Evaluating The Evolution, Post-CES


(By Buzz Knight) There are consistent themes over the years that resonate from the CES experience. I’m into my second decade of attending, and as I reflect on what I’ve learned, I’m still just as curious about what our industry has learned — and, more importantly, has acted on.

Partnerships are a key value proposition of the consumer electronics industry. As our business has evolved, how can we evaluate our performance regarding partnerships? Let’s look back over the years to see what we can learn.

Partnerships first truly hit me as an opportunity for the radio business back in 2011, when I acknowledged Ford and its view of partnerships: “We should emulate Ford and welcome strategic partnerships to enhance our brands. Ford has developed partnerships in an open source manner with its in-car apps, reaching out directly and saying, ‘Become a Ford app developer and partner.'”

I said after the 2011 CES how important partnerships are to the consumer electronics industry and that we should consider this an opportunity. Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro said of radio at the time, “It requires constant innovation. It requires partnering you’re not used to partnering with, to get out of your industry events and go to other events like CES, it means trying things and failing.”

And many in our business did begin making the trip out to CES as the years went by.

In 2018, when Fred Jacobs and I interviewed Gary Shapiro, we asked him about new examples of partnerships we could expect at CES, and he said, “We partnered to create a Smart Cities Focus. We partnered with the prince of the Netherlands to bring Dutch startups to the CES, and we have partnership behind virtually every new marketplace. We partner because we need and want expertise and new ideas that we simply can’t manufacture internally. Increasingly in the technology space, every successful company partners because the days of stovepipe organization success are over.”

For those of you who have attended CES, you’ll know there are many partnerships to be found throughout the show, including Eureka Park, the breeding ground for startups.

We’ve recently witnessed a number of partnerships in the automotive sector, such as Intel’s partnering with Ferrari North America using Intel’s AI technology to change the distribution of sports broadcasting and content. Last year at CES Microsoft and Ericsson partnered around the integration of both companies’ connected-vehicle solutions.

As resources for all companies continue to be challenged in the pandemic era, have you adopted a beginners’ mindset with your team and considered new opportunities for partnerships?

Join Fred Jacobs, Paul Jacobs, and their special guest tech guru Shawn Dubravac for the CES 2021 Virtual Tour next week.

For more information go to Jacobsmedia.com/CES2021 to sign up.

As Fred says, “Innovation marches on, even during a pandemic.” I might add … especially during a pandemic!

Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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