Lost at CES

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Lost at CES

CES is in full swing in Las Vegas this week, and the present for all
issues high-tech — from gizmos and devices to automobiles and leisure gear — has attracted attendees from all over the world. The first CES, or “Consumer Electronics Show” because it initially was identified, befell in June 1967 in New York City. It was a derivative of the Chicago Music Show, which beforehand served as the primary commerce occasion for shopper electronics.

That first present attracted 17,500 attendees and greater than 100 exhibitors, making it a large commerce present for its time. Today that quantity has grown tenfold.

“This yr’s CES is predicted to draw greater than 170,000 attendees
with an estimated whole financial influence of (US)$283.three million,” mentioned Lori
Nelson-Kraft, senior vice chairman of communication and authorities
affairs for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors authority.

The present was held twice a yr in Chicago till 1978, when Winter CES moved to Las Vegas, which has hosted it yearly since. Attendance at the summer time occasion declined following the launch of the online game trade’s Electronic Entertainment
Expo (E3), and by 1998 it was consolidated, held every year with Las Vegas as its dwelling.

CES has turn into one of many largest commerce exhibits on the earth, and now
takes as much as 18 days to arrange, run and break down. With so many individuals
converging on Sin City, it is a vital occasion for the native financial system.

“Since 1978, CES has drawn 4.7 million guests to Las Vegas and has
had an estimated $5.7 billion financial influence on the vacation spot,”
Nelson-Kraft informed TechNewsWorld.


Too Big for One Building

What units CES aside from different commerce exhibits is that it is not restricted to
a single constructing. It takes over everything of the Las Vegas
Convention Center (LVCC), in addition to practically a dozen different websites, spanning greater than 2.9 million web sq. toes of exhibit house. It attracts in additional than 4,500 corporations.

The present requires 1000’s of help employees to arrange, break down and run it. Bus drivers are recruited from throughout the U.S. to assist the crowds transfer round city.

CES 2020 would be the final one held at the LVCC earlier than a 1.4
million-square-foot, $1.5 billion enlargement and reworking undertaking is
accomplished later this yr. Following this enlargement, the present
might consolidate to the LVCC and never require press conferences to be
held offsite, or for thus many occasions to spill over to the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, the Sands Expo and Convention Center and The Venetian Resort.

Those locales host moderately giant commerce exhibits in their very own
proper, however CES merely continues to develop. It started as a commerce present for
shopper electronics that included stereos, TVs and home equipment but it surely now
encompasses rather more.

“CES covers all features of shopper know-how, from automotive to
cellular connectivity and the whole lot in between,” mentioned
Consumer Technology Association spokesperson Tyler Suiters, vice chairman of communications.

“It is completely different from area of interest or regional exhibits which are a magnet for solely
regional audiences or showcase just a few particular segments of the
tech trade,” he added.

The present’s organizers have accomplished a great job in some respects.

“The format of the present at the LVCC is organized linearly — with
equally targeted distributors grouped collectively,” mentioned Charles King,
principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“That helps reduce confusion, however the logistics of coping with
1000’s of distributors and tens of 1000’s of different attendees is
difficult, at greatest,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

“Trying to have interaction in efficient conferences or significant discussions at
the LVCC is tough or inconceivable relying on the time of day and
dimension of the crowds round you,” King added.

Can It Get Bigger?

With the LVCC enlargement, CES in idea might get even larger. Because
it now covers greater than shopper electronics — which is why the
title “Consumer Electronics Show” has been dropped — something that powers on in some type or vogue could be a match for CES.

“We’re seeing more attendance from the automotive sector,” mentioned Marge
Costello, trade analyst and editor of
CEON, Consumer Electronics Online News.

In reality, the automotive class has turn into so essential that the present primarily has changed the North American International Auto Show (Detroit Auto Show) as the primary auto present of the yr, which led to NAIAS transferring its occasion to June.

“Automotive has become a centerpiece, and the fact that a relatively new market area for CES takes up an entire hall of the convention center says a lot about the value of the show, at least for those players,” mentioned Eric Abbruzzese, analysis director at ABI Research.

