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Las Vegas is a Zoo!

Twitter and the blogosphere are buzzing about CES 2012. As the sun set the night before the show officially started, there was already a lot to think about. The cab lines at the airport weren't nearly as long as in years past, cell coverage seems to be working still (it was non existent last year at this time) and kangaroo's are the latest press conference gimmick. Should be a fun week ahead!

A few themes emerged already as major consumer electronic companies held press conferences and set the stage for their 2012 digital strategies. Stay tuned for more insights from the show floor this week.

Broader Device Reach
Lots of new tablets and smartphones were unveiled yesterday including those from Lenovo, AT&T and Samsung. Sony said it will bring more than 200 connected devices to market in the next three years alone! Also, a great article in Venture Beat takes a look at the new digital strategy by one of Akamai's leading customers - Fox News - to address the growing landscape of Internet-connected devices.

"The starting point for all [these changes] is there are more devices, more connectivity," Fox New and Business' vice president of digital, Jeff Misenti, told Venture Beat. Fox is introducing a slew of new ways for its audience to interact with news anchors, articles, video content, live streaming, and even the front page of Fox News' website itself. The emphasis, however, is on the recently adopted term "TV Everywhere." A number of media outlets are taking to TV Everywhere as a way to deliver content to a number of different devices and to do that as seamlessly as possible. But syncing your customers' viewing experience across a variety of screens is a challenge. One of Fox's first major moves Fox on this front is a partnership with Akamai to create a cross-device authentication system that allows Fox customers to prove they have Fox News accounts. From there, they can access saved and new content on any authorized device.

As Barb Darrow of GigaOm reports, the cloud is the "secret behind all those shiny CES gadgets." She notes: The beauty of the cloud computing model, which conceals so much complexity from the user as reported here, is that it can deliver very easy to obtain and consume services without requiring much technical savvy on the part of that user.

Connected Entertainment
Will 2012 be the year of Internet-connected TVs? Panasonic certainly hopes so with its new smart TV system that includes exclusive deals with Flixster and Disney. Akamai partner @Ooyala also announced a role in the new Panasonic Smart TV. From a Multichannel News article yesterday: Panasonic, looking to pull content more easily into its Internet-connected HDTVs, is plugging Ooyala's syndication platform into its Viera Connect platform, with The Country Network as the first publisher to take advantage of the partnership.

Panasonic also "brought sexy back" with a guest appearance by Justin Timberlake at its press conference to announce MySpace TV, a social TV service that will allow users to share the latest shows, TV, and music with their friends.

Sony announced a broad array of new online and cloud-based services to give consumers more access to more content whenever and however they want it. "Sony is committed to designing technologies for every aspect of consumer entertainment - in or out of the home, on the go, in the air, at work, at play, or wherever life takes you," said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation.

Kris Alexander is Akamai's Chief Strategist for Connected Devices & Gaming