CES 2021 Official Photo. www.ces.tech
The International CES (Consumer Electronic Show) kicks off each New Year by showcasing the latest gadgets and technology trends projected for the coming year. While COVID forced the program to be 100% digital, it still provided a flood of product announcements delivered via a myriad of press briefings, expert panel discussions, and world-class keynote presentations.
While many of these announcements were targeted to the consumer, home, and automotive marketplaces we perused the presentations and identified products and solutions that could one day find their way into today’s accounting practice.
DELL Video Conferencing Optimization: With so many people working remotely and collaborating onscreen Dell optimized their Latitude 9420 laptop to include a 3D speakerphone, and four noise cancelling microphones and speakers. For those concerned about privacy they also included SafeShutter technology that automatically closes the camera lens when the user is not actively on a call. This video conferencing optimization was also applied to Dell’s 34” curved display which is the first product certified to work with Microsoft Teams. It integrates a 5-megapixel camera, dual integrated speakers and a noise cancelling microphone as well as Windows Hello facial recognition and Cortana voice commands.
Lenovo ThinkReality A3 Virtual Smart Glasses: Speaking of display technology, Lenovo’s smart glasses project images on the lenses similar to the “heads up” display found in many cars. The wearer can see up to five different documents/application screens pulled from their laptop at an a 1080p resolution. Think of it as a personal “Minority Report” that you can bring home, to a client’s office, (or to a coffee shop once this pandemic is under control).
ASUS Duos: How about two screens built into one? Last year ASUS announced their ZenBook Duo which pushes the keyboard to the bottom half of the laptop chassis and uses the area above it to insert a thinner landscape “Screen Pad” display. This laptop is available now in either a 14” or 15” model; or you can just carry one of ASUS’ portable monitors with your existing laptop. Their latest iteration is the ZenScreen GO MB16AP which is a 15.6”, which is USB-C or A compatible and includes a built-in battery with a four-hour battery life!
Targus Anti-Microbial: Concerned about germs on your keyboard of smartphone? Targus’ UV-C LED disinfection light has built in motion sensors to detect if you are working and when you are away for five minutes it automatically turns on (and repeats every hour) to help eliminate pesky microorganisms. And for those accountants that must travel to/from the office or be out on the road and concerned about microbes, the Targus 2 Anti-microbial Backpack is built with an antimicrobial coating on all key touchpoints to help keep you safe.
Face Mask Tech? Even the unobtrusive face mask received the CES treatment the year with vendors integrating a variety of technologies including wearable air purifiers (LG PuriCare and Seguro Airsafe), ear buds with sound control (MaskFone), and air quality sensors (AirPop Smart Mask). Heck, there was even a prototype “gaming” mask with a clear mouth cover and in-mask LED lighting so you can see the gamer’s mouth move in dark environments, voice-clarifying microphones to reduce facemask “mumble,” and even a recharging station that integrates UV disinfection lights. (Razr Project Hazel).
Rollable Display Technology: While folding phones and folding computers were the most touted concept devices at last year’s CES, the most interesting screen innovations we saw at this year’s show were the flexible AMOLED displays that roll into the devices as demoed in the LG Rollable and TCL smartphones including a 17” screen they had prototyped and can be tucked into a coat pocket.
Mojo Vision Lens: Finally, our vote for the “coolest but most bleeding edge” product” was Mojo’s Vision contact lens which is an augmented reality smart contact lens. This device projects information such as images to provide directions, videos for training, and smartphone texts (and possibly the names of people you can’t recall)!
The pivots that everyone has made during this pandemic have been remarkable, elevating existing technologies for remote/virtual work, as well as pushing innovation across the gamut of consumer electronics.
A regular contributor for CPA Practice Advisor for more than 15 years, Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA.CITP and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is Director of Firm Technology Strategy for Right Networks and works exclusively with accounting firms to optimize the internal production workflows within their tax, audit, administrative, and client accounting and advisory services areas.