“It’s a standout for starting the year with a bang, and possibly allowing companies to carry momentum through the year,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

Yet the dimensions of CES has many asking whether or not it has turn into too
inclusive of what it tries to cowl, too overlapping with different commerce
exhibits — and, most significantly, too huge.

“You might have requested that query for years. It may be very various, and
by all accounts it will be even larger subsequent yr,” CEON’s Costello informed TechNewsWorld.

It is not simply the official occasions both. Many non-official
occasions, mini-conferences and company-specific gatherings are scheduled, making it inconceivable to see the whole lot. For the small distributors, simply being seen might turn into all however inconceivable!

“As one of the vital distinguished commerce exhibits, CES is awash with press
conferences and no scarcity of dizzying gizmos and devices, that makes
it tougher than ever to face out from the group,” mentioned Scott
Steinberg, principal analyst at
TechSavvy Global.

“At the identical time small corporations and PR corporations can use grassroots
methods and intelligent techniques to face out from the mainstream PR
channels,” he told TechNewsWorld. “If you undergo the conventional channels, you
will likely be misplaced within the sea of reports, however if you’re intelligent you’ll be able to stand out and make an enormous splash this week.”

Plan Accordingly

CES will not be a shopper occasion — it’s not open to the general public in any approach — but it surely actually pulls out all of the stops. Its quite a few keynotes have turn into media spectacles, with a number of audio system and infinite product unveilings.

“The keynotes aren’t actually new, however they get larger annually, and
lots of the merchandise demonstrated at these occasions will not see the sunshine
of day,” Costello identified.

For electronics merchandise making their method to the market, CES is
nonetheless the place the important thing reveals are staged.

“While there may be an amazing quantity to see, attendees should be
selective,” mentioned Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analystics.

“In a approach, it isn’t one present, however a number of exhibits which can be taking place at
the identical time in the identical place,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

That mentioned, “one can successfully leverage the huge number of people attending,” Entner added.

“An funding financial institution is even holding considered one of its occasions in Las Vegas
concurrently with CES as a result of they’ll get extra top-level executives
to attend their occasion that approach,” he famous.

It’s unlikely that simply being there’ll lead to loads of walk-in site visitors, although.

“Most of the patrons and media are targeted, and meaning
they take part within the a part of the present they’re thinking about,” mentioned Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

That “mitigates substantially the disadvantages due to the show’s size,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

These days it is tough for anybody to make an enormous splash at CES, nonetheless.

“It’s not the little guys that get drowned out anymore than earlier than however
the large guys,” said Recon’s Entner. “That’s why they don’t seem to be saying main
merchandise anymore. The little guys are drowning out themselves, but when
they get recognition at CES it is large for them.”

Travel Woes

It’s ironic that CES serves as the primary “auto show” of every yr, given its site visitors complications, lengthy cab strains, and all of the associated gridlock that comes with including the equal of a medium-sized metropolis to the inhabitants of Las Vegas for every week.

“One of the large issues is transferring between the conference facilities. You’d suppose Las Vegas would droop street work throughout this week, however
yearly they appear to exit of their method to make driving throughout
this present tougher, not much less,” commented Enderle.

“The CES crew does a superhuman job protecting this factor from imploding,
however world occasions, timing, and that clear lack of vital
infrastructure help all recommend this occasion is at an elevated threat
of failure over time — and finally, considered one of these issues is definite
to trigger a catastrophic failure,” he added.

The deliberate LVCC enlargement might centralize the present, however it could not make issues
simpler instantly.

“If CES is simply too giant now, it can stretch the boundaries at subsequent yr’s
present when the very giant, new West Hall opens on the LVCC campus in
time for CES 2021,” mentioned Costello.

Here is the place know-how truly might assist the world’s largest tech commerce present.

“To join the brand new corridor, Las Vegas has contracted Elon Musk’s The
Boring Company to construct an underground folks mover that includes
autonomous automobiles,” Costello mentioned.

The undertaking, which started in November, will value a reported
$52.5 million and take 14 months to finish. It will contain a
large tunnel dug 40-feet below the prevailing LVCC, which is able to cut back
a 15-20 minute stroll from one finish of the complicated to simply a few
minute and half. Each autonomous transport car reportedly will
carry as much as 16 passengers, and a number of automobiles may be related like a practice throughout heavy operational instances.

