The Consumer Electronics Show is not only about consumer gadgets, as enterprise vendors such as Dell and Intel tend to announce major new technology advancements as well. CES 2013 was no different. Here are the top business tech announcements from Las Vegas.
The Sysomos data analytics tool could be a boon for companies trying to understand their social networking engagement and track a brand worldwide. The tool analyzes two years of data and billions of online posts to determine who is influencing a brand and whether there is positive or negative sentiment. For example, Ford Motor Company could use the tool to find out whether social network posts are favorable to a new model, or American Express could track who is influencing opinions. Detailed charts let users compare an enterprise brand against a competitor and see trends over time.
Intel Personify Chat
There's a radical new enterprise-grade chat system that will debut this year, and Intel provided a sneak-peek at how it will work at CES 2013. Video overlays of meeting attendees (or whatever you are sharing on your screen) appear over the Web.
The idea is to include the "talking head" of attendees on top of the subject at hand to combine video interaction and collaboration. This promotes better engagement between those in the meeting, as they are always up on the screen.
Dell Project Ophelia
This thumb drive computer from Dell is packed with enterprise features. Employees can plug the device, which is about the size of your finger, into any computer or monitor with a USB port. The Android-powered OS allows employees to access the Web from any device—but, more importantly, the thumb drive provides secure VPN access over Wi-Fi. Admins can manage the thumb drive using the Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager.
Commentary: Dell Unveils True Enterprise Pocket PC at CES
This popular videoconference and virtual desktop Web application lets employees connect quickly in a multi-session chat. When one person speaks, the app automatically highlights that speaker. At CES, the company announced new iPhone and iPad apps, with more mobile offerings in the works. In the next few weeks, iMeet will announce a partnership with Plantronics that lets users press a button on a Plantronics headset to start an iMeet call.
Verizon Business Share Everything Plan
Verizon announced a new Share Everything data plan intended for companies with 25 lines and a second plan called Nationwide for Business. What's notable about the new shared data business plans is that you can now choose one all-company plan, for about $225 per month, to share 30GB of data between employees. That flexibility means you can combat the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, which might violate company policies, and mix and match devices according to group needs.
Invensas demonstrated new RAM technology called xFD, also called dual in-line memory module (DIMM)-in-a-package. This new design is 80 percent smaller than the Small-Outline-DIMM modules it intends to replace and should usher in an era of ultra-slim notebooks. For businesses, the slimmer design means more portability for those who rely on an ultrabook as their primary work PC. The compact size also means more room for other components and a bigger battery.
If it's good enough for the Internal Revenue Service then, it will probably work for your business. At CES, DocuSign—a company that makes electronic signature technology—announced that the IRS would now accept its signature tech on documents. The system is flexible: You can upload a scanned signature, sign with your mouse, or pick from an existing signature only you know. To sign, you click a button embedded into the document.
John Brandon is a former IT manager at a Fortune 100 company who now writes about technology. He has written more than 2,500 articles in the past 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @jmbrandonbb. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, on Facebook, and on Google +.