by Curt Finch

CES: Coming to a Department Near You!

Jan 19, 20124 mins
CIOConsumer ElectronicsiPhone

I’m bummed that I didn’t get to attend CES this year but that definitely didn’t stop me from staying up to speed on all of the announcements coming from the show.  CES always makes a big splash at the beginning of the year.  And why not?  CES provides an inside look into what the tech industry is cooking up for the coming year.  Maybe you love CES because of the futuristic technology or perhaps you scoff at CES because it’s full of celebrities like Justin Bieber showing off entertainment robots.  Whatever your opinion, CES gives us some great clues about what new consumer technology we’ll see in the coming year.

Changing Mobility

Though the iPhone has had a huge impact on the market, the Android is still in the lead, though that lead is getting smaller since the iPhone 4S came along.  But the Android platform is consistently a target for malware attacks.  If Androids are becoming more prevalent in your company, these attacks are something you should be aware of.  “Android devices will play a big role in the corporate environment this year,” according to SAP CIO Oliver Bussman who presented at CES on a panel called “The Consumerization of IT: How Consumer Innovation is Influencing Business.” “It’s better to accept Android and take the necessary steps to secure them,” said Bussman.  The best way to combat this surge in attacks is to equip devices with anti-malware and security features. 

Also at CES, VMware demonstrated how it can run a separate instance of Android on a virtual machine that is hosted by an Android-based smartphone.  This allows the host version of Android that’s running on the smartphone to have all the personal life content, such as social media apps, personal email and phone contacts.  The version of Android running in a VMware virtual machine can hold all the productivity and work apps along with work emails and contacts, and they’re fully encrypted.  This allows a smartphone user to separate their personal content from their work content on one machine. 

So what is the benefit of this separation?  It gives the IT department more control of company-provided or -supported smartphones while letting users keep their personal content.  If someone leaves a company, the IT department just needs to wipe the VMware content, not the entire smartphone.  This is a huge relief for smartphone owners.  Another benefit is if the user loses the smartphone.  The IT department can keep a backup of the VMware content and download it on a new smartphone.  The only drawback to this technology is that it’s not iOS compatible yet.

Tablets and Ultrabooks

A ton of new tablets were presented at CES this year which is no surprise because of the success of the iPad.  Though there were a lot of innovative ideas on tablet design at the show, no real competitors to the iPad stood out.  Therefore, expect iPads to continue to infiltrate your workplace.  If your IT department is considering standardizing on iPads, it’s not a bad way to go, even with the new tablets coming to market.

CES 2012 was also the year of Ultrabooks.  The Ultrabooks presented at CES had many features, such as thin size, the use of glass surfaces and even touch- screens.  Though tablets are on the rise, Ultrabooks are the industry’s way of saying that laptops are not going away anytime soon.  It’s great to see the tablet market pushing the innovation of the laptop market with these creative Ultrabooks.

What was your favorite new gadget from CES?