This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was notable, not so much for what was there as what has vanished. As Shelly Palmer so apply put it -- aisle after aisle of what used to fill stores like Best Buy are simply vanishing. As he explains it: "several aisles of products are disappearing because... there's an app for that. Point-and-shoot cameras, video cameras, music players, GPS systems, voice recorders, calculators, digital picture frames, and a hundred other products have all been rolled into smartphones and tablets."
Simply put -- the era of devices is coming to a close. That's not to say there won't be neat new phones, or iPads, or flatscreen TV's. Sure their will be. But the real innovation is shifting to software. If you need proof, just look at the number of sensors that were on display. Gadgets that hang off your network and connect a 'thing' to your software via a table or smart phone. Their were sensors to turn on and off lights, sensors to check the quality of the air in your home, devices to remotely lock and unlock your front door, sensors to tell you a plant needs water, and of course all kinds of sensors you wear to connect your body and its behavior to software. Measuring the steps you take, the stairs you climb, your heart rate, even your sleeping patterns.
The software that lives on your phone gets more interesting when it accesses real time information about the world -- and even MORE interesting when it accesses data about YOUR world.
So, what does this have to do with New York? Well, for some time now i've been saying that the future of software isn't about making nifty gizmo's or cool gadgets -- it's about connecting real-world industries and activities to the web. It's what I've labeled Hyphen-Tech -- the technologocal connection of software and industries at New York leads in. Among the most interesting areas for hyphen tech are Technology plus Media, Technology plus Advertising, Technology plus Finance, Technology plus Fashion. And now, I'd add to that list Health plus Technology. In worlds where tech is driving innovation around industries, being near those industries accelerates innovation and growth. New York is ideally suited to grow technology companies in these verticals and, in particular, in social media software where New York's diversity, population density, and frenetic pace helps people-powered software innovate in rapid cycles.
This year's CES officially heralds the change. Our devices are no longer connected as a novelty, they need to be connected. Our car needs to be able to tell us when it needs to be service, or plugged in. Our iPad needs to broadcast it's location and lock down it's data if stolen. Heck, as silly as it sounds -- I want my Fridge to let Fresh Direct know that i'm out of milk or running low on eggs. The science fiction future of our doctors providing health care via a webcam has arrived. Why wouldn't we want our doctors to be able to monitor our health if we have an issue that can be treated with timely adjustments to a dose of medication or an alert if a problem becomes more serious and requires an office visit.
New York has always been about ideas and innovation. But as long as the web was about infrastructure rather than software and industries, New York was going to be in second (or maybe even third) place. But in the new software-centric, industry connected world -- New York has a real shot at being number one. Now, that would be fun.
In Other News -
New York Video Meetup Rocks Columbia:
The New York Video Meetup has a terrific lineup of video oriented companies and products. The gathering is Thursday Jan 24th, at 6:30 pm -- at Columbia University's Warren Hall, the Feldberg Space. RSVP here:
Vidwala: Co-Founders, Lance Miller and Kabir Mohammed, will demo Vidwala, a mobile video distribution platform and iPad app. Vidwala launched its platform to bridge the gap between YouTube and iTunes distribution for independent video producers.
NowThis News: NowThis News, the social mobile video news app, will be sharing how NowThis News makes the news go viral. twitter.com/nowthisnews\
Montaj Demir Gjokaj, Co-Founder and CEO, will demo Montaj, a free iPhone app that gives you the ability to quickly turn ordinary moments into amazing video. http://montajapp.com/
NYVS Board Member Alex Collmer will be speaking about NYVS, an online education company where you can learn everything you need to know to become an expert producer of high-quality videos and films. http://www.nyvs.com
Ready to Thrive?
New York City's immigrant population has more than doubled since 1970, from roughly 1.4 million to 3 million. Immigrants are a critical piece of the City's entrepreneurial economy: making up 49 percent of all self-employed workers in the City compared to just 12 percent nationally.
The second annual Competition To Help Reach Immigrant Ventures and Entrepreneurs (THRIVE) has been announced by NYCEDC. Competition THRIVE wants to support programs that assist immigrant entrepreneurs in starting, operating, and expanding their businesses in New York City.
The competition will select five finalists to receive $25,000 of seed funding to pilot their program for six months. After the six month pilot, the judges select the winning program to receive $100,000 to grow their program.
"New York City has long gained strength from its immigrant population, and the purpose of Competition THRIVE is to ensure the City's immigrant entrepreneurs will continue to contribute to our economic growth," said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky.
Applicants can learn more about Competition THRIVE at www.nycedc.com/THRIVE.
Tips, events, or N.Y. Tech news? Email me at Srosenbaum (at) nycedc (dot) com.