Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
January 7-10, 2020
Calysto’s Take on CES 2020
It’s clear that CES—the industry’s leading consumer electronics show—has become much more than simply consumer electronics. Automotive has long been a part of the show, and the introduction of new concept cars as well as the deep technology beneath continue to impress. The food and beverage industry is playing a key role as well, launching not only gadgets but actual food items created using technologies like AI and IoT.
Speaking of IoT, the buzz around the word itself appears to have slowed down, if this show is any indication. To clarify, IoT is still HUGE and growing. But fewer companies were using IoT in their marketing, instead focusing on pain points and specific solutions to solve them rather than hyping a generic IoT label.
After years of hype around 5G, in which every year was “The year of 5G,” this year’s CES focused on 5G getting real. As CNET pointed out, the “out there” applications of 5G were hardly discussed while the technology underpinnings of things like vehicle-to-vehicle communications—the foundation for connected cars—were a key part of the show. And while phones were hyped, 5G-enabled computers captured more of a buzz.
CES will continue to impress and awe with its sheer scale and volume of noise that emerges at each iteration. We can’t wait to see how many of these products and concepts take off. Until next year!
Calysto’s Show Overview
CES® 2020 was again the world’s most exciting January destination, with more than 170,000 attendees descending on the Las Vegas Convention Center and across the city to watch, listen and learn as the more than 4,400 exhibitors (including 1,200 start-ups) showcased the world’s latest consumer technologies across more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space.
The event featured consumer tech across a wealth of vertical markets, from health and wellness to automotive to food to retail to sports and entertainment. But it was also crystal clear this year that the enterprise technology behind all of the gadgets was becoming a key part of the show’s appeal. Technologies such as IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and cloud were heard throughout the constant chatter of vendor pitches, keynote addresses and panel sessions. In its own CES wrap-up, show organizers noted that “AI and 5G define the future of innovation.”
“This week at CES illustrated that every company is truly a tech company,” said Karen Chupka, executive vice president, CES. “Global technology brands blended with non-traditional tech companies to showcase how innovation is furthering business across all markets – setting the stage for the decade ahead.”
And while these technologies were the unsung heroes of the show, the devices they enabled were advanced, interesting, and sometimes downright weird. There were of course the latest in TV, laptops, smartphones, speakers, headphones and wearables. But the show also reached deeply into a bevy of different markets. Impossible Foods, the surprise hit of last year’s CES, launched follow-up products to the plant-based Impossible Burger 2.0, Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage. Yukai Engineering launched the follow-up to its headless cat, the headless kitten. FasTeesH introduced the result of its crowdsourcing venture, a sonic toothbrush that can clean your teeth in 10 seconds. Juno debuted a working demo of a “microwave for cooling”—a device that can chill any beverage in less than a minute. And of course the robots were everywhere, taking the shape of humanoids, tennis balls, and—of course—cats.
“The megatrend of CES 2020 was the digitization of industries—the virtual world meeting the physical world,” said Ed Chao, CEO of Polte, a leader in location technology and Calysto client. “The show was all about how connectivity is improving our world from life sciences to food and beverage to industrial IoT use cases. And the use cases were not ‘what’s possible in the future,’ they focused on what is happening now in our world—it’s getting real!
User interfaces were also an underlying theme of the show, with CNET noting that “tech is getting less techie and more subtle,” with companies like UltraSense, Sentons and Mui Lab making technology “less obtrusive,” and “blending into the environment in more natural ways.”
Another subtheme: the Chinese presence at the show was noticeably quieter than in years past, while Apple’s first appearance at the show in nearly 30 years was less about devices (although there was plenty of that) and more about privacy. Overall, privacy was a hot topic at CES, with several of the biggest tech companies putting a special emphasis on user privacy, following years of mounting scrutiny from regulators and consumers over the industry’s handling of personal data… despite the lack of federal privacy regulations in the US.
While the show floor opens on Tuesday, there’s plenty of activity on Sunday and Monday with Media Days, CES Unveiled and pre-show keynotes from Samsung President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Division Mr. Hyun-Suk Kim and Daimler Chairman Ola Källenius.
“I see 2020 as the start of a new era in technology,” Kim said. “It’s not about what we possess; it’s about our individual needs. We are not looking to spend our money on things; we are looking to buy convenience, peace of mind, and enjoyment. We are looking to experience life. This must drive our innovation.”
Källenius shared the company’s plans for a sustainable autonomous future. “When you come to CES you ask yourself ‘What’s Next’ and that question is what we have been asking ourselves for 130 years,” said Källenius. He and Director James Cameron unveiled Mercedes Benz’s latest concept car, the Vision AVTR, a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Cameron’s film franchise. The car has no doors and 33 movable, multidirectional “bionic flaps” that are meant to look like scales on a reptile. The Vision AVTR detects your pulse and can sense your breathing. Mercedes designed the concept car to merge the passenger and automobile into a “symbiotic organism.”
Sunday evening kicked off with CES Unveiled, which featured more than 220 exhibiting companies, including 98 startups from Eureka Park, CES’s startup hub. More than 1,900 media gathered at CES Unveiled for a sneak preview of the week to come, including the Source Hydropanel, which can extract water from air and electricity; a smart bathmat that tracks weight, BMI and posture; a service robot for those with disabilities; AR/VR software that shows before and after workout results, and a smart thermometer that measures and adjusts oven temperature.
Keynotes and Conference Program
CES also featured more than 1,100 speakers representing major global industries, including additional keynotes from Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian; NBCUniversal Chairman of Advertising and Partnerships Linda Yaccarino; Quibi CEO Meg Whitman and Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao; Salesforce Chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff; Unilever CEO Alan Jope; and Presidential Advisor, Ivanka Trump.
In addition, CTA’s Steve Koenig and Lesley Rohrbaugh presented 2020 Tech Trends to Watch on Sunday and gave an exclusive preview of the January U.S. Consumer Technology Sales & Forecasts. According to the forecast, skyrocketing popularity of streaming services along with 5G connectivity and AI-enabled devices will drive revenue growth for the U.S. consumer tech industry to a record $422 billion in retail revenues in 2020—nearly 4% growth over 2019.
Media & Analysts
CES media partners included Adweek, CNET, Consumer Reports, Digital Trends, Engadget, IIoT World, Tech Radar, VOX Media and more. Other coverage of the show was provided by Bloomberg, CNN, Forbes, The Huffington Post, NBC News, The New York Times, TechCrunch, USA Today, VentureBeat, and The Wall Street Journal.
On Sunday and Monday, CES Media Days featured preshow press events from exhibitors, including major brands and emerging startups. Companies announcing products included:
The next CES will take place January 6-9, 2021, in Las Vegas.
© 2020 Calysto Communications