By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Nostradamus was wrong, the Mayans were wrong, so BOOM, we are smack dab into a new year right where the industry usually gathers every January — Las Vegas for International CES.
During a recent video interview with Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) president/CEO Gary Shapiro — whose new book for CEA, “Ninja Innovation,” debuts at CES — said that the industry annually gets recharged after the holidays immediately with the excitement of CES, and I agree.
And as Benjamin Hartman, Amazon.com’s CE VP, told senior editor Alan Wolf in an exclusive interview, “CES is like our Super Bowl.” I agree, except it is more like having several Super Bowls being played at the same location at the same time.
What I mean is that every year there are several technologies and industries that will each receive the International CES spotlight, and this year seems to be more diverse than ever before.
CEA has opened the tent of International CES very wide over the years, so that by 2013 you have a full complement of car companies in attendance, content providers of all stripes, and companies offering health and fitness devices. With the attendance of apps and Cloud developers, CES can arguably be called the largest show for those two industries.
More broadcasters and cable companies will attend CES than attend their own trade shows again this year. Up-and-coming tech companies will be part of Eureka Park, and new for this year there is a “Brand Matters” area of the show about advertising and marketing.
What isn’t new is the attendance of government officials at CES. But this time there will be several “Public Policy” panels moderated by or populated with government officials to discuss a variety of issues that affect CE in general and technology as whole.
Of course, CES is still about retailers and distributors meeting with manufacturers to see what new wares will be available in 2013.
There will be a wave of Ultra HD (a.k.a. 4K) TVs using OLED being shown this week at CES in larger-than-life screen sizes and better-than-lifelike images.
Sure, tablets and smartphones will continue to sizzle, but there are a plethora of other interesting and potentially lucrative categories being introduced or expanded upon: headphones of all shapes and sizes, AirPlay and other wireless audio solutions, more soundbars, more smart TVs, improved digital cameras and the continued rollout of Windows 8 products. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.
There will also be plenty of repositioning going on this week in Las Vegas. Several top Japanese brands, which have carried the industry for the past 50 years or so, will introduce products and try to make the case that they will revive and be a viable force in the 2013 CE industry.
The same holds true for retailers — most notably Best Buy, with Sears a close second. Other brickand- mortar retailers will have to answer questions about showrooming and the like.
So, if you are at CES this week, take advantage of all the developments to get recharged about your business and how it can evolve profitably during 2013.
Remember to check out CES developments via TWICE.com and, if you are in Las Vegas, with the Official Daily of CES, published by the editors of TWICE.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.