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CE/IT crossover

CES show provided many examples of the CE/IT product blurrn



The line between consumer electronics and information technology has been blurring for several years, but according to some attendees at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it has been crossed.

Dave Walsh, vice-president of sales and marketing for Ingram Micro Canada in Mississauga,

Ont., who attended the show, said the convergence of IT and CE is similar to the way IT and telecom came together.

“”It’s a crossover,”” he said. “”I would suggest that five years ago CE was a home theatre, and it has gone beyond that now. It is about capturing digital media, consuming it and distributing it. That is a crossover in terms of the consumption, enjoyment and distribution to remote sites.””

Doug Cooper, general manager of Intel Canada, believes that this year’s CES show delivered on the promise of an aligned CE/IT.

“”(This year’s CES show) got beyond the device that is connected to the TV. It is now about handhelds with personal media players or with cell phones. They are all on the bandwagon and it means a huge opportunity for resellers,”” Cooper said.

One example of a product that blurred convergence and has now crossed over is the Seagate USB 2.0 Pocket Hard Drive, which won the CES award for innovation. According to Seagate, the drive is a first-of-its-kind product that can house music along with data for PCs and servers. In the past, this 5GB device would have been viewed as an external hard drive that sits alongside a PC. This Seagate drive, however, is small enough to sit in the palm of a hand or fit in a shirt pocket.

Walsh said, in context of the CE/IT crossover, that most resellers have not yet grasped the opportunity these new technologies present for both the professional AV VAR and the IT VAR.

The growing popularity of the networked/digital home going to IP would present a huge number of opportunities for resellers, added Cooper.

Walsh said a fully networked digital home could conservatively run an individual anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000. “”You are selling new technology to early adopters,”” he said.

CES scaled down its attendence for 2005 from 132,000 to 120,000 to maintain the show business-to-business focus, according to show organizers.