CES 2014 Wrap-Up

Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 11:25
3D prints made out of paper

What did I learn at CES 2014 this year that might affect libraries? I learned that the 3D printing space is still exploding with options, that 4K video is probably just a year or so from widespread adoption, and that the ‘internet of things’ and wearable tech are still fairly young technologies that have a long way to go before they merit serious consideration.

I also learned that it’s still a surprise for members of the electronics industry and press that libraries would be interested in this show. Every time I was asked who I was writing for, the person asking had the exact same reaction. First, they would say “Oh, I love libraries! I go to my local library all the time.” Then they would stop, hesitate, and say, “So, why are you covering CES for libraries?” While the overall reaction is always positive, it’s clear that the industry still doesn’t see libraries as a partner or market, which is a problem for us. Individual companies certainly do, and there are awesome things being done by libraries all over the country in concert with great companies, but getting the electronics industry to realize that libraries are a market worth building for would go a long way in getting better tech for our patrons.

Every year that I attend CES, I wonder whether I’ll go back next year. It’s always full of information, but every year it’s harder to ignore the crapgadgets and vaporware. But occasionally I find something that’s just fascinating, and inventive, and that changes the way I consider gadgets and information delivery. That occasional surprise is worth the rest of it. Of course, I’ll go back next year. And I hope that libraries and librarians are still interested in seeing what I can bring back. 

JASON GRIFFEY is head of library information technology at University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Read his blog, Pattern Recognition, at jasongriffey.net/wp. Follow him on Twitter: @griffey.