CES 2018 will be larger in both size and scope than ever before, a move Consumer Technology Association (CTA) president/CEO Gary Shapiro said mirrors the expanding tech ecosystem.
The annual tech trade show — to be held Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas — continues to transition from one centralized around finished products to a venue that addresses the industry’s commitment to bettering lives. Shapiro spent time highlighting such efforts, and what CES attendees can expect in January, during the annual CES Unveiled New York preview event at the Metropolitan Pavilion on Thursday.
“Every company today defines itself as a technology company,” Shapiro pointed out. “It’s not only about business; it’s about improving the human condition.”
Technology is an equalizer in the rich/poor divide as it facilitates access to both information and services, he said, pointing to its ability to heal and citing the growing use of virtual reality in medicine to treat paralysis and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Technology is also significantly altering the population landscape. “Just Uber and Lyft alone fundamentally change where people live,” Shapiro noted, “whether they get drivers’ licenses and where they work.”
But the industry, and CTA in particular, has a responsibility to address the challenges of growth, he said. Technology can be overwhelming to some people, he acknowledged, and they become resistant to change. The main challenges lie in political will, not technology, underscoring the need for public and private partnerships.
“Our job is to deal with policy makers and how we talk about [technological advances],” he added.
To account for this rapid transformation, CES 2018 will feature a Smart Cities sector for the first time. “Our own prediction is there will be at least 88 smart cities worldwide by 2025,” Shapiro said, noting that Europe is more focused on smart cities and it’s something the U.S. should do as well. According to United Nations research, 70 percent of all people will live in urban areas by the middle part of this century, Shapiro said.
The Smart Cities area will feature such exhibitors as Bosch, Ford, Nissan and Qualcomm, and will address smart transportation, energy, public safety, health care, data analytics, AI, government and policy, and more.
Other things attendees can expect at the show:
The High Tech Retailing Summit: This half-day conference is meant to help retailers “leverage technology to create a seamless, powerful consumer experience,” according to CTA. It will feature a Retail Innovation Lounge to help the retail industry adapt to new consumer shopping behaviors.
The Digital Money Forum: Returning to CES for the third year, this will address the role of artificial intelligence in money management. New this year will be a dedicated area that enables attendees to experience, hands-on, how AI is addressing solutions in various environments.
Design and Source Marketplace: This new area will provide product design, sourcing and go-to-market solutions.
Eureka Park: CES’s dedicated area to start-ups continues its massive expansion. The 2018 show will feature 800 companies from 30 countries, a one-third increase from last year.
CBS Sports Zone: This new-for-2018 section, presented by Turner Sports and located at the Sands Expo, will feature exhibits, demonstrations and conference tracks that address the business of sports and e-sports. Turner is bringing back its “Inside the NBA” team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal to anchor a live telecast from CES. (Also on the note of sports, CTA announced during Unveiled that the official ambassador for CES 2018 is a two-time NBA All-Star Barron Davis.)
Where Music and Technology Collide: This new conference track will focus on how streaming is affecting the music business; the role VR, AI and AR play in the music experience; and how tech’s role influences the artist/brand relationship.
Monte Carlo’s Park Theater: This new, added keynote location will include “Reimagining Television: A Conversation With Hulu and Turner,” featuring Turner chairman/CEO John Martin and Hulu CEO Randy Freer.
Monster CES Concert: Monster founder Noel Lee took the stage at Unveiled to announce that Joe Perry would headline the company’s annual concert and awards program.