Las Vegas metropolis planners have recommended that town’s
monorail might help alleviate the street congestion by transporting attendees from varied inns on Las Vegas Blvd. — aka “the Strip” — to
the LVCC. However, even working at peak capability, it rapidly can get
overwhelmed by the sheer variety of present attendees attempting to maneuver from
level A to level B.

“Las Vegas does this form of factor as effectively or higher than simply about
wherever else within the U.S., however the reality is that CES roughly ‘broke’ the supporting
infrastructure years in the past,” famous Pund-IT’s King.

“That’s when occasions more and more moved away from the LVCC to Mandalay
Bay, which largely hosts large-scale press occasions; the Sands Convention
Center at the Venetian/Palazzo complicated; and varied inns on the
Strip,” he explained. “Various invitation-only product showcases
for the media and analysts, like CES Unveiled, make detailed
discussions simpler — however in addition they add to the prices distributors bear.”

Future CES

Is it truthful to say that CES has gotten too huge to succeed? If so, what’s its future?

“That depends upon the objectives of the occasion. In essence, CES is a commerce
present the place producers of electronics and digital gadgets that may
be utilized by shoppers or shopper service suppliers promote the
merchandise they’re going to introduce within the coming yr,” mentioned King.

“To that finish, they use it to attach with the folks and corporations that
will promote their merchandise, in addition to with members of the press they
hope will present free publicity, promotion and promoting,” he added.

Whether the present has turn into too daunting for attendees is the query.

“Getting your arms and head across the whole present is successfully
inconceivable — there’s simply an excessive amount of to see and do in far too many
locations,” mentioned King.

If attendees can restrict their focus to a couple particular product strains
or distributors, CES could be a good spot to see coming wares and merchandise.

“It’s additionally clever to understand that CES is and all the time will likely be an
occasion that promotes what electronics producers and the umbrella
CTA group hope and pray will open patrons’ minds and wallets in
the approaching yr,” King recommended.

If it does get too huge, a few of the corporations might choose to go their very own
approach — one thing that has occurred with different commerce exhibits.

“There’s a hazard of oversaturation, with bulletins misplaced amongst
the unbelievable quantity of noise,” mentioned ABI Research’s Abbruzzese.

“We may even see some motion away from CES as the first present and have
corporations host their very own occasions or favor different exhibits so as to keep away from
that,” he said. “I take into consideration E3 within the gaming house, and the way numerous main
gaming corporations have pulled out in favor of their very own
streams, exhibits and announcement methods.”

It is true that Apple does not have a lot presence at CES, however
for many shopper electronics corporations the present will stay the
place to be.

“There’s no higher present than CES for getting loads of info to a
lot of individuals in a short time,” added Abbruzzese, “so I do not see it shrinking any
time quickly.”

Going Virtual

Beyond the query of the present’s dimension, there may be the truth that a few of
the occasions may be broadcast on-line, permitting the chance for digital attendance.

Thus know-how might dictate the way forward for the present. The
skill to see the newest gizmos on the very UHD/4K units that have been
unveiled only a decade in the past, and to tour a sales space nearly raises the query whether or not CES finally might turn into a web based expertise.

“At some level, this present will turn into digital because it merely cannot
proceed to develop with out extra help from town,” Enderle maintained.

“Also, the dimensions of the occasion, and visitor audio system just like the First Lady,
make it a beautiful goal throughout these hostile instances,” he identified.

“This large overcrowding would make secure evacuation practically inconceivable,
which additionally highlights one other approach this present might dramatically finish,”
Enderle added.

“Finally, the present is ill-timed for shopper merchandise, given
it comes so carefully after Christmas and so distant from the subsequent
shopping for season,” he said. “This timing results in an extreme variety of off-premises
confidential occasions, as distributors attempt to have interaction patrons however attempt to forestall
the untimely launch of details about yet-to-be-announced merchandise.”


Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus embrace cybersecurity, cell phones, shows, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous automobiles. He has written and edited for quite a few publications and web sites, together with Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.
Email Peter.



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