Direct Communications visits CES 2011

Direct Communications visited the 2011 CES conference in Las Vegas last week to search for the latest tech gadgets and trends in broadband technology.

More than 2,700 technology companies across global industries were displaying their latest products and  inventions at the 2011 International CES®  (Consumer Electronics Show).  CES is the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow, and concluded on Jan 9, in Las Vegas.

Attendance figures indicate more than 140,000 industry professionals attended the 2011 International CES.

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The product everybody seemed to be pushing was 3D television and

Jeremy and Brad test out a 3D gaming console.

gaming. Everybody wanted to turn their product into a 3D experience. Also, computers are getting smaller and tablets and touch screens are getting bigger. There must have been hundreds of tablet manufacturers, each with their own version of the iPad. The encouraging trend for wireline internet providers, was the many new and different online TV applications, interfaces and gadgets. We want our customers to migrate to online video, because then we become the entertainment provider in the home as well as the connection to the world, and at CES the trend was definitely towards IP video.

Here are some products and videos that I felt would be interesting to our customers, plus a few more that were just funny because they were completely random or just bizarre.

IGUGU TV is an internet TV interface that uses a very handy remote.


Igugu TV –

The IGUGU System is comprised of 3 components:IGUGU TV Remote Control or iGUGU Gamecore Remote Control. IGUGU transmitter/receiver or connector to provide connection between the computer and television. A friendly, intuitive interface to control the PC while viewing the TV



Skype demonstrated a variety of fun new gadgets to make internet calling more convenient, including a Skype-enabled LCD TV. Apparently a few TV manufacturers are now building Skype functionality into their chips, so you can make video calls from your couch while watching TV.

HDMI over IP

HDMI over IP

Want to stream an HD feed over your entire home IP network to multiple TVs? No problem with an HDMI to IP converter.

Robot Comfort Seal

Robot Comfort Seal

Here is something every family needs – a robotic seal that snuggles up to you when you are feeling down. Hold it and pet it–make it suck a pacifier–nothing cheers you up like a furry baby seal robot. Unfortunately, at $4000 this kind of comfort is not for everybody–I know would have a hard time convincing my insurance company to cover this medical necessity.

Karotz -hear the tweets

Here’s another gadget you won’t see in a lot of homes this year, or… ever. These cute robot bunnies called Karotz will link to your browser and read you your tweets as they come in, or give you updates on the weather outside. Personally, I find sticking my hand out the door fairly effective too.

e-poc-it Ipod holder

Here is one I snapped for the jogging-stroller moms in Eagle Mountain. The e-poc-it ipod holder is a magnetic clip that keeps your mp3 player fitting snugly on your blouse so you don’t have to trip over cords hanging from your belt. Check it out, and keep downloading music-it makes your ISP feel needed.

Ooma VOIP service

Ooma VOIP service

Ooma VOIP service is a twist on internet phone service–you buy the overly-elaborate phone adapter for $250, and then make free calls for as long as the thing lasts with no monthly service fee.

Xi3 modular mini computer

This Salt Lake City-based firm makes the Xi3 modular computer, which is seriously smaller than your hand. It is modular because you can upgrade the hardware by swapping out the cards inside. It has all the functionality and connection ports of a regular computer, but uses a fraction of the power, which will result in huge cost savings for large corporations with many workstations. Mainly, I liked seeing a local Utah company at CES.

For more news on the 2011 International CES, visit

Some personal thoughts on the 2011 CES.

I was invited to attend this year by Jeremy Smith, our General Manager, who is an old CES pro. Luckily, he always seemed to know where he was going as we navigated our way through the endless maze of halls and displays in the Las Vegas Convention Center, otherwise I think I would still have been stuck in the south hall even today. This was my first time at the CES, and while driving down to Vegas, Bradley, our switch manager, warned me: “Prepared to feel insignificant.” The telecommunications industry is an industry which meets together a lot—there are a lot of conferences held all over the country throughout the year—some small, some very large with thousands of attendees, but until this CES show, I had never felt insignificant at a conference. Bradley was right—walking through those multi-million dollar displays, especially those owned by the large multinational tech corporations like Microsoft and Sony, and looking at the amazing products, marketing, and engineering feats accomplished by people so much smarter than I, I felt extremely small in the world. I felt like picking up a broom and quitting the tech industry altogether, because the industry certainly didn’t need me—what difference did it make that we are trying to market this stuff–we should just leave it to the experts. However, after a few days of quiet back in my cubicle, king of all the clutter I survey on my desk, I came to a realization—my kids still think I am smart. (Though still not as smart as their 1st grade teacher.)  So I will continue trying to convince people that they need our internet service to improve their lives. (So, sorry, customers—I will still be filling up your mailboxes with many more emails, ads and letters.)

A post by the the Consumer Electronics Association  stated that: “attendance figures indicate more than 140,000 industry professionals attended the 2011 International CES. More than 30,000 attendees came from outside the United States, with the show attracting more than 80 international delegations.” Walking around, sometimes it seemed like we were trying to force our way through a train station in Calcutta—there were so many people. Living in Idaho,  I was not so used to the bright lights and crowding. The only thing that compares in any way is trying to buy a Tiger Ear at the Eastern Idaho State Fair. Stimulus overload was how I would describe my first day at the CES. The next day I tried not to look directly at all the flashing lights. This was an amazing experience though, and it was exciting to be involved even in a small way such a dynamic industry.


About Brigham Griffin
Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director for Direct Communications, has been with the company since 2005. Brigham has an MBA from the University of Utah, and a BA in Communications from Brigham Young University. He is a Professional in Residence at Utah Valley University, and also serves as an adjunct professor of marketing at Idaho State University.

One Response to Direct Communications visits CES 2011

  1. Ben Eggleston says:

    This writer is witty and entertaining!

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