Looking Back on CES 2017: A Half-Century of Innovation

Looking Back on CES 2017: A Half-Century of Innovation 864 486 N2K

Looking Back on CES 2017: A Half-Century of Innovation

For the past 50 years, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been a veritable Mecca of technological innovation. CES 2017 was held on January 5-8, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada – and it delivered all the robots, self-driving vehicles, and super-thin screens consumers have come to expect from the biggest tech trade show in the world – estimated at 160,000+ attendees this year.

Businesses and investors alike know that capturing the attention of CES attendees is no simple feat. It’s a futuristic wonderland of chrome and LED lights. It’s the only place where you can find a fully-realized “Smart Home,” powered by Amazon’s Alexa. It’s got laptops that convert into tablets, laptops that weigh 20 pounds, laptops with three fold-out screens. All this and more! Coming soon to a tech retailer near you!
After a tumultuous year of high profile data breaches and DDoS attacks, though, few gadgets focused on putting the “security” in “cybersecurity.” By and large, the matter of protecting the latest-and-greatest in technology remained at the periphery of the event. As the public becomes more aware of the security and privacy trade-offs inherent in adopting innovative tech, however, there’s reason to believe that the “next big thing” will need to do more than just grab the public’s attention.

The CyberSecurity Forum at CES, Presented by N2K

That’s one of the reasons why N2K hosted the second-ever CyberSecurity Forum at CES: to create a platform where serious conversations about cybersecurity could take center stage. The day long event was held on January 5th, and it aimed to address the critical threats arising from the growing number of connected devices coming to market. While leading technology manufacturers have an incentive to deliver the newest, fastest, and most connected devices, targeting only those attributes may lead to a lackluster product performance. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with privacy and security vulnerabilities associated with front-page innovations like autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things. Organizations that fail to address privacy and security issues in their offerings are likely to suffer in the long-term.
Throughout the series of panels and discussions with an elite line up of security experts and visionaries, it was easy to spot a common theme: security shouldn’t be “bolted-on” as an afterthought, but should be considered at the outset of product development.
Suzanne Spaulding, Undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security summed it up well, “at the end of the day, the goal is to allow us to take full benefit of a connected world and we can’t do that without security from the get-go.”
The day closed with a session entitled Cybersecurity Starts at the Top. This conversation highlighted the need for board and executive cybersecurity education at the highest levels in companies so leaders can develop cybersecurity within the organizational culture. Cybersecurity education is critical for all businesses and at all levels.
Arun Perinkolam, a principal at Deloitte, shared at the Cybersecurity Forum, “Organizations that are getting cybersecurity right are companies weaving security into their innovation fabric.”

A Brave New World

When browsing the booths at CES, you might feel like you’ve stepped into the future. Make no mistake, though: it’s a reality that technology visionaries have been warning of for years.
In 2011, at the Chaos Communications Conference in Berlin, Germany, technologist and writer Cory Doctorow discussed the Internet of Things (IoT) before it had a catchy name. His summary of the security problems surrounding smart devices remains relevant, while satisfying answers still seem far off.
Doctorow said: “I have made peace with the fact that I will require a hearing aid long before I die. And, of course, it won’t be a hearing aid – it will be a computer that I put into my body. So, when I get into my car – a computer I put my body into – with my hearing aid – a computer I put into my body – I want to know that these technologies… do not work against my interests.”
If consumers want to enjoy the conveniences and businesses want to enjoy the revenue brought on by “smart hairbrushes,” then there’s more work to be done first. Organizational leaders and consumers alike must be looking to find solutions to tomorrow’s security problems today.