Uncertain future ahead for show
CES TRENDS:Exhibition at a crossroads as electronics industry changes tack
The International Consumer Electronics Show may be one of the biggest events in the tech calendar, but that doesn’t mean its future is certain. Like the industry itself, things can change more quickly than anticipated. On the face of it though, the show is still putting in a decent performance despite dark predictions.
Some 20,000 products will be launched this week, with about 3,250 exhibitors packing out the Las Vegas Convention Center until the show closes tomorrow. More than 150,000 people will attend, according to official estimates, and the size of the event – 1.9 million square feet of exhibition space – has also set a new record.
“CES has an incredible story to tell, with every major technology company spanning the globe participating in this year’s CES to showcase their innovations,” CEA president Gary Shapiro said.
On display is everything from high-tech robotics and advances in cars to technology solutions for health and wellbeing, and connected appliances that make your home smarter and more efficient.
Well-established tech names such as Intel and Samsung rub shoulders with up and coming firms looking to make their mark in the tech world. But the show is still suffering from quiet whispers that it may be on an inevitable slow decline into irrelevance, as it loses some of its high profile exhibitors. In 2012, Microsoft said it would be the last time it played a major role at the show, and it has so far stuck to its word.
The questions about the shows future aren’t new. Similar issues were raised last year following Microsoft’s announcement.
Emphasis on apps
But the exhibition is at least trying to roll with the punches. This year’s show has a greater emphasis on apps and software, and mobile firms are playing an increasing role.
That was most evident in the show’s choice of keynote speakers. The pre-show keynote, traditionally delivered by Microsoft executives in the past, was taken over by Qualcomm. It is hardly a household name but Qualcomm technology powers many of the smartphones on the market today. “For over a dozen years, the pre-show keynote has had only two people featured: Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer,” Mr Shapiro said, introducing Qualcomm as “another great company” that was helping innovate and drive the consumer electronics industry.
“Mobile is transforming the whole world and the expansion of connected devices is opening up tremendous business, social and educational opportunities,” he said. Global mobile revenue revenues are estimated to have reached $1.5 trillion last year, and that figure is expected to rise further in 2013 as more tech companies embrace mobile, creating new types of connected devices.