January 24th, 2018

CES – Final Thoughts

Alright, as of this writing CES 2018 is now in the books, over and everyone has gone back to their homes, and home countries. Alan, Diane, and myself, Ron Fraser have walked a total of 127,000 steps over three days, or about 97 kilometers! We did our best to cover that 2.75 million square feet of display space, but still only a fraction is truly possible to cover in any meaningful way.
So what are the big takeaways, how will this show affect us all going forward? I have a few observations to share on that.

1.Get used to saying “Hi Google” and “Alexa”…a lot. Just about everything that runs on gas, electricity, or batteries will also be driven by voice commands from now on. It is HERE.

2. Flying cars are real. Remember the Jetsons? Well, the Volocoptor is an autonomous flying drone that can take you quickly and safely from point A to point B. Roads are congested? Doesn’t matter.

3. Everything internet connected will talk to everything else you own that is plugged in, or on WiFi. If it doesn’t now, it will, and very soon. As you are driving home, the heat or AC will come on in your home, lights come on as needed, and maybe the oven starts to preheat to prepare to cook the meal that the refrigerator suggested based on the contents in your fridge. Really. I’ve seen that too.

4. Self driving cars as a concept are already real, and driving on their own in several cities the USA today. The new wrinkle there is that these self driving vehicles will also be mobile retail stores, medical clinics, pizza delivery, and anything else that needs goods, or services to be mobile. (Pizza hut has already signed on with Toyota for their autonomous delivery vehicle to start delivery of their food when their “E-Pallette” vehicle is on the roads.

5. A.I. or Artificial Intelligence is being deployed is as many products as possible. Cars will learn how you drive and adjust power output for your habits, homes that heat and cool based on your patterns, music selection that learns what you like and dislike to be more relevant. Electronics that can update themselves when needed, making an item last longer without having to buy a new one.

6. Robots will be everywhere. Most of them, will perform simple tasks like answering questions, giving directions, carrying everyday items, groceries and such to and from your car or home. Some will be companions (like pets, or even partners) Security and such are already compelling uses.

Each year seems to bring us new refinements and more cooperation between product manufacturers to try to convince the consumer into trying their products. If it makes my life easier, simpler, and better, I’m in support of these changes. Let’s see what the next year will bring!

Ron



January 16th, 2018

CES 2018, Friday January 12th

Today was the day we tried to see as many last minute booths and items as we could. We walked another 25, 000 steps and still just scratched the surface.

Relief band was first. An item to put on your wrist like a wristwatch, and it stimulates a nerve in your wrist to prevent, and even negate any nausea you may have for any reason. It was originally used for chemotherapy patients, but it also works for anyone feeling nauseous. A great, drug free solution for everyone.

Las Vegas is a photographer’s dream. So many great spots to practice your art. The Eiffel Tower at Paris was my moment to be inspired today.

Want to learn to play the piano, but think it’s too late? Well, think again. “The One Piano” comes in three different models, and can really help you by prompting you for which keys to play and you follow along. I tried it…..it works! Mr. Stevie Wonder even stopped by Wednesday, and bought one for his daughter!

The ride sharing company “Lyft” was offering free autonomous car rides today at the show. Alan Perry got to take one, and said it was smooth, fast and precise with the driver never touching the wheel once on a predetermined route. Here we go……

So, you have a top line recreation vehicle, with all the best amenities and you are showing it off at CES. What could be better than that? Wait…I know……let’s put a helicopter on top of it! Everything is possible.



January 12th, 2018

News From CES 2018, Thursday, January 11th

We started a bit earlier on our trek to CES today, and beat many thousands of people that come to the show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Alan, Diane and myself did our best to cover more of this massive venue again today.

We found a few unique items today at the show we though would be interesting!

The “Rocking Bed”. This bed uses a special frame and it makes a side to side motion while you fall asleep! For anyone that misses the ocean feeling, or anyone that just wants a way to fall asleep that has been proven effective, this is for you. Captain’s hat optional…

A solid state smartphone or device battery.
There is a potential problem with todays batteries in our devices. If they are bent or damaged, they can explode and or catch fire.
This manufacturer (Prologium) makes a battery for other product manufacturers that is bendable, and can be cut, drilled through or otherwise damaged and not only does it not catch fire or explode…it actually will keep right on working. We saw it with our own eyes. I think you will see many devices go this way in the near future.

