Lake Maggiore, Italy -
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) held its 15th annual CEO Summit, for
the first time in Europe with 180 executives in attendance - 43 of them
first-timers - Oct. 1-3.
The event, which is
usually held in June, has been held overseas at least three times - twice in
Bermuda and once in Mexico - but CEA moved its dates and venue to this scenic
resort in northern Italy
, more than hour's drive from the country's business
capitol of Milan, where it co-located with the TechHome Mediterraneo Summit.
Aside from the multiple
opportunities for top executives to network, the program included meetings of
the CEA board of industry leaders, CEA technology advisors, and a trend preview
of 2012 International CES, presented by Shawn DuBravac, chief
economist/research director of CEA.
DuBravac noted that the
lines between devices - what they do and how they do it - are being blurred
more than ever before due to hardware changes but mostly by apps. For instance,
while desktop computers sales are slumping, computing as an activity is broader
than ever before, with other devices sharing more features and communicating
more than ever.
He cited the fact that
some cameras are now being designed "to look like a phone or a tablet and are
Android based," DuBravac said.
Tablets, to no one's
surprise, will continue to be a giant story at CES. DuBravac said that Intel, with
a variety of partners, will introduce at the show two dozen lightweight Ultrabook
laptops, whose functionality are like tablets.
There will be more smartphones
with larger screens, and tablets with smaller ones, shown at CES than in the
past. "They will provide a unique experience ... but where will consumers
Users will drive
innovation with apps that provide unique experiences. That has happened with
smartphones, DuBravac said, where the hardware might be the same, but "if you
pick up a friend's phone, you might not be able to use it immediately." The app
trend will spread to TVs, he said, noting that while the lifecycle of TVs "continues
to be 10 years," at CES there will be "a lot of devices that will allow
consumers to bring the net experience to a display that doesn't have those
growth in the TV category "will be slow for the next four years." CES attendees
will probably see more thin bezel sets, more 4K by 2K screens "with OLED being
part of it," and glassless 3DTVs. The format fight in 3DTV glasses will
continue and glassless 3DTV will be part of the mix in 2012.
When asked from the
audience about Apple TV and what it may bring in 2012, DuBravac did not provide
specifics, but did note, "Consumers want to move content easily between the
main screen at home and portable devices. They want a strong interaction
between both." For example, smartphones will become more vital as controllers
in the home gaming experience, be they iPhone or Android.
Other Summit highlights included
a one-on-one interview between CEA president/CEO Gary Shapiro and Dish Network president/CEO Joe
Clayton; a panel on global retail trends with Mike Vitelli, president,
Americas executive VP, enterprise of Best Buy, and Joe Hartsig, senior VP/GMM
for technology and entertainment at Sam's Club (a video of the panel will
appear on TWICE.com soon); and remarks by U.S. counsel general Kyle Scott,
based in Milan, who highlighted the importance of the Italian CE market to U.S.
Scott, who spoke during
the Summit's opening reception Saturday night, said that while Italy is
struggling with its economy like the rest of Europe, it is the fourth largest
economy in Europe.
Scott said that while
the Italian market has 10 million smartphone users, "only half of the
country has high-speed Internet." On the other hand, digital TV is rolling
out across the country and that "80 to 85 percent of Italian consumers
have DTV" and that number will be close to 100 percent by the end of 2011.
He also noted that
Europe in general, even under the current financial difficulties, is a
"key economic partner" with the U.S. and that in 2010 the U.S.
exported three times the goods and services it does to China.
Scott added that while
Europe is "struggling ... for a blueprint to correct its economic problems,"
the area is still "a key economic and military ally ... which is hugely
important to the U.S."
He stressed that the U.S
government is "optimistic about Europe and northern Italy" and that
U.S. companies like the ones at the CEA CEO Summit should "develop
partnerships with Italian companies."
Lake Maggiore, Italy - The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) held its 15th annual CEO Summit, for the first time in Europe with 180 executives in attendance - 43 of them first-timers - Oct. 1-3.