MS in Technology Management Class Invades Consumer Electronics Show
By Keith Harrison, MS in Technology Management, Class of 2016
As the first group of students from George Mason to experience the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, we were pretty sure that some faculty/administrators were worried and hoped no one would end up in the news. The good thing is our MS in Technology Management class is full of industry professionals who had a lot of work to do and wanted to ensure we got to experience CES in full.
We kicked off our early January CES experience by attending the Mercedes-Benz keynote address, learning about the car of the future: the self-driving, luxury vehicle will be full of touch screens, sensors, safety features–and have the ability to project a laser crosswalk for pedestrians! More importantly, they actually developed a prototype specifically for CES, and it was a beautiful car in all senses.
Of course, it’s the car of the future, and there are definitely some things that have to be worked out. From a security aspect, the ability to hack into and take control of the car is a big fear. In addition, how can it make “human” decisions in an emergency? Imagine driving down the road and having to make the decision about whether to hit another car carrying passengers or hit an inanimate object. These are the types of decisions that humans make while driving, and many believe we are not there yet to have a fully autonomous car make those decisions for us.
Ford Motor Co. took another approach at CES. Rather than focusing on the car of the future, they talked about the transportation system of the future.
“We see a world where vehicles talk to one another, drivers and vehicles communicate with the city infrastructure to relieve congestion , and people routinely share vehicles or multiple forms of transportation for their daily commute,” said Ford’s CIO Mark Fields.
Ford will be conducting 25 research projects around the globe to help them anticipate what customers will want and need in the future. For example, in Atlanta, an experiment conducted with Georgia Tech will leverage sensors that most Ford vehicles already to help drivers locate open parking spots, reserve them and navigate to the spots.
A highlight of CES was the section of the exhibition floor featuring some of the show’s innovation winners. A favorite of mine were the eye tracking devices like the Eye Tribe (http://theeyetribe.com/), which tracks eye movements on any given screen. It helps determine which content is being seen and how frequently. This technology can be used to help generate meaningful content that will get the attention of the consumer.
I also liked a product that will help those who constantly forget their passwords, EyeLock uses an eye scanner to authenticate a user to websites or applications (http://eyelock.com/index.php/products/myris). No more remembering passwords–simply look into the device, and it will unlock your favorite sites and applications. It provides the end user an added sense of security due to the biometric uniqueness of each individual’s iris.
For the athletes in our group, an interesting wearable product was CityZen Sciences’ shirt, which tracks personal health information via embedded sensors that can be accessed by their team of professional trainers who can provide advice and guidance on training regiments (http://www.cityzensciences.fr/en#).
CES is a labyrinth of exhibits featuring future tech in 3D printers, wearables, audio and video, automotive technologies, apps and much more. We spent quite a bit of time in our teams of four or five that we’ll be working with as we return to the classroom, using that time to look for products that fit into the specific marketplace that we will be analyzing.
I think everyone in the class would agree that the trip was a huge success and gave us the opportunity to experience something outside of the classroom, which I’m sure we will reference many times during the next 15 months of our amazing educational journey.
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