The end of last week was the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which attracts more than 120,000 people from all parts of the technology industry together to Las Vegas to share their latest innovations and visions for the future. NBC was reporting live from the tradeshow floor, all the big tech publications were there and anyone who works in the technology industry spent the weekend either talking about all the things they were doing, or wishing they were in Vegas to be part of it.

The hype this year was definitely around the promise of 3-D TV technology, with ebooks following as a close second. But what about if you are not in the technology industry at all? Can a show like CES still offer some lessons worth paying attention to about the future of business as a whole? That was one of the questions I entered the show wondering, and this post is based on what I learned. The short story is, CES is much more than a technology show about gadgets and gizmos. It is a lens on the year to come in business as a whole, and from its annual spot in the first week of January – it comes at a time when the business world is hungry for lessons in the new year. Here are 5 that stood out for me:

1. Fostering Content Creation: At the Sony booth, there was a tower with an open platform that bloggers could do interviews on (coinciding with the launch of their aptly titled new video camera, the Bloggie). Intel had an Upload Lounge with a live DJ and free wireless.* At the NBC booth, they once again did their blogger lounge are with chairs, lap cooling fans and a live plasma screen above each chair with a blogger's name and affiliation. Lenovo, too, recreated their extended Blogger Lounge at the Aquaknox restaurant in The Venetian hotel. What these companies were already figuring out is that if they can create a venue for content creation, they can likely encourage creators to share more branded content about them and their efforts.


2. The Necessity Of Accessories: There was a time when an "accessory" was considered insignificant. It was the chain that went on your glasses or the keychain you used to keep your keys together. With the number of gadgets and technology that we all carry around, one interesting lesson to be learned from CES was just how important these accessories are becoming – and they can be almost anything. From jeweled covers for earphone buds to anti-surge TV power adaptors we now live in a world where the "accessory" could cost more than the item it is meant to accessorize. The iMac, in its day was little more than an overprized accessory for your first iPod. In 2010, accessories are no longer optional. This trend is only going to increase – with innovative products like the FlipCam and Kindle giving rise to a range of secondary markets making all kinds of accessories to complete your experience.


3. Facilitated Sharing: There is a lot of talk in the business world about the promise of "augmented reality" – the idea that you can enhance your day to day life with rich interactive content and information that adds more context to your real life experience. Whether or not you see promise in this concept, one of the founding principles that makes it work is the idea of  facilitated sharing or making it easy for people to share content and opinions with one another. Copia was one such tool, allowing people to read ebooks with one another and share notes. As the year goes on, I suspect we will see much more of this.


See the rest of my images from CES on Flickr here …