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Go ‘Outside The Lines’ At CES

If you’re reading this here at International CES and you are a retailer, manufacturer or distributor you probably have too many meetings on your schedule this week anyway.

But I think you should find or create some gaps in your schedule to go “outside the lines” to experience and learn more about the technologies and issues that will affect your businesses now and in the near future.

In fact, if you completely ignore the CES Keynotes, SuperSessions and Product Marketplaces that the show’s owner and producer, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is presenting, some of which may have little to do with selling more products profitably at retail right now, you will miss an opportunity.

Why? All of these related industries, emerging technologies and regulatory debates have altered and continue to change your business CES is not only about closing business, but it should be educational.

While you can track these presentations and events in the Official Daily of International CES, which is produced by TWICE (and has a complete list of events in it), or read about many of them on, here are my personal picks important keynotes, panels and product displays you should take time to witness at CES this week:

The opening day keynote address with Mark Fields, president/CEO of Ford Motor Company, immediately follows the State of the Industry address by Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president/CEO which begins this morning at 8:30 am in The Venetian’s Palazzo Ballroom. During his keynote, Fields will address what’s next for Ford and discuss the company’s commitment to innovation in all parts of its business. Shapiro’s address always sets the table on the industry’s outlook and concerns for the year and beyond.

Top execs from Bosch, Cisco and Comcast will participate in the Fast Innovation: Disrupt or be Disrupted keynote panel slated for 11 am Wednesday, January 7 at the Westgate Las Vegas (formerly Las Vegas Hilton) Theater. It will feature John Chambers, Cisco chairman and CEO, Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable and Werner Struth, member, board of management, Robert Bosch GmbH and will feature a discussion on the evolution of the connections between people, data, business and innovation as enabled by the Internet of Everything and a connected society.

Tom Wheeler, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman’s One on One with CEA’s Gary Shapiro always generates news. The topics that could be discussed include spectrum issues, developments in broadband and open internet at the LVCC, North Hall, Room N257 from 1:00 to 1:45 pmWednesday, January 7. That’s part of a first-ever full slate of FCC, Federal Trade Commission member at the Innovation Policy Roundtable at CES.

Leslie Moonves, president/CEO of CBS Corporation will serve as Brand Matters keynoter in which he will be interviewed by Michael Kassan, chairman and CEO of MediaLink. The Brand Matters keynote is set for 3 pm Wednesday, January 7 at the Westgate Theater. CEA said the keynote will highlight how the evolution of hardware and software enables more dynamic content creation and distribution.

And of course you have to check out technology, and there are plenty “Product Marketplaces,” as CEA describes these special areas of the show floor, that focus on specific areas of interest. Of the ones you should check out are the following:

The Robotics Marketplace will feature suppliers and full range of intelligent, autonomous machines that are connected to the cloud, controllable by mobile device and capable of seeing, hearing, feeling and reacting to the environment in ways baby boomers saw on old sci-fi movies. The Robotics Marketplace will be located at the Sands Expo (Sands).

Smart Watch Marketplace will display the latest wrist-wear with GPS, music, health monitoring, message indicators and many other items in the CES Tech West, which includes exhibits at the Sands Expo (Sands), The Venetian, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn (Wynn/Encore).

The Smart Home Marketplace will focus on the growing trend of consumers’ wanting and creating smarter and more efficient homes. Again, smartphones and tablets interacting with connected objects and devices to customized security monitoring and home automation, which is located at the CES Tech West in the Sands Expo (Sands).

And of course the iLounge iProducts Marketplace at CES Tech East, in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center (LVCC).

Steve Smith is editor at large of TWICE and its longtime editor in chief.