THE BLOG
01/07/2013 05:05 pm ET | Updated Mar 09, 2013

What's in a Screen?

Big screens?

Giant big screens?

Hugely large big screens in 3D?

Smarter phones?

iOS, Android, Windows 8...telepathy?

Bluetooth-connected feet warmers...?

What will it be?

I'm off to the annual convocation of fortune-telling and retail planning called CES -- the Consumer Electronics Show -- held every year in Las Vegas at the beginning of the New Year, followed immediately by the Adult Entertainment eXpo... HMMMMMMM.

I have been going to the show, for inspiration and crystal ball anecdoting -- for many years -- and have watched it turn from a buying fest for retail stores to a sort of "Digital Futures" showcase and forum for the communications industry -- with participants like Google, Facebook, AOL and Twitter... not to mention package goods companies and agencies of all sorts.

And, in an interesting development, this year I see that two of the opening keynote events -- having been dominated by Microsoft and Ford for a number of years -- have been returned to the manufacturers and will be given by Panasonic and Samsung -- with a Qualcomm keynote bridging the world of product and delivery of content. HMMMMMM.

All of which leads me to the recent news about Google in the U.S. not really being evil -- wheeew, I was worried about my photos in Picasa; the endless and mindless debate about social and shopping -- get over it -- it's in our DNA; and the continued confusion around TV, television and something called video content and screens -- and I classify this as more wasted debate, but more on wasted debates in coming weeks...

And of course the growing obsession with "Big Data" -- not just data -- and the current soul- searching as to why we can't seem to really blow the lid off retail with its use in digital channels -- although the endless number of companies that are basically tracking and selling the same data might provide some clue (sidebar: I use a software detector to alert me to who is checking on me on any given page I land on -- and just from the past hour as I pulled together my thoughts and material to write -- here is a taste: Right Media, DoubleVerify, DoubleClick, Turn, Quantcast, AdNexus, AddThis, Comscore, Facebook, Google Analytics, FetchBack, Outbrain, Interclick and on and on). By the way, I bought nothing recommended -- nor did I click through to anything I wasn't primarily looking for -- which calls to mind that Google says:

No interest categories are associated with your ads preferences so far.
Your demographics:
Age: 25-34
Gender: Female

I wonder if they share those data points when they sell my data... HMMMMMMM.

So here is my question as I begin a series around CES and such -- what is it all about? Content?; Data?; Screens?; Operating systems?; Devices?; Digital whatever????

If I were really cynical... if I were really cynical I'd say that it's really all about the advertising I can sell... funny, that -- the oldest model in a world that purports to be all about the newest of models.

And I'd argue the reason we are so confused and have so many meaningless debates is because our purpose and models are not clear, in that I'm not really sure who they benefit -- and please don't tell me the consumer.

A thought from the ultimate Renaissance model changer... listen:

"Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose." Leonardo da Vinci

If our purpose (read CES) is to sell more advertising, then our "work" will reflect that -- read work as what it is you will be able to buy and use to access that advertising -- and yes, maybe some associated content -- hate to be cynical -- but so it goes.

Hopefully our purpose is greater than that, and ultimately, we the users will benefit as we should, with connectivity, content and ease of use to do what we want -- when we want -- where we want -- paid for fairly and without intrusion.

And what about the confluence of two of the oldest and most successful models in the world showcasing back to back -- mere coincidence??

What do you think?