It will be a surreal CES 2021 this year, as the major tech show kicks off Monday as an online event, rather than the techpalooza event that is usually held in Las Vegas. This year’s event may be attended by 150,000 people, but they will all be watched from afar.
The pandemic has led to Consumer Technology Associationa great event in an online event with 1000 exhibitors and over 100 hours of programming. Starting Monday, I will be among the 6,000 journalists attending CES Press Day, which kicks off at the unholy hour of 5am PST with an LG event. Samsung Electronics is typically the largest event, with the longest media lines. But it will start at 6 a.m. PST and will only last half an hour. Other companies hosting press events include Hisense, Bosch, Here Technologies, Panasonic, Philips, Skyworth, Canon, TCL, Mercedes-Benz, Magna International, Kohler, Intel / Mobileye, Omron, Caterpillar, and Schneider Electric. Sony will end the day at 2:00 p.m. PST. I hope Sony will let us know how many PlayStation 5 consoles were sold during the holidays.
I’ve been at the Consumer Electronics Show since the 1990s, when then Microsoft CEO Bill Gates gave opening keynotes every year. I will miss the physical event, but I struggle to cope with the change and admire what I can still see digitally. And I won’t miss the crowd.
“One thing I’ll miss this year is the joy of discovery from walking around CES and personally discovering new technologies,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies who has attended more CES exhibitions than anyone ( 46), by email. “The virtual exhibition makes such discoveries almost impossible.”
He added: “The first thing I did was go through all the vendors listed in the CES 2021 guide. It’s like what I do for a personal presentation, but I always start by trying to find something that would interest me.”
And he said, “The second thing I do is check the Keynote schedules. I am especially interested in Lisa Su’s talk on AMD as AMD has made tremendous strides over the past few years and has become an important force in GPUS and CPU servers. “
CTA CEO Gary Shapiro told me in an interview that sessions will be shorter because people watching from home have a shorter attention span. This show will only run Monday through Thursday as opposed to the regular Sunday through Friday event in Las Vegas. Shapiro decided to look at the bright side of the circumstances. The crowd will be more international because it will include people who have not had the opportunity to attend the event before.
“We can do what we always wanted, but we never could,” said Shapiro. “We wanted to make LinkedIn events. When you register, you have the option to share your name with others. This has already been removed. People get in touch, receive emails, are already in contact. Even before the show starts, we feel some satisfaction and success. “
Exhibitions, keynotes and sessions will be available for approximately 30 days after the show ends. I am moderating a discussion (pre-recorded) about how cloud is changing business at 2:00 p.m. PST on January 13th.
On the hot-tech front, Shapiro is seeing the rise of 5G broadband wireless networks, 8K TVs, enterprise tech, medical technology, robotics, augmented reality and virtual reality, and drones. During 2020, Shapiro said many industries flourished during the pandemic, including video games, 5G networks, 8K TVs, 4K TVs, and networking equipment. PC makers like HP will return with more computers that cater to people working from home.
The event will be hosted by Microsoft Teams. When it comes to things like augmented reality glasses, augmented reality veteran Tom Emrich believes it will go a long way towards devices that can be worn all day on the head that are as comfortable and form-fitting as glasses. Facebook has talked about launching such a device in 2021, but I don’t expect to see it at CES. However, I expect smaller companies to try to push ahead with their AR and VR technologies. Smart homes, smart buildings, and smart gadgets will become the norm.
Yesterday at the Showstoppers Japan preview event, Vanguard Industries showed off a furry worm-like pet called Moflin. It is designed to give you emotional relief. The palm-sized pet doesn’t have eyes, but makes cute sounds like a small animal and shows affection. Health and well-being will be much higher in sight given the state of the world. We will see more devices targeting the elderly, such as the Triple W DFree product, a smaller, second-generation wearable device that uses ultrasound to measure bladder filling in the elderly and helps a person to better manage incontinence.
I’ve seen some banned demos, and I’m looking forward to seeing cool projection technologies, innovative laptops that can make it easier to work from home, and networking devices that can protect your home from burglary attempts. We’ll see sleep aids, smart fall detectors for seniors, Sony TVs with “cognitive processors” designed for how we see and hear, cool projection technologies, virtual hotel concierge multilingual, and the new pinball machine from Stern Pinball. You can view a bunch press releases are already here…
Keynote speakers include Verizon CEO Hans Westberg (Monday 3:30 pm) who will be speaking ahead of the show. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, will speak on Tuesday at 6am PT (did I mention you can watch reruns?). Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su will speak on Wednesday. Best Buy CEO Corey Barry and Microsoft President Brad Smith will also speak on Wednesday, and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon will speak on Thursday. We’re skipping parties this year, but Pepcom and Showstoppers have digital product launches on Monday.
Bajarin noted that virtual performances are easier to attend than real life performances, so he will likely see more of them. He also hosts more virtual meetings.
“Exhibitions serve a real purpose in any industry, and I do not believe that the future of exhibitions will be virtual,” said Bayarin. “One important takeaway from Virtual CES will be a better understanding of the value of face-to-face meetings, networking and the joy of discovery and discovery. There will be fewer trade shows in the future, but they will remain an important meeting place for industry professionals, where they gather, discover exciting new products, close deals and establish contacts. “
Some celebrities will be present. TV personality and producer Ryan Seacrest will moderate a fireside conversation with singer-songwriter Dua Lipa on Tuesday, while Billie Eilish will sing at 4:00 pm PT on Tuesday. It can help people feel like they are seeing something special that is so good at a personal event.
In terms of corporate technology, Shapiro said, “I speak to a lot of CEOs and they continue to educate me on everything that happens from an enterprise perspective. This is a show about innovation, and as I said in my opening remarks, people close deals at CES by category and vertical. That’s why when we tried to create digital platforms, we talked about how to very quickly bring these lines from one industry and one company to another. This is why CES is so valuable. I have spoken with representatives of many companies from different industries and they emphasize that. “
It will be harder to focus on the show, balancing it with my other responsibilities, such as jogging or going to the refrigerator. It will also make it harder to find a needle in a haystack. But I’ll see what I can find out about, and I’ll report back.
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