There is some comfort in participating in annual rites and events that are held every year. Such events provide continuity and give reassurance that life, and time, marches on.
For this industry our annual rite is the journey to Las Vegas in the first week of January to attend the International Consumer Electronics Show.
After what we’ve experienced in the past 12 months, going to CES might be just what this industry needs about now.
I’ve been covering the CE industry and attending CES long enough to have forgotten what it must be like for people in other industries to return to work for the Holiday season. Some may take a day or two just to get back to their regular work pace and habits. Others may tack on some extra vacation days.
But not in this industry. I often equate attending CES for some rookies or veterans not completely prepared, to being thrown by the scruff of the neck and into a cold shower after taking a nap.
When you get to CES one can be mesmerized by the neon, overwhelmed by the cab lines and the constant drone of the slots and, of course, the size and scope of the show.
But once you have your first few meetings and get your bearings, many feel invigorated and revitalized by the people you’ve met, the new ideas being discussed and all the new products and technologies at CES. All of which make you think and give you new ways to look at your own businesses, and what opportunities there are… even during a dramatic economic downturn.
So after a long and troubled 2008, especially the final quarter, I’m especially looking forward to be surprised and reinvigorated at CES this week.
There will be plenty of new technologies experience, new products to see and new companies to get to know. And as usual government, entertainment, cable and satellite executives and international attendees will join CE manufacturers, retailers and distributors that will remind the public via the media that the CE industry is ready to meet the challenges of 2009.
One of those challenges will finally, finally be met is Feb. 17, 2009 – the digital TV transition deadline. There will be more talk about it here at CES this week. Yes, there will certainly be problems in some areas and neighborhoods in the country. And yes, there will be complaints. But I think the problems will be fewer than any of the most pessimistic would expect.
Yet I don’t want to be in the prediction business. Last year I wrote that the economy and sales of CE in U.S. Presidential election years usually go up… so I’ll leave the prognostications to someone else.
What I can confidently say is that CES will again provide enough new ideas, new products and new technologies to help the industry start off 2009 on the right foot.