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CES 2014 Missing Mission Critical Technology Sector

by Roger Lanctot | Jan 01, 2014

Next week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) in Las Vegas is notable both for what will and what will not be on display. There will be 27 TechZones ( including at least two focusing on automotive technology: Driverless Car Experience and GoElectricDrive. There are also more trendy focal points such as 3D printing, digital health, fashionware, and fitness tech.

What the organizers are missing, though, is the wave of safety and security technology emerging from the nation’s military sector along with the rapid innovation impacting law enforcement and emergency response communities. The most visible contribution coming from the military is the commercial application of drones. Just this past week the Federal Aviation Administration approved six sites for drone testing.

But drones are meaningless in the context of the technological advances that have transformed the modern battlefield leveraging advanced location and wireless technologies, many of which are already propagating through law enforcement and emergency response applications and industries. Moving vehicles and personnel safety through hostile country is a dangerous and expensive proposition and military contractors stand to benefit handsomely from the technologies they have pioneered.

Not only will these technologies not be appropriately highlighted at CES, they will also largely be absent at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the following week.  Instead, both the consumer electronics and automotive industries are spellbound by the machinations of Apple and Google. 

This hyper-focus on the Internet leaders is leaving the automotive industry’s flanks exposed.  Real, mission-critical innovation with commercial application is emerging directly from the military.  Is it too late for the Defense Department to get a booth at CES?  We’ll see next week.

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