Clouds everywhere, voice control, home integration, and health: How software will bring it all together at CES 2012

While software may not be the glitziest of categories on display at CES, there's still plenty to be excited about as we prep for the 2012 event. From artificial intelligence to home integration, apps are definitely on the rise. Also, expect the cloud and health care to emerge as topics yet again.

While software may not be the glitziest of categories on display at CES, there's still plenty to be excited about as we prep for the 2012 event. From artificial intelligence to home integration, apps are definitely on the rise. Also, expect the cloud and health care to emerge as topics yet again.

Forecast: Cloudy
Though this was on many prediction lists last year, we expect cloud computing to really hit its stride beginning with announcements at 2012's Consumer Electronics Show. Now that Apple's iCloud and other services have found creative (and successful) ways to store data in the cloud, expect to see more companies getting in on the action. As more data gets spread out to all your devices, the industry moves ever closer to the long-predicted marriage of television and Internet. Having every type of content on demand is even closer than you might think.

Voice and AI tech just getting started
By now just about everyone has heard about Siri, Apple's AI on the iPhone 4S that responds to voice commands. Even with the Internet memes and jokes about Siri's responses to user questions, there's no debate about whether the feature is useful. Expect many companies to introduce voice and AI tech starting with CES 2012, and expect even more voice interaction with electronics as artificial intelligence advances and more users get comfortable talking to their gadgets.

James Martin/CNET

The connected home
CES 2012 is going to take the idea of a "connected home" to another level. Device and appliance manufacturers are conjuring up new, exciting capabilities for their hardware, and you can bet developers will be showing off the software to complement them. Expect to see hardware-software combinations like baby monitors and home security systems with apps, stereo systems controlled by Android, and even cars that open, lock, and start with a single tap on your phone. While we're not expecting technology like this to be adopted en masse just yet, 2012 is certainly the year for it to start gaining some momentum.

Fitness and health
With all the talk of rising health care costs in the news, it's no surprise that people's minds are increasingly focusing on health and fitness. At CES 2012, expect to see developers capitalizing on this trend with more applications than ever designed to track fitness goals, offer nutrition advice, and even monitor medical conditions. While resources like WebMD have been undoubtedly useful up to now, we see 2012 as the year when software will get a little more personal and perhaps a little more abrasive when it comes to whipping us into shape.

 

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