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Reporting quasi-live from the Consumer Electronics Show, I’m back at CES for my thirteenth straight year. It’s time to try to make sense of this beast of a show yet again.
In a tradition going back more than a decade, I’m putting together a recap deck again. While I will upload the final version to SlideShare, the site took away the ability to re-upload decks, so I’ve created a new one you can find at bit.ly/CESmarketing. Whenever I add new slides, which has been every few waking hours the past few days, I then save it as that PDF, and you’re free to download it via a Dropbox link.
As I write this on the plane and prepare for a blistering few days ahead, below are my top-level takeaways of this year’s show before I even get there. Please let me know if there’s anything you’re working on that you want me to include, as I will keep updating this for at least a few days after the show ends.
Some highlights from this year:
It’s the Year of Voice! Again! And it will be in 2020! And it will be for the next decade. It’s reminiscent of all of those Year of Mobile predictions, which dated back to 1999 (the first reference I could find in Google) and had a good 15-year run, if not longer. Voice will be the same way. And it may be the year of artificial intelligence until all the robots take over, run the show themselves, and kick out the humans.
Software continues to be generally more important than the hardware at CES – not unlike the tech industry writ large. Even for voice-powered devices, the key theme is how Amazon, Google, and Apple platforms integrate with other devices.
The most impactful technologies, such as automated vehicles that transform how and where people work and live, may take decades to fully play out. The good news: analysts can pre-write their stories for 2020.
Despite all the floor space that is still dedicated to increasingly high-definition TVs (perhaps 16K resolution will soon replace 8K as the platinum standard), so many critical technologies and paradigms are invisible.
Artificial intelligence is used to improve countless software innovations. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is seemingly everywhere here.
5G networks, as they gradually roll out, will power many of the next enhancements in hardware and allow consumers and professionals to do even more with their mobile and other internet-connected devices. It’s been the Year of 5G at Mobile World Congress for about three to five years now, and the CES crowd has finally caught on.
Insert something about blockchain here. (This line needs to be in every recap for marketers. I have nothing to add about this at CES right now.)
While the automotive industry commands prime real estate in the Convention Center’s North Hall and gets some of the largest Fortune 500 brands to make a splash at the show, look for the healthcare exhibitors to give a taste of improvements that can materially benefit the largest number of people. Yes, many if not most of these are frivolous and wouldn’t (and probably shouldn’t) make it to market, but quite a few others should impact people’s quality of life – and a handful will save lives. It’s also funny, or ironic, or neither, how phones are being blamed for so much of what’s wrong with our lives, from us being distracted to misinformed to depressed, and yet so much of health tech involves building on phone operating systems to save lives.
The ‘trade war’ between the US and China may be the biggest macro-economic factor that affects so much of what happens after CES. China in turn is preventing currency from leaving the country. This could cool the overseas expansion of some Chinese startups, it could increase prices of goods relying on parts manufactured or assembled in China, and it could further close off China as a viable market for US companies.
What else should I include here? What is a real story? What’s total BS? Call it out. And check out the deck for more.
Whether or not you’re at CES, what are you making of yourself? Keep the answers coming; I’m loving the conversations that follow. And if you are at CES, drop me a line.
LEARN. TRY. SHARE.
13 ODDITIES & WONDERS TO EXPECT AT CES
Underwater drones. 5G everywhere. Lots and lots of conversation about voice. John Koetsier, an all-star tech analyst who’s also in the Slack group, created a great roundup of CES highlights.
SAVE THESE DATES
We’ve got a twofer offer on calendars here, thanks to Product Hunt. I haven’t looked at these in-depth yet, but if you want a broad marketing calendar (including a lot of cultural events) or a calendar just focused on tech conferences, you can now plan ahead to your little or big heart’s content.
AD-TECH AND THE BEANSTALK
You know how when you read fairy tales as an adult, they all sound so horrible that you wonder why we still tell them to our kids? Judy Shapiro dissects a lot of advertising and tech fairy tales. She takes on the promise of marketing automation, how media and messages need to be planned together, and so much more. And they all did not live happily ever after.
My trip to Mongolia earlier this decade was one of the stranger ones, in part because of all of the invaders who came through there, tourists have not been heavily represented among them. Also, traveling there involves eating a lot of mutton – three meals a day (one morning, we did get hot dogs for breakfast instead). These music videos might make travelers put this country higher on their list, with the country’s scenery serving as the backdrop for this mix of heavy metal and traditional chanting.
A POD OF DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES FROM THE AD INDUSTRY
Community member Kerel Cooper has a monthly podcast that I started listening to, and he has some fantastic guests. He writes, “If anyone is looking for a new podcast, check out my pod called Minority Report Podcast where we highlight people of color, diverse backgrounds, women & LGBTQ community within media, ad tech, advertising and marketing. We can be found on SoundCloud, iTunes or Spotify.”