CES is about to begin in Las Vegas and Greater Media’s Buzz Knight is there to cover the show for Radio Ink. Buzz recently interviewed Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro who said Nine automakers and more than 115 automotive tech companies will be exhibiting across 200,000 square feet of space this year, that’s a 25 percent increase over last year. As for in-vehicle communications, they’re making cars safer and drivers more connected. Exhibitors at CES 2016 will unveil a complete, immersive infotainment experience for the car, with advancements in active window displays, access notifications, navigation systems, and a whole lot more. Here’s Buzz’s interview with Shapiro.
Buzz Knight: Congratulations on once again smashing attendance records. As you look at CES 2016, what are the products and innovations that excite you the most?
Gary Shapiro: That’s a really tough one, because at CES, for me, the excitement is like that of being a little kid in a candy store — a 2.4 million net-square-foot candy store, no less. It’s wondrous. Attendance though is actually not our CES 2016 goal. In fact, we announced we are trying to cut back from our 2015 high of 176,000 attendees.
CES showcases a nearly endless array of breathtaking, innovative products and services on display, from 4K Ultra HD TVs and content to the latest drones to health and fitness wearables to driverless cars to connected smart homes and appliances. Nowhere else in the world will you find all of these together in one place. More than 20,000 products will launch at CES 2016, representing the entire tech ecosystem. Groundbreaking trends at the show will set the industry stage for 2016.
Of particular note, the Internet of Things category at CES is so all-encompassing, we can’t even section it off anymore – just about everything can now be connected. In the audio sector, High-Resolution Audio brings the studio to the listener. Immersive audio creates sound that seems as though it’s coming from infinite points all around the listener. And our automotive and vehicle intelligence exhibits are a major presence at this year’s show.
As you wind your way from one exhibit to the next, you literally never know what to expect next, with each display as jaw-dropping — if not more so — than the one before. I’ve been to CES every January in Las Vegas now for the past 35 years, and each time the experience is just as awe-inspiring as the first one.
BK: How does CES foster so many partnerships that help build brands and establish “win-wins”?
GS: First, remember that CES is the global stage for innovation. It brings together in one place and at one time more than 150,000 people from across the U.S. and 150 other countries, who thrive on the business of consumer technology. And most of these people would likely never otherwise meet, were it not for CES.
CES is where companies big and small come to showcase their latest innovations to the global marketplace and to network with one another. From the show floor to the keynote stages to the conference programs, exhibitors and attendees alike have dozens of opportunities to network, share ideas, and make deals.
As far as making deals is concerned, CES is where business gets done. It’s a platform for innovators of all sizes to build their businesses. Each attendee has an average of 33 meetings at CES. And every year the show saves executives from traveling an estimated 3.5 million miles for business trips by meeting here. Those are two tangible “win-wins” right there.
BK: How is the automotive business represented this year? How is the in-car dashboard evolving and what does this mean to the radio business?
GS: In this era of total connectivity, traditional silos between tech devices, products, and services are breaking down. In May, at CES Asia, Audi’s Luca de Meo called the next generation of cars, “the fastest and most powerful mobile device.” From adaptive cruise control to heads-up displays to mobile hotspot connectivity, there’s so much amazing technology and intelligent design built into today’s vehicles.
The latest in electric and energy-efficient vehicles will be on display, along with car-safety tech, from parking assistance to collision avoidance and emergency braking.
As for in-vehicle communications, they’re making cars safer and drivers more connected. Exhibitors at CES 2016 will unveil a complete, immersive infotainment experience for the car, with advancements in active window displays, access notifications, navigation systems, and a whole lot more.
BK: Your book Ninja Innovation is a rallying cry to all of us to avoid stagnation and to thrive in the midst of a changing world. Are there some lessons this year at CES that we should consider about innovation?
GS: Yes. Embrace the fact that life is about change. That’s what CES is about – change and innovation. At CES, thousands of innovators — from incubator startups to Fortune 100 companies — gather to showcase their game-changing technology. The show embodies the energy, excitement, wonder, and innovative spirit of the tech industry, and we all learn from one another.
Industry leaders from the entire tech ecosystem attend to discover and experience the latest trends and network with peers. They take home with them what they’ve learned at CES and bring it to bear on their own endeavors. In that way, industry adapts as the definition of technology expands to engage and create new industries and markets.
CES has been the proving ground for innovators for nearly 50 years, where breakthrough and disruptive technologies are unveiled — and built upon. This year will be no different. I’m so looking forward to it.
BK: What are the keys to success regarding great user experiences when you think of the vast array of products at CES?
GS: The single most effective thing is to recognize that there’s simply no way you’re going to be able to see, do, and experience everything that CES 2016 has to offer. The show itself runs from January 6 through January 9, and presentations, hospitality suites, and other activities begin two days earlier on January 4. Even in six days it’s impossible to take in everything, but well worth the try, especially if you take a targeted approach to outlining exactly what you’d like to see onsite.
With 2.4 million net square feet of exhibits, hundreds of panel sessions, and a suite of forward-looking keynote addresses — among them, Robert Kyncl, chief business officer of YouTube; Netflix CEO Reed Hastings; Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel; Ginni Rometty, president and CEO of IBM; and many more — not even I can take it all in and do it justice, try as I may, though, every year.
So, to avoid — or at least minimize — frustration and disappointment at the prospect of missing out on something you want to see or someone you want to hear, CES attendees would be well-advised to plan their schedule in advance, to as great a degree as possible.
Most importantly, we want you to have a safe CES experience. Make a note of our updated security procedures. We are implementing these enhanced measures with the goal of maintaining the safety of all attendees. Most notably, only two bags, each smaller than 12” x 17” x 6″ (30 cm x 43 cm x 15 cm), may be brought into official show premises. And luggage and roller bags are not permitted on the show floor.
Don’t wait for your arrival and check-in to plan your CES experience. Most show information is already online, so make some time to review the schedule thoroughly and compile a list of the exhibits you most want to see and presentations you most want to hear. For example, the Storytellers sessions featuring Internet radio industry leaders from Pandora, Spotify, and others, is taking place all week long at the ARIA. Make note of those times and places — then just do it!