(By Buzz Knight) As you are reading this our team from Beasley Media Group, along with 180,000 of our closest friends are descending on Las Vegas for our annual trek to CES, and we couldn’t be more pumped.
Attending the show over the years has been a remarkable privilege and one of the people I love comparing notes from the show with is my dear friend Fred Jacobs.
He and his brother Paul have become fixtures at the show and every year Fred and I interview Gary Shapiro, the President of CTA, regarding the upcoming CES.
Buzz/Fred: How is the buildup to CES 2019 going?
Shapiro: CES 2019 is shaping up to be a record-breaking show. With 4,500 exhibitors across 2.75 million net square feet of exhibit space, CES 2019 will be the epicenter for the next generation of innovation. Companies of all sizes, from global brands to tech startups, will come to CES to launch products, build brands, and forge partnerships.
At CES 2019, the latest in transformative tech will be unveiled, from 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart cities, digital health, resilience and beyond. These technologies will shape our future, spurring new industries and creating new jobs and opportunities on a global scale.
The 2019 show will have several new and expanded areas that we’re really excited about, including a focus on resilience – showcasing technologies that help countries and municipalities prepare for natural disasters and public emergencies.
Buzz/Fred: When does your team begin the actual work on the show?
Shapiro: CES is the world’s most important and influential tech event. Planning a show the size and scope of CES is a year-long endeavor. In fact, we have dates for future CES shows finalized years in advance. We have floor plans for the 2020 show so exhibitors can sign up on site in 2019.
Buzz/Fred: How many of your team members are responsible for putting the show together?
Shapiro: CTA employs over 170 full-time staff, but only a portion of those team members focus solely on CES. Nearly the entire staff works on the show in some regard and almost everyone is onsite at CES. We also work with contractors who hire thousands of workers to help in Las Vegas during the show.
Buzz/Fred: What are the big show-stopper brands that will be represented this year?
Shapiro: Every major and emerging industry is represented at CES, from automotive to entertainment, healthcare, robotics, and beyond. The entire tech ecosystem gathers together in one place to conduct business. Nearly every major global brand participates in the show — whether exhibiting, attending, speaking, or holding co-located events — from Amazon to Google, Ford, and NBC Universal.
In fact, 70 of the Fortune Global 100 and 96 of the Interbrand 100 attended CES 2018. In addition to 4,500 exhibitors, CES 2019 will have a robust conference program, featuring leaders from top global brands, including keynotes from AMD, IBM, LG, and Verizon.
Buzz/Fred: Any new partnerships that we can expect this year?
Shapiro: As the global hub for innovation, CES is the world stage where partnerships are forged and markets are connected, furthering growth within the technology market and beyond.
Partnerships are made not only on the show floor, but on the CES stage as well. For example, last year, during Intel’s CES keynote, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced a partnership with Ferrari North America, using Intel’s AI technology to change the creation and distribution of sports broadcasting and content. At the 2019 show, we expect several high-level partnerships to be announced — although that news is always kept under wraps until CES kicks off.
Buzz/Fred: How many automotive companies will be represented?
Shapiro: Las Vegas will look like a turbo-charged Detroit during CES 2019. With more than 150 vehicle-tech exhibitors, the automotive section of CES 2019 will be larger than many stand-alone car shows. Powerhouse automakers, including Daimler, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Kia, Nissan, and Audi will unveil the next-generation of vehicle tech, fueling the global industry. Traveling beyond car tech, trends like AI, voice technology, 5G, and smart cities at CES will help shape the future of transportation.
Buzz/Fred: Rather than a gadget, what looks to be the biggest trend or two for CES 2019?
Shapiro: Connectivity will be a major trend at CES 2019, particularly with 5G fueling new innovation as it binds together our digital and physical worlds. In 2019, 5G will move from trials to commercialization, with commercial launches in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. By 2025, there will be 1.2 billion 5G connections globally — 14 percent of all mobile connections.
5G is driving innovation across industries, from smart cities to self-driving vehicles, digital health, AR/VR applications, and faster content downloads. 5G will touch nearly every area of technology and will be ubiquitous throughout CES 2019, from smart cities and resilience to vehicle technology and digital health. Major mobile operators, including Ericsson, Sprint, and T-Mobile are exhibiting to showcase their latest 5G applications and forge global partnerships.
Artificial intelligence will also be a dominant theme at CES 2019, as companies across all markets — from sports tech, vehicle tech, digital health, and beyond — unveil their latest AI solutions.
Artificial intelligence will be a key ingredient-technology over the next decade and CES 2019 will have the latest in AI innovation. AI will be pervasive across the CES 2019 show floor and conference program, but also has a dedicated marketplace. In fact, more than 60 exhibitors will showcase AI technology, including Amazon, Google, Panasonic, and Yamaha.
In 2019, AI will be deployed everywhere, from factory floors and retail stores to banks, schools, and offices, creating new opportunities. With data-customizing services, enhancing experiences, and personalizing technologies, AI is changing lives for the better, making us healthier, safer, and more efficient.
Buzz/Fred: Over the past few years we’ve seen a lot of surprising company groups attending and being represented (USPS, RCA, Amazon). Are there new companies or some that haven’t exhibited in recent years that will be visible at CES 2019?
Shaprio: CES represents nearly every industry around the world. The show has moved beyond a traditional tech event to a global innovation event, with nearly every top brand represented. Some big names returning, and also some new names at the 2019 show, include Amazon, John Deere, L’Oréal, and Raytheon.
Buzz/Fred: How do you think C Space will be relevant to broadcast radio and media execs this year?
Shapiro: C Space brings together leading CMOs, content creators, Hollywood, and media to uncover disruptive trends affecting brands, advertising, marketing, and entertainment. The way we engage and consume entertainment continues to change and shift, and C Space focuses on the future of content and its impact on the media and entertainment markets.
The 2019 program will feature exhibits and a robust conference program, including dedicated keynotes and sessions featuring top marketers and leaders from Forbes, Pandora, P&G, and more. Panels such as “Media Consumption Trends: The Perpetually-Engaged Consumer And The Future of Advertising for TV Publishers” will focus on media and advertising trends.
C Space continues to grow in size and scope. The program at CES 2019 will feature more than 75 participating companies, an increase of more than 200 percent since the program’s start in 2015, across 120K net square feet. Participating brands include Google, Hulu, NBC Universal, NeuLion, Nielsen, Snap, T-Mobile, and Vevo.
Buzz/Fred: The number of start-ups in Eureka Park grows every year. What does that tell you about the future of innovation?
Shapiro: CES 2019 will be the largest startup event in the world, with more than 1,100 startups from 40 countries featured within Eureka Park. Since its inception in 2012, more than 1,100 Eureka Park startups have raised $1.5 billion.
Startups drive the expansion of technology into completely new areas. The startups featured within Eureka Park at CES 2019 will shape the future of technology, creating new markets, new jobs, and new opportunities for growth.
Buzz/Fred: Any thoughts about the radio broadcasting industry and its success in transitioning to a digital future?
Shapiro: In order for any industry to succeed and thrive, it must continue to innovate or die. People are consuming content at a rapid pace, with the consumption of entertainment at a level we’ve never seen before. The adoption of 5G connectivity will provide more opportunities for broadcasters to reach consumers and grow their engagement. 5G networks will be 100X faster and 5X more responsive than today, and with an extremely high data rate and low latency, opening up a world of possibilities for the future of broadcasting.