Last, but definitely not least, Intel put on a very special show using 250 of it’s famous “Shooting Star Mini Drones” in the sky tonight at 8 PM over The Bellagio Hotel and in combination with the famous fountains there. It was about 5 incredible minutes and an LED lighting ballet in the sky, with musical accompaniment of the song “Stargazing” . The area was packed, and the crowd was cheering wildly at the finale. As we slowly made out way out of the area, I heard someone say “you know…i think these will replace fireworks one day..” I think they were right.
Check out this link to judge for yourself



January 10th, 2018

CES 2018 – Day Two

Day Two with Ron Fraser – Ford Surprises Everyone

So, you may ask…how does a simple car company affect my life, and what has it got to do with cutting-edge technology, and more specifically, the CES?

As it turns out, plenty.

Today was our first full day at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Alan, Diane and myself set our plan for the day, we were up at 5:30 am and out the door to attend a keynote address at the Palazzo hotel. One of the major events of the week certainly, when the CEO of The Ford Motor Company (Mr. Jim Hackett) gives a presentation on behalf of one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable companies on the planet.

The room was packed, there were around 4,000 people in the Palazzo Ballroom without a doubt. None of this was a surprise. What was a surprise, was that there were no flashy cars, no new product announcements, and no new technologies presented which seems to be a presentation standard amongst car companies today. What we did see and hear for the next hour was the very relaxed, and sincere head of one of the largest corporations in the World talk philosophically about what really would have to happen to our cities to be part of the New Connected World, specifically with autonomous vehicles. And while Ford wants to be an important part in that (it is good business) you really got the feeling that Mr. Hackett really wanted to get this right, for the benefit of everyone involved. He presented several of his expert employees who spoke just as passionately about how cities would have to be integrated with EVERYTHING that moves in the core, and everyone,  regardless of their particular mode of transportation. They showed city concept films that had autonomous cars, delivery vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians all sharing the same intelligently modified space.

Ford knows that the life of their 115 year old company is not guaranteed, and those disruptive technologies need to be embraced by all the stakeholders involved. A car that can monitor it’s driver, and summon help in an emergency, with no human intervention is coming very soon. The same system will change traffic control, and autonomous vehicles will clear a path for emergency responders.   He knows, and believes very passionately, that this integration into the urban landscape is critical for it’s success. He also knows there will be some trade offs of privacy to allow this type of system to operate and that the more we talk about these ethical questions today, the better chance we have of getting it right, and sooner than later.

It was fascinating, exciting and a bit disquieting all at the same time. That accurately describes the World of technology we see all around us today, and knowledge and asking these questions really seems to be the best way forward to make this system be the best system for all of us.

Mr. Henry Ford changed the World 115 years ago with the first mass production automobile, and what is happening today sure feels as if the car is once again poised to change the World in a very significant way.

Thanks for listening, I’ll return tomorrow with many of the great things we saw today at the CES show here in Las Vegas!

Ron



January 10th, 2018

CES 2018 – Day One

Day One with Ron Fraser

It’s after 11 pm here in Las Vegas and today was a very busy first day! As a Co-host of TechTalk on CFAX radio here in Victoria, I am attending the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas as a reporter. I always have my London Drugs hat on too though, as we always find great products that hopefully we can put into our stores to help our customers get the things that help make their lives easier, better, and of course, more fun!

Today though, was all about the press conferences to get a sneak peek at the amazing new technology that is coming soon to all of us.

LG Electronics was first, and they are talking about all of the products, and I mean ALL 100% of them being connected and communicating at all times. That is certainly a theme that was repeated a few times today. Everything wants to talk to everything else, to help make your electronics work for you better. Robots are again being used to great effect to help check you in at the airport, and then to carry your bags and even take payment from you. We were reminded that there is still some fine-tuning to be done, not every robot wanted to talk as it turned out!

Samsung was next…..Showing off a new ultra-high resolution TV using “microLED” technology, and the TV was called “The Wall””.They are huge. The one we saw measured 149 inches! No end in sight for size growth.

