Apple didn’t have to be at CES to own the place, as every other person in attendance seemed to discussing the so-called, and much-anticipated Apple “Tablet.” Beyond that constant chatter and rumor mill there was also the ridiculous excitement surrounding the 3D Televisions. Eric Bee over at Denuo summed up whether there is a “need” for 3D TV quite nicely:
The state of modern technology can be summed up by the TV in my hotel room. It was a 50″ flatscreen LCD, mounted beautifully into a wooden console, but displaying a blocky, stretched standard definition signal. Despite the investment made into purchasing these top-tier TVs, the hotel wasn’t using them to their full, high-definition potential. At CES, one could walk through miles of glistening technology, showcasing 3D images, immersive soundscapes, and internet-enabled everything, but to what purpose? Are consumers so over HDTV that they need a third-dimension? Is the world ready for an internet-enabled alarm clock? If the SD broadcast of ESPN greeting me every morning was any indication, the answer might be no.
Obviously we’ll see soon enough how the “Tablet” and 3D TVs pan out. Meanwhile, the Green Energy, Smart Power Meter and portable electrons folks had a large spread of products and gadgets in the North Hall at the convention center. Twice has an article on a CES eco tour provided by some of those green companies.
Ampergen, a medium-sized player in the renewables and recharging portable battery business, had a large and varied spread of products, and it seemed each and every booth had many solar-powered devices and portable battery chargers. The companies that created the most buzz were the Energy Management or Smart Meter product companies such as the Best In Show finalist, Control4 and its Energy Management System 100.
The Smart Grid and Smart Meter trend is, pardon the pun, beginning to buzz like a ‘fridge… It’s no surprise that here in the Northwest, in the environmentally-friendly city of Portland, business people are beginning to huddle in local corporate offices to discuss this green trend and its implications for changing people’s behavior when it comes to energy use. Portland’s Mayor Sam Adams is heading to Washington, DC to push an energy-efficiency program that is intended to save energy while creating jobs. The Portland Tribune reports that “Clean Energy Works Portland is in a 500-home pilot phase. It was started last year with $1.1 million in federal stimulus funds. Participating partners include PGE, Pacific Power, Northwest Natural and the Energy Trust.”
The big guys are getting involved too. The Google PowerMeter is a project of Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm. Microsoft has its Hohm Energy Management Tool and now CNet reports that Apple is jumping into energy tracking with a couple of new patents.
As all these players start bringing the products and software applications to market it’s worth asking, what are the implications, and what does a large energy utility look like in the future, as people begin to have more direct control over their energy use?