CES 2014: Three Big Things

 CES is one of those rare times when we get to glimpse into the crystal ball of future technology and start dreaming about all the cool things we’ll be able to do in the office of the future. From tablets that can withstand a fall from a great height to the future of virtual reality and technology we’ll implant under our skin, here’s our look at three big things that have come out of CES 2014.

The Pocket Office Gets Tough

Panasonic’s Toughpad FZ-M1 is a 7” tablet that does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s designed for on-the-go businesspeople who need a robust work tablet (it runs Windows 8.1 Pro) and a robust piece of hardware (it’s designed to withstand a drop from 5’ or an accidental dunk in a puddle). Panasonic’s Product Development Manager Dan Diliberti told media outlet TechRadar that businesses are their target customer, not consumers. The first models will go on sale in February.

Closing the Rift

Oculus Rift has gone from Kickstarter darling to real product, with the next iteration playable at CES and expected to become commercially available later this year. Although primarily designed as a gaming device, it will only be a matter of time before the community will open up the Oculus Rift to additional uses. Imagine giving a sales presentation where your client could put on an Oculus Rift and take a virtual reality tour of a product or facility. What was science fiction in the early 1990s is now commercial fact.

Intel Inside

Intel dropped two pieces of interesting news at CES. First, its chips will be free of conflict minerals, according to a talk made by CEO Brian Krzanich. The move to responsible manufacturing is a welcome one for the tech industry. Additionally, Intel’s head of perceptual computing, Mooly Eden, noted that implantable technology is an inevitability. As a proof point, Eden suggested the ability to unlock your car with a tiny chip embedded in your thumb. From truly secure data storage to an ID card you can never lose, the business implications could be huge.

A Look Back

Other big features of CES include bendy TVs and 60 megapixel cameras. What’s going to catch on and what isn’t? For a look back at CES’ past, Paleofuture has an excellent roundup of some previous years’ announcements. Marvel at the cell phone that weighs the same as the hamburger. See Bill Gates’ smartwatch—from 2003. Or Atari’s (never-released) video game that read the player’s mind.

What’s Your Favorite?

Did you spot a game changer for your business at this year’s CES? Is it a rugged pocket office, or a sales presentation that takes your customers inside the product—or something totally different? Let us know in the comments how these inventions could change how you do business.