Toyota, and Hyundai were very excited about their new car offerings. One thing is certain, Google and Alexa voice assistants are very firmly embedded with the car manufacturers now, and even more in the future as they may end up becoming the hub in your home to perform so many functions.

The evening ended with a mind blowing presentation by Intel that was, as always, both amazing and nearly impossible to describe adequately. Suffice to say they are very involved in music, sports, entertainment, business applications, and connectivity between everything you can imagine…..and a few…you really cannot! Let’s just say, the cartoon “The Jetsons” and the flying cars they had…..are here, now in a form 🙂

Much more tomorrow!



January 10th, 2017

CES 2017, Day Two

It’s day two of press conferences here at Ces2017. It’s been a heckuva day with Samsung, LG, Intel, Toyota and other presenters. The three of us can only fit so much in a day and cover so much but I think we did well.

So… amazingly beautiful huge televisions, appliances that talk to you and recognize you, and extremely good virtual reality goggles, and automated cars really fueled the day.

I think one of the partnerships that really opened my eyes today was that between Nvidia and Audi. Who would’ve thought all those years ago when Nvidia was formed in 1994 that they would be making the computers that will run the autonomous cars of the future? But video cards have to perform thousands or hundreds of thousands of functions in a very short period of time so they are experts at handling large amounts of data and responding very quickly when needed. In a way, it’s a natural combination of skill sets and manufacturing expertise.

I was privileged to be in a group of only 260 reporters that got to sit in on an Intel virtual reality demonstration that had never been done before. We went flying in squirrel flying suits, then sat on the side court at a live basketball game and watched it in virtual reality, totally feeling like we were right there, and then we were in a video game called “Arizona sunshine” in a very scary and precarious predicament.

We also had a unique demonstration that had never been attempted before on this scale.  All 260 of us could just stand or sit and watch a river flow by us, see animals and farmers in the distance and be able to look all around you like you were transported there magically. This was all real film not created artificial reality. It was like being in the middle of it in real life, not like watching a film, it was almost indescribable. The amount of data required? It takes 3 TB per frame of film to create this illusion. At 60 frames per second that means 180 TB of data per minute are required to create this illusion of being in the middle of a real film.

To top it all off we had another demonstration wearing our VR goggles that had us flying over a 250 acre solar power farm in India in real time…. it was actually happening as we were seeing it and we acted as inspectors for the solar panels. The applications for business are obvious and huge cost savings can be realized.  Very dangerous situations like search and rescue can absolutely benefit from this technology.

Tomorrow we will be taking a closer look at some of the autonomous vehicles.

Talk to you soon!

 

Ron Fraser
London Drugs Yates Street
Computer Manager
Victoria, BC

 

CFAX Tech Talk airs each Saturday on CFAX 1070 radio in Victoria from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.



January 5th, 2017

CES 2017, Day One

As a computer manager at London Drugs I’ve always been fortunate to get a glimpse of new technology coming out. But there is no other experience for looking into the future of tech than the annual Consumer Electronics Show, or CES as you’ve most likely heard it referenced to.

Through my guest hosting on Victoria’s CFAX 1070 radio Tech Talk program I’ve been able to attend CES and report back what new tech gadgets and gear are coming to market. I’ve gotten to see some amazing products and many amazing innovations in technology, as well as products that have thankfully never come to fruition.

I want to start by giving you an idea of the scope of the show, the largest of its kind in the world, held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • There is 3,250,000 ft.² of dedicated display place for the show.
  • The show routinely attracts about 175,000 attendees.
  • There are almost 17,000 presidents, CEOs, and business owners here for the show including a team from London Drugs.
  • There are 6,000 members of the media here covering the show, that’s 1,000 more than covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio this past summer.
  • The show runs for four days, January 5th through the 8th.

For me, the two days before, January 3rd and 4th, are spent with CFAX radio interviewing vendors and looking at some of the innovations and previews we are invited to see ahead of the show for everyone else.

Over the next few days I will be sharing some very exciting and unique products from CES. Some may even change your life for the better in some way.

Talk to you soon!

 

Ron Fraser
London Drugs Yates Street
Computer Manager
Victoria, BC

 

CFAX Tech Talk airs each Saturday on CFAX 1070 radio in Victoria from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.



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