough in digital medical devices, the Proteus Ingestion Event Market, or IEM sensor can be integrated into an inert pill or other ingested products, such as pharmaceuticals. Once the sensor reaches the stomach, it is powered by stomach fluid and communicates a unique signal that determined identity and timing of ingestion.
The information, including heart rate, body position and activity, is transferred through body tissue to a patch worn on the skin and relayed to a mobile phone application, accessible by caregivers and medical personnel.
Whether you are taking photos, camcorder video or using your iPad, the one thing you want to avoid are blurred images caused by unnecessary movement. The SteadySnake Neckpod uses your body as a monopod/tripod with a flexible arm to allow hands-free operation and proper balance while holding a camera or mobile device steady as you maneuver. It’s ideal for taking high shots over the crowd (camera boom) or low shots where you don’t want to bend, crouch or kneel in awkward positions. It’s available now at bhphotovideo.com for $59.95.
Making their debut CES were the Martian Watches, Dick Tracy-like wristwatches that are Bluetooth-enabled and support voice control on smartphones with the Apple iOS and Android operating systems. They can use verbal commands to place and receive calls, send voice-to-text messages, listen and respond to text messages, set calendar notifications and reminders, play back music and search the web. Other features include two-plus hours of continuous talk time and seven days of standby time, a clear noise-cancellation microphone and directional personal speaker, stylish “always-on” analog watch with Japanese movement and three styles. They are available now at www.martianwatches.com for $249-$299.
Digital health and fitness accessories are one of the fastest growing consumer electronics product categories. And Fitbit is a prime example. It’s out with the old, clunky pedometers which simply counted your steps during exercise. Fitbit’s new product line is a complete digital health monitor encased in attractive wristwear. For instance, the Fitbit Zip model not only tracks steps, calories burned and distance, it also syncs with your computer or Bluetooth-equipped devices, allows you to set goals, view progress and earn badges, and log your food intake and weight. It’s small, discreet, waterproof and easily clips on pocket, belt or bra. Available at Amazon.com for $59.95.
Whether law enforcement and traffic safety officials like it or not, another of the fast-growing gadget categories is in-vehicle multi-media platforms that allow drivers to make calls, listen to iHeartRadio or check Facebook. Although “connected” cars have been around a few years, devices like Ford Sync and GM’s OnStar have only touched the surface of their potential. As seen at CES, new applications now include Pioneer’s AppRadio car stereo that connects with a smartphone to stream car-compatible mobile apps through the in-car dashboard and audio system. Another app possibility is the ability for auto dealers and service centers to notify of scheduled oil changes, tune-ups, etc. Prices and availability are still pending.
Tune in next month for more cool stuff from CES.
Les Goldberg, APR is an award-winning, experienced journalist and public relations practitioner. His firm, Les Goldberg Public Relations, is one of Southern California’s pioneer public relations agencies specializing in high technology and consumer electronics.
Throughout his career Les has shared his knowledge and experience as a part-time professor for the marketing and business schools at several Southern California universities, including UCI, Chapman University and California State Universities in Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Dominguez Hills.
Today, in addition to his agency and teaching responsibilities, Les is a columnist for senior publications, including his popular “The Gadget Geezer” column which appears in Senior Reporter, Not Born Yesterday, Life After 50, Examiner.com and OCActiveSeniors.com. As a full-time journalist, he was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Glendale News-Press, Culver City Star-News, Stars & Stripes Europe, OC Metro, OC Home & Outdoors and Digital Photographer.
Among the companies that have benefited from Les Goldberg’s brand of public relations include Doctors Telehealth Network, AST Research, Ashton-Tate, US Robotics, Phoenix Technologies, Odetics, MAI/Basic Four, American Home Theater, Inland Technologies; Freedom Innovations, Flex-Foot, Incline SoftWorks, USA Wireless Inc., D-Link Systems, Bell Micro, Seiko Instruments and Etak, Inc., a division of Sony.
Les holds a Certificate in Public Relations from UCLA, bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and accreditation (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America where he served two terms as president of the Orange County chapter and member of the PRSA National Board of Directors. A past winner of the chapter’s Distinguished Service Award, he has been frequently honored for his achievements and contributions to his profession and his community.
Visit Les’ site at www.LesGoldberg.com