The Consumer Electronics Show takes place every year in early January and it's hard to keep up with the latest gadgets at CES. But what exactly is CES, can you go and why do you care?
What is the CES?
CES is the "Consumer Electronics Show. It takes place in Las Vegas every year in early January. The first CES happened more than fifty years ago.
More than 182,000 people attend the CES and more than 4,400 companies exhibit their products. It is according to the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES. Individuals and businesses come from all over the world.
The show is huge and stretches over the city of Las Vegas. There are two massive show floors covering the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and the Sands Exhibition Center, totaling over 2.75 million square feet. In addition to this, many companies have private suites in hotels where they present their products by invitation only.
So can I go?
Sorry! Despite its name, CES is not really aimed at consumers. It's an industry convention focused on consumer electronics, not a consumer electronics show. It brings everyone from tech journalists to big companies, start-ups, suppliers, buyers and other businesses.
To register and be admitted, you must convince the Consumer Technology Association of references in your sector.
In the past, we have seen people peddle admission badges on the Las Vegas Strip, trying to sell tourists the opportunity to browse the living room. But the convention has recently tightened security and now prints photos on these badges to prevent people from passing them.
What is the point of the CES?
CES is an industry convention. For us, in the media, it is an opportunity to take a concrete look at various products that could be marketed throughout the year. We hear about things like quantum dot TVs before they appear in stores. Startups also want to put their gadgets in front of as many people as possible. However, not all products are distributed. Electronic businesses can introduce new technologies such as roll-up TVs this might not be released immediately.
The big show also offers an opportunity for the tech industry to spark media hype and conversation, pushing big tech like 5G, the Internet of Things, smarthome technology, autonomous cars, smart cities, autonomous drones and 8K TVs. We are sure to hear a lot about 5G and see a lot of Wi-Fi 6 gadgets at CES 2019, for example.
But it's not just the media; many of these are business to business. Are you a representative of an electronics store, like Best Buy? CES will expose you to all kinds of products that you might want to store. Do you need a bunch of selfie sticks or smartphone cases made cheaply? You can find suppliers who can manufacture these products cheaply. There are a lot of things going on between companies, often behind the scenes.
For example, The insane Bitcoin miner from Kodak In 2018, the press was not targeted. Kodak was simply using the show to look for "investors" who had the liquidity and wanted to participate in their mining project. to close by the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States.
And the CES is not limited to business and electronics. Like many conventions, this is an excuse for industry professionals who want to go to Las Vegas, play poker and party with each other, all in the company's favor. This is not the only reason that it took place in Las Vegas, however. The CES is a huge show, and most cities would not have the hotel and conference room there.
Why should I care about it?
Listen, let's be honest: if you're not involved in the technology industry, you should not worry about CES. CES is an event of the industry. This appears in the news because journalists have the opportunity to become familiar with the latest products and that these products might interest you.
CES is a deluge of news and products, many of which will never be published or may not be published for some time. All are not interesting. Do you want to see ten different smart dog collars that monitor your pet's fitness activities? Do you want a Alexa compatible kitchen faucet so you can open and close the water by making an order? Do you still want a "smart assistant", a group of selfie sticks or an autonomous drone? What about a lot of virtually identical smart TVs, some of which run Firefox OS for some reason? Maybe you are interested in a smart bin or a huge and expensive folding robot? We saw all these things at CES.
Anyway, you can hear about the most interesting things just by paying attention to new techniques at home. It's a little easier to digest the news on your computer or phone when you're not walking around a crowded convention center or running in Las Vegas for your next private meeting. Want to see the press conference of a particular company? You can broadcast them online. And you will not end up with a cold or flu after the convention.
It should also be noted that many of the largest technology companies are not even present at CES. Apple is not there and Microsoft is not there either. Google displays, but only shows its existing material – Google records the ads for its own events.
The CES is big and the CES is terrible
For journalists, it's cool to hate on CES. This means that you are a jaded professional who has been around for a while. You do not accept the hype. You are experienced!
There is a lot of nonsense at CES, but that's not all. We try to cut through the hype and find the most interesting technology, really useful. In 2018, we saw the first Google Assistant smart screens, which were the predecessors of the Google Home Hub …our favorite product of 2018. We heard about improving Wi-Fi security with WPA3, standard USB fast charging and the promise of 5G to have high-speed data everywhere. We saw and played with all kinds of interesting gadgets.
CES is great because there are many awesome gadgets and technologies, which makes a lot of news and interesting products. But all is not interesting. Samsung is still pushing desperately Bixby, big electronics companies are trying to convince us that we all need smart and expensive refrigerators, and startups sell everything that is compatible with Alexa.
It's our job to find the most exciting things. If you think that CES is a continuous parade of interesting products and promising technologies, well, it's that the tech media is doing a good job. There is no need to go past countless selfie kiosks, drones and iPhone cases.