The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) you didn’t hear about

If you’ve read about CES, you’ve read about tablets. You’ve probably also read about 3D TV and electric cars. But what seems to be missing from the coverage is the cool stuff that you had to dig to find, because not every booth had it.

Energy efficiency from Philips and GE

Philips demonstrated equipment that will power your home more efficiently, like a power converter that used dissipated heat to replace your hot water heater. They also talked about an air conditioner that could run at different levels to keep your home from going through big spikes of cooling. This keeps you comfortable and reduces energy consumption by smoothing the way you consume energy.

An analogy would be driving your car with lots of rapid acceleration, which uses more gas than maintaining a single speed.

GE showed off a trio of smart meters, appliances and a gateway that used ZigBee to consolidate and display appliance energy usage in a slick application. The booth attendee promised that APIs would be released soon, which means developers can start making your favorite devices utilize all of this new data. When combined with home automation (also booming at the show) the future looks bright for the smart home that so many have been waiting for over the past decade.

Connected ski goggles

As an avid skier and snowboarder, I could help but drool over Recon Instrument’s snow goggles. Recon integrated a small display and GPS into the goggles which could show speed, number of runs, jump height and more. The kicker was the ability to connect on the slope and see not only your position on the mountain but the location of your recon enabled friends as well.Recon says they are exploring an app store, so the possibilities are endless. I have a couple of app ideas brewing already!

Context aware software

Once my iTunes library hit 16GB, I had to start manually managing the content of my iPhone.This turned a ‘plug it in, let it rip and go’ process into a ‘plug it in, spend ten minutes deciding on content and go’ process.Well, the same thing applies to listening to a music library that big.I end up spending five minutes deciding what to listen to, then changing my mind, etc.There is a lot of time spent surfing my library rather than listening to my library.The good news is that software is getting smarter by the day, so I might reclaim that surfing time soon.

Gracenote was showing off software that self-selected music based on your mood.This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but imagine trying to write software that can tell you if a song or movie is “Dark” rather than “Positive”.I’m sure it might have to do with the key of the music, but still – this is light years ahead of picking Jonny Cash because you’re in a somber mood.

It’s surprising to see that some of these products – the ones I actually want to buy – weren’t covered nearly as well as some of the more prevalent technology.

Did you see anything at CES or in the coverage that you thought deserved higher praise? Let us know in the comments section.

You can follow Josh on twitter (@joshneland).

About the Author: Josh Neland