Tech Watch: CES Reveals The Need For An Update
CES a hit or a let down? With companies changing their focus, what's the future of CES?
Gadget geeks and tech nerds alike took over Las Vegas for four days of pure technological bliss at the Consumer Electronic Show from Jan. 10 to Jan. 14. Over 1.5 million net square feet of exhibit space, set up throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center, Hilton, and The Venetian, makes CES one of the largest trade shows in the world. Roughly 150,000 attendees checked out all of the up and coming products from computers to cars to vacuums to 3D big-screen TVs. With such a wide variety of Consumer Electronics being showcased, I had assumed that there would be an overwhelming amount of product reveals that would leave me speechless.
When all was said and done at CES, I was anything but speechless. Was I the only one let down with the lack of impressive Tablets and eReaders? Did I miss the innovative gadgets and cutting edge software that we were supposed to go gaga over (no, not that Gaga) from this year's CES?
After asking a few of my fellow techies, I found that I wasn't alone (#nerdsunite!). Other consumers were also let down this year by the absence of the 'wow factor' at the convention. The fact that devices had mundane abilities or mediocre attributes might be one of the reasons that the convention was a flop. Another contributing factor could have been that huge game players, Microsoft and Apple, either didn't attend or didn't have any products to reveal. It was apparent to geeks around the globe that CES 2012 was not as exciting as we had all hoped for.
The convention no longer has the most important developments in the electronic business coming from the makers of television sets and stereos that were so closely identified with the show proving that the technology industry is continuing to change and evolve that it once had when it first started in 1967.
Over the years, Apple's truancy became apparent. They no longer give keynotes, have a flashy booth or launch products at CSE. You could say they are officially off the roster. Companies are now having their own product launches, rather than waiting for CES for their big reveal. Why are these companies bailing on having a reveal at the show? It's likely caused by the cost of having a meaningful presence at the show. Companies are now introducing their products at company-only events and at smaller, more narrowly defined conferences. All eyes are actually on their company, keeping the spotlight on them, not fighting for it with their competitors (smart move, Apple; always being an innovator).
With the news that this would be the last year Microsoft would attend the convention, we are left to wonder what other big company can really lead the charge to help attract attention. With consideration that Google does not provide any hardware for their consumers, it's unlikely that they will be the next face of CES.
CES is in trouble, and although I believe it will hold on for a few more years, I'm not sure it will survive beyond 2015 unless some drastic changes are made.
What has to be done in order to save the largest trade show in the world? Organizers need to re-shift their focus with a new show that zeros in on technology including hardware, software, and services instead of just gear. Perhaps it would be a smaller show and lose the title as the "largest trade show in the world," but it could definitely be valuable and is better than letting this once great show limp on, becoming a shell of its former self Technology is ever-changing, constantly updating, and always evolving, so it's only a matter of time before the Consumer Electronics Show does the same. Maybe next year we will be able to say, "they came, they saw, they drooled" after CES wraps up another convention. At least I can only hope.
- Angela Kelly