LAS VEGAS — There are 1,000 more media people here than covered the last Olympics, according to Consumer Technology Association Chief Analyst Shawn Dubravac. And most nod nonchalantly when he says things like "increasingly intelligent systems connecting diverse objects."
Translation: Little things that we would rather not do and happily let a device handle. "Connections and computations," he calls it, asking "When's the last time you changed the temp in you fridge?" Techy new LG refrigerators on display here monitor temperature-and-humidity – inside-and-outside – constantly adjusting, as needed "so your ice cream is always the consistency you want it."
Fewer devices have controls, or look like smartphones or TVs.
Artificial Intelligence + voice recognition are ushering-in what Dubrovac calls "an era of faceless computing."
Are you living with Alexa? Amazon's digital concierge – and the new Google Home – have already sold 5 million units to-date, and are projected to sell another 5 million this year.
My Amazon Tap plays every song I ever bought on Amazon. Do you do iHeart? She'll play all of that too. She knew the answer when I asked "How many dogs are there in the USA?" and "Who is the governor of Rhode Island?" Want a stock quote? Weather, for anywhere? If it's a published fact, she'll likely recite it. She'll read you a newscast; like music, another radio staple available without an AM/FM receiver…on the device that doubles as a radio.
The consultant's best friend.
Memo to IRS: Look for Alexa's receipt attached to my next tax return. When I say "Play WXDE on TuneIn," she says "Delaware One Hundred Five Point Nine, on Tune-In," then plays the stream. Curious, I tried "Play The Susan Monday Show," and that request also served-up the same client station, because I asked while Susan was on-air.
My favorite station isn't a client; and when I say "Play WDRV," she introduces the stream for "NINETY SEVEN POINT ONE, THE DRIVE" in Chicago. If I want to drift-off to classic rock at bed time, I'll then say "stop playing in 30 minutes." And I'll tell her when, and how, to awaken me.
Ask her "Tell me a joke." She won't embarrass you in front of the kids.
If you're just tuning-in, I'm archiving the daily CES TALKERS columns I'm filing all this week, and daily radio reports that are airing on 1,000+ stations, at www.HollandCooke.com
Holland Cooke is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet, and he covers industry conferences for Talkers. Look for his Talkers TV video "Listeners Expect to be Heard" this week at Talkers.com