It’s that time of year again – Las Vegas once again plays host this week for the largest trade show for consumer technology.  On Sunday, Bill Gates – who has given the keynote address just before the International Consumer Electronic Show for more than a decade – gave his swan song to the CES crowd as he prepares to step down as chairman of Microsoft. Aside from an amusing look at what life will be like on his last day of work, Gates speculated on the future of technology in the "second digital decade." In a nutshell, Gates sees the "magic of software" driving the future of technology, with advances designed to connect people and to allow users to access more information and do more with it from their devices.

 

That prognosis applies as much to the future of electricity as it does to electronics. Two of the most significant electrical innovations of the coming decade will center around getting information where we want it when we need it, through the use of advanced electrical devices. The first is the development of a "smart" electrical infrastructure, which will allow the grid to be electronically controlled and integrated with our homes and offices. The second is the development of "smart" transportation systems, which will create safer, more efficient traffic conditions in our society. (See my blog of Nov. 6.) NEMA, of course, is an emerging leader in both areas.

 

While CEA's annual electronics show is a wonderful, exciting showcase for the latest consumer technologies, those gadgets won't change our lives any more than what the electrical industry has planned for the future.


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