It’s going to be a surreal CES 2021 this yr, as the large tech commerce present goes to begin on Monday as an online-only occasion as an alternative of the techpalooza occasion that’s often held in Las Vegas. This yr, the occasion might have 150,000 attendees, however they’re all going to be looking from afar.
The pandemic has pushed the Consumer Technology Association‘s massive occasion into a web-based affair with 1,000 exhibitors and greater than 100 hours of programming. Beginning Monday, I’ll be among the many 6,000 or so journalists attending the CES Press Day, which begins on the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. Pacific time with LG’s occasion. Samsung Electronics’ occasion is often the largest affair that pulls the longest line for the media. However it is going to kick off at 6 a.m. Pacific and final for simply half an hour. Different firms internet hosting press occasions embrace Hisense, Bosch, Right here Applied sciences, Panasonic, Philips, Skyworth, Canon, TCL, Mercedes-Benz, Magna Worldwide, Kohler, Intel/Mobileye, Omron, Caterpillar, and Schneider Electrical. Sony will wrap up the day at 2 p.m. Pacific time. I’m hoping Sony will inform us what number of PlayStation 5 consoles it offered over the vacations.
I’ve attended the Consumer Electronics Show ever because the Nineties, when then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates gave the opening keynote speeches yearly. I’ll miss the bodily occasion, however I’m doing my greatest to deal with the change and get enthusiastic about what I can nonetheless see within the digital format. And I gained’t miss the crowds.
“One factor that I’ll miss this yr is the enjoyment of discovery from strolling round CES and discovering neat new applied sciences in particular person,” mentioned Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Artistic Methods who has been at extra CES reveals than simply about anyone (46), in an electronic mail. “A digital Commerce Present makes these kind of discoveries nearly not possible.”
He added, “Very first thing I did was overview the entire distributors listed within the CES 2021 Information. That is just like what I do for an in particular person present however I at all times begin by looking for the issues that will be on curiosity for me.”
And he mentioned, “The second factor I do is take a look at the Keynote schedules. I’m particularly fascinated about Lisa Su’s AMD keynote as AMD has made big strides over the previous couple of years and has change into an essential energy in CPU’s GPUS and servers.”
CTA CEO Gary Shapiro instructed me in an interview that the periods can be shorter as a result of folks watching from house have shorter consideration spans. This present will solely final from Monday by Thursday, in distinction to the Sunday by Friday standard occasion in Las Vegas. Shapiro selected to have a look at the intense aspect of the circumstances. The gang can be extra worldwide as a result of it is going to embrace individuals who haven’t had an opportunity to come back to the bodily occasion earlier than.
“We’re capable of do issues we’ve at all times needed to do however we’ve by no means been capable of do,” Shapiro mentioned. “We needed to do the LinkedIn of occasions. Once you register, you get the choice to share your identify with others. That’s already taken off. Individuals are getting in touch, getting emails, linking up already. Earlier than the present even begins, we’re feeling some satisfaction and success.”
The present displays, keynotes, and periods can be obtainable for about 30 days after the present ends. I’m moderating a panel (prerecorded) on how cloud know-how is revolutionizing enterprise at 2 p.m. Pacific time on January 13.
As for decent applied sciences, Shapiro sees 5G broadband wi-fi networks taking off, 8K TVs, enterprise tech, well being tech, robotics, augmented actuality and digital actuality, and drones. Throughout 2020, Shapiro mentioned quite a few industries prospered in the course of the pandemic, together with video video games, 5G networks, 8K televisions, 4K TVs, and networking gear. PC makers like HP can be again with extra computer systems that can cater to folks figuring out of their properties.
The occasion will happen by way of Microsoft Groups. On the subject of issues like augmented actuality glasses, AR veteran Tom Emrich thinks will probably be an extended street to gadgets that we will put on all day on our heads that can be simply as comfy and form-fitting as eyeglasses. Fb has talked about launching such a tool in 2021, however I don’t count on to see it at CES. I do, nevertheless, count on to see smaller firms attempt to transfer forward with their AR and digital actuality applied sciences. Good properties, good buildings, and good devices would be the norm.
Yesterday, on the Showstoppers Japan preview occasion, Vanguard Industries confirmed off a pet that regarded like a furry worm, dubbed a Moflin. It’s designed to can provide you emotional reduction. The palm-sized pet has no eyes nevertheless it makes cute appears like a small animal, and it reveals affection. Well being and wellness can be quite a bit increased on the radar, given the state of the world. We are going to see extra gadgets that focus on older folks, like Triple W’s DFree product, a smaller second-generation wearable machine that makes use of ultrasound to measure a senior’s bladder fullness and assist the particular person management incontinence higher.
I’ve seen some demos beneath embargo and I’m trying ahead to seeing cool projection applied sciences, modern laptops that may make working from house simpler, and networking gadgets that may shield your house from hacking makes an attempt. We’ll see sleep aids, good fall detection sensors for the aged, Sony TVs with “cognitive processors” designed for the best way we see and listen to, cool projection applied sciences, a virtual hotel concierge that speaks tons of languages, and a brand new pinball machine from Stern Pinball. You may flick through a bunch of press releases already here.
Keynote audio system embrace Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg (Monday at 3:30 p.m.) within the kickoff tackle for the present. Mary Barra, CEO of Common Motors, will speaker at 6 a.m. Pacific on Tuesday (did I point out you may watch replays?). Superior Micro Units CEO Lisa Su will communicate on Wednesday. Finest Purchase CEO Corie Barry and Microsoft president Brad Smith can even communicate on Wednesday, and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon will communicate on Thursday. We’ll miss out on events this yr, however Pepcom and Showstoppers could have their digital product showcases on Monday.
Bajarin famous that the digital keynotes are simpler to attend than those in actual life, so he’ll most likely see extra of these. He’s additionally organising extra digital conferences.
“Commerce reveals serve an actual function in any trade and I don’t consider the way forward for commerce reveals can be digital,” Bajarin mentioned. “One massive takeaway from a Digital CES can be a higher understanding of the worth of in particular person conferences, networking and the enjoyment of search and discovery. Commerce reveals my be smaller sooner or later however they’ll proceed to be an essential assembly place of trade professionals to assemble, uncover new merchandise of curiosity, make offers and community.”
Some celebrities can be current. TV persona and producer Ryan Seacrest will average a fireplace chat with singer and songwriter Dua Lipa on Tuesday, and Billie Eilish will sing at 4 p.m. Pacific time on Tuesday. That will assist folks really feel like they’re seeing one thing particular, which is what the in-person occasion does so effectively.
As for the enterprise tech, Shapiro mentioned, “I discuss to a whole lot of CEOs, they usually maintain educating me on all of the stuff that goes on from an enterprise standpoint. It’s a present centered on innovation, and as I say in my opening keynote, individuals are doing offers at CES throughout classes, throughout verticals. That’s why, once we tried to create the digital venues, we talked about get these traces out actual rapidly from one trade and one firm to a different. That’s what CES is so useful for. I’ve talked to representatives from many alternative firms in many alternative industries, and that’s what they stress.”
It’s going to be more durable to remain centered on the present, balancing it towards my different duties like going for a jog or visiting the fridge. It’s additionally going to be more durable to discover a needle in a haystack. However I’ll see what I can find out about and report again.
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