The Problem With CES: The Show We Love To Hate
The â€śmost wonderful time of the yearâ€ť (that would be the holidays that include Christmas and New Year) are followed by what is arguably the â€śleast wonderful time of the year.â€ť This would be the week of CES â€“ formerly the Consumer Electronics Show.
This year the show likely wonâ€™t break attendance records, but it isnâ€™t because the show is actually smaller. In fact the trade show, which still remains the worldâ€™s largest trade event, continues to grow. No, this year weather will play a factor as many attendees scrambled to get to Las Vegas. Winter Storm Ion played havoc with travel and many attendees were heard saying, â€śthis was worse than usual.â€ť
The key is that â€śworseâ€ť really means it is never good. Of course, what should we expect for January travel? Winter is a time of snow, and since attendees come from near and far â€“ more likely far â€“ it means travel through hubs such as New York and Chicago, which are cities that donâ€™t fare so well in the snow.
Many years there have been the concerns that a storm was brewing and attendees just hoped theyâ€™d get home in advance of it. Why do we put ourselves through this year after year? Thatâ€™s just one question.
The other is why does this need to be held immediately after New Yearâ€™s? There is no real reason of course, but it is really strange to see next holidayâ€™s hot products when the wrapping is barely off the gifts that were opened two weeks ago!
We live in a consumer-oriented society for sure, but at some point it borders on the surreal. This year that fact was made all the more clear when Samsung and LG started to â€śleak outâ€ť product announcements in the middle of December. At what point is enough already enough?
CES is thus the show many attendees â€“ including this reporter â€“ love to hate. We love to complain and even utter the phrase â€śIâ€™m not coming next year,â€ť but usually we do.
There are plenty of reasons. Where else can we see a 105-inch OLED TV (curved OLED set at that) or see director Michael Bay have a total and complete meltdown during the Samsung press conference?
The biggest problem however with CES is that it stopped being the â€śConsumer Electronics Showâ€ť and now encompasses automotive technology, mobile phone technology, computer technology, gaming technology and even fitness technology. While all this might seem as if it falls into the domain of â€śconsumer electronicsâ€ť actually the traditional â€śconsumer electronicsâ€ť consists of appliances, TVs and stereo gear.
There are already plenty of auto shows and the North American International Auto Show â€“ aka the Detroit Auto Show â€“ takes place next week. Mobile phones are covered by the CTIA Wireless Show, video games by E3 and fitness has its own various shows. For reasons only the CEA â€“ that would be the Consumer Electronics Association â€“ understands it is better to be bigger.
Maybe it is about bragging rights, but it means that no single attendee â€“ media or otherwise â€“ can see everything. How do you attend the Audi keynote and the Sony press conference on Monday night? You donâ€™t. How do you see everything there is to see at the Las Vegas Convention Center and everything in the private suites and off-site events?
So, like many, Iâ€™ve traveled to Vegas and only gotten a taste of CES. Iâ€™ll spend too much time in buses and in cabs, and likely lines for buses and cabs. Sometimes bigger isnâ€™t better. It is just bigger and louder.
Thatâ€™s the problem with CES and I know Iâ€™m not alone in thinking this. Maybe more should stand up and say it, as